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The Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA) was created to serve as the regional coordinating body between Berks, Chester, and Montgomery Counties, with equal representation from each county. Membership of the SRPRA can be found here.
The SRPRA oversees and approves the execution of necessary contracts, the selection of the service operators, and seeks out federal funding to support the passenger rail service.
There are various benefits for restoring rail service between Reading and Philadelphia, including increased mobility for travelers, reduced traffic congestion, lower transportation costs, improved air quality in the region, economic development opportunities, and equity and economic empowerment. Learn more about these benefits.
Yes. SRPRA is fully aware of the various previous studies, and has been leveraging lessons learned from those studies in advancing the current project. Not all parts of previous studies are useful, because of differences in mode (passenger rail versus light rail), differences in type of service (intercity versus commuter rail), and differences in geographic scope (Phoenixville-Philadelphia versus Reading-Philadelphia). SRPRA is definitely not reinventing the wheel, but there is still a substantial amount of new work to do despite multiple previous studies. Examples include computer-based operations simulation to help identify infrastructure improvements needed to improve capacity and flexibility, and to support negotiations with host railroads such as Norfolk Southern, and detailed design of the agreed improvements to track, signals and structures. As a reference, SRPRA has posted some of the previous studies on the website.
The proposed route for the new passenger rail service will be from Reading to Philadelphia, with stops in Pottstown, Phoenixville, King of Prussia, and Norristown.
Source: AMTRAK's Vision For Improving Transportation Across America
The launch of the new rail service will depend upon many factors including funding and availability of passenger train equipment. The earliest start date is probably in 2027.
Amtrak has publicly expressed interest in operating this service and included this in its 2035 plan. However, the SRPRA will be empowered to select the operator.
The operating cost for the first two years of the Authority is estimated to be under $700,000, with the three counties equally splitting the costs. The SRPRA will also be required to focus efforts on sourcing state and federal funding FIRST, and required to use funds from any of the counties LAST.
In addition to the passenger fare, the federal infrastructure bill passed in 2021 changed how Amtrak passenger rail is funded, with the majority of the first six years of non-fare operating expenses being covered by the federal government.
The impacts on all communities that will be served by a Reading to Philadelphia train line are immense. Over 30 years, this line is estimated to create economic and environmental benefits including: