Home | What's Happening
The Berks County Department of Community and Economic Development has been awarded a Congressionally Mandated Grant for $750,000 to advance SRPRA's planning for the restoration of passenger rail service between Reading, Philadelphia and beyond. Berks DCED and the Authority are grateful to all of our Congressional Delegation for their work in making this funding available for the project, especially Senator Bob Casey, and Representatives Chrissy Houlahan and Dan Meuser who signed on to the grant, and Representative Madeleine Dean who provided a letter of support.
Montgomery County has been awarded a Pennsylvania DCED Local Share Account (LSA) grant for $250,000 to advance SRPRA's development of the project. These funds will be leveraged by providing the required local match for anticipated federal funding, including through the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Corridor Identification and Development Program (CIDP).
The Greater Reading Chamber Alliance has also been awarded a Pennsylvania DCED Local Share Account (LSA) grant in the amount of $142,000 to support their efforts related to station site identification and Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy development and implementation for the City of Reading. Although these funds will not be used directly by SRPRA, the work they will support will directly benefit the Authority's passenger rail restoration project.
On March 21, the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority (SRPRA) took a big step toward restoring intercity passenger rail service between Reading and Philadelphia by submitting an application for the Federal Railroad Administration's Corridor Identification and Development Program. View Press Release
On June 28, Executive Director Tom Frawley joined Representative Chrissy Houlahan for a panel discussion at the Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS) meeting in Philadelphia. Chrissy shared information regarding the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Tom gave an update on recent progress by the SRPRA towards restoration of intercity passenger rail to Reading.
L to R: Panel Moderator Jennifer Waters, Panelist Chrissy Houlahan, Panelist Tom Frawley, WTS Philadelphia Chapter President Api Appulingam.
On April 2, Berks County Planning Commission Executive Director David Hunter led a mobile workshop for the American Planning Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia, which included tours of potential station sites in Reading, Pottstown and Phoenixville. Berks County Commissioner Christian Leinbach and SRPRA Executive Director Tom Frawley were also aboard and provided participants with information regarding the Reading - Philadelphia - New York Corridor Project and the history of the SRPRA. At each station location, local leaders met the workshop group and provided an update pertaining to their community. In Phoenixville the group was met by Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz, Phoenixville Borough Mayor Peter Urscheler, Borough Manager E. Jean Crack and Deputy Borough Manager Kelly Getzfread. In Pottstown, Montgomery County Commissioner Ken Lawrence, Montgomery County Planning Commission Executive Director Scott France, Pottstown Area Economic Development Board Member Peggy Lee-Clark, and Pottstown Borough Council President Dan Weand met the group. And in Reading, the group enjoyed lunch with Reading Mayor Eddie Moran, the Mayor's Chief of Staff Felix Freytiz, Reading City Council President Donna Reed, PA State Representative Johanny Cepede-Freytiz, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance Director of Government and Community Relations Katie Heatherington-Cunfer, and SRPRA Technical Committee member Adrian Jadic.
Track the coverage of our progress as we work to restore passenger rail. View News Articles
Social Media Consultant — SRPRA has entered into a contract with Virtual Farm Creative, Inc. to provide social media consulting services. Thank you to the other firms that submitted proposals. Watch for the Authority to establish a presence on multiple social media platforms in the coming weeks.
Planning and Design Consultant — The SRPRA Board voted at its June 26, 2023 meeting to authorize the executive director to prepare and release a Request for Proposals (RFP) for professional services. The planned scope of work continues to be refined cooperatively with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), and is proposed to consist of initial elements of the Service Development Plan (SDP) for the project. This will include development of a preliminary purpose and need statement and stakeholder coordination plan, identification and examination of route options, service options and investment options, station area analyses, and assembling all input data needed for subsequent planning and analysis during completion of the full SDP at such time as the project may be accepted into the FRA's Corridor Identification and Development Program. A large portion of the effort will focus on operations planning, analysis and simulation, using Berkeley Simulation Software's Rail Traffic Controller (RTC) model, including both independent modeling and over-the shoulder review of modeling performed by the host railroads and/or their consultants. It is the Authority's intent, if its CIDP application is accepted, to amend the contract with its selected consultant / consultant team, to complete the SDP in its entirety and perform Conceptual Design (10%) and Preliminary Design (30%) of track and structures, and signals and Positive Train Control (PTC), and other project elements. The scope under the anticipated amendment would include ridership forecasting, capital cost estimating, operating and maintenance cost estimating, and environmental analysis and documentation preparation. The amended scope may also include tasks related to rail access agreements and negotiations with host railroads. The budget for the initial scope remains to be finalized, but the Authority has access to up to $750,000 in federal grant monies that would be available to fund this contract. When the release date for the RFP is established, it will be posted on the Authority website. The RFP is anticipated to be released in October.
As the Authority makes decisions regarding this and possible additional solicitations for consultant services, updates will be posted on the Authority website to provide interested parties with advance notice of upcoming contracting opportunities.
Amtrak launched Thruway Connection bus service between Reading and Philadelphia on June 6, 2022, as a precursor to restoration of passenger rail service in the Schuylkill River corridor. This service consists of two daily trips in each direction, and is one of many Amtrak Thruway Connection bus routes that Amtrak operates as an integrated part of its Northeast Corridor and National Network. In addition to the stations at Reading and Philadelphia, the bus serves intermediate stations at Pottstown and Phoenixville, and provides safe, comfortable, economical public transportation that connects communities in the Schuylkill River Valley with metropolitan areas in the Northeast Corridor and beyond.
Visit Amtrak's website for more information or to book travel.
The authority is currently developing opportunities to become involved and learn more. In the meantime, if you wish to share your thoughts about the authority please contact us at Info@GoSRPRA.com.
Meetings are held virtually at 3:00pm on the following dates.