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Planning for Passenger Rail


The restoration of rail passenger service in the Reading — Philadelphia corridor is a complex process that requires the commitment and coordination of multiple stakeholders at the local, state and federal level. The process being undertaken by the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA or the Authority) is building upon the lessons learned from the studies of years past and is primarily focused on partnering with Amtrak as the proposed operator and participating in the Intercity Passenger Rail Corridor Identification and Development Program being led by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Other key stakeholders beyond the constituent counties of the Authority and Amtrak include the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the anticipated host railroad Norfolk Southern, and the municipal governments and sponsor organizations and advocacy groups along the corridor.

Past Planning Studies

Over the past couple of decades, there have been numerous planning studies conducted on restoring passenger rail service within the Schuylkill River Corridor. View studies.

FRA Corridor Identification and Development Program

The Federal Rail Administration's Corridor Identification and Development Program is designed to facilitate the development of intercity passenger rail corridors. The details of this program can be found at the following links:

The SRPRA believes that this program is extremely important for the restoration of passenger rail service to Phoenixville, Pottstown, and Reading and has submitted a letter of interest for the program.

View the Notice of Solicitation of Corridor Proposals and Funding Opportunity for the Corridor Identification and Development Program. This notice details the application requirements and procedures for the selection of eligible corridors to participate in the Corridor Identification and Development Program and obtain grant funding appropriated in fiscal year 2022.

Service Development Plan

The Service Development Plan is a business plan, operating plan and capital plan, that documents the investment case for a proposed passenger rail service. It must demonstrate operational feasibility, financial feasibility, and value and merit of the proposed passenger rail service. Learn More

Amtrak Connects US Program

AMTRAK's Connects US Program includes future passenger rail service along the Schuylkill River corridor, including Phoenixville, Pottstown, and Reading.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT)

The current PA State Rail Plan includes passenger rail service to Phoenixville, Pottstown, and Reading


Station Planning

Although the SRPRA has taken a leadership role in the effort to restore rail passenger service in the Reading-Philadelphia corridor, the Authority will not have direct responsibility for many aspects of the project. Among these is the planning and development of passenger rail stations suitable for Amtrak intercity passenger train operations. The role of the Authority regarding stations is the subject of a formal policy, and the Authority has endorsed the use of all applicable Amtrak standards in the station planning and development process.

Station Development Policy

The SRPRA is considering a policy regarding station development that is consistent with Amtrak's, by which primary responsibility for providing station facilities typically rests with local entities, including the municipalities in which proposed stations are located, as well as local private sector entities and civic organizations. The SRPRA will help coordinate and facilitate station development in a supporting role once the lead entity and its partners have committed to the station project.

Regarding standards, the Authority urges parties pursuing a potential station in their community to use Amtrak's Station Planning and Development Guidebook, which addresses the planning and development process, along with design standards generally required by Amtrak and specifically required for compatibility with freight trains in a shared-track environment such as is proposed between Reading and Philadelphia.

Station Planning Resources