Reading to Philadelphia Rail Corridor Receives $500,000 Federal Grant Boost

SEPTA railroad tracks© A Janick / Getty Images / Canva

READING, PA — A significant step towards reestablishing the historic Reading rail line was announced on Tuesday as the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $500,000 Corridor Identification and Development Program grant for the rail corridor connecting Reading to Philadelphia.

Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) hailed the announcement, emphasizing the profound positive impact that the restoration of the Reading rail line would have on the local community and economy. “For years, I’ve heard from constituents and businesses about what passenger rail would mean to them and our local economy,” said Rep. Houlahan. She also referenced a successful request she made in 2021 for $750,000 in Community Project Funding, which laid the groundwork for this major development.

This project has garnered widespread support, including endorsements from the Commissioners of Chester and Berks Counties, the mayors of Reading and Phoenixville, multiple Pennsylvania governors, and the Biden Administration. Rep. Houlahan praised this collaborative effort, stating, “Our collaboration demonstrates the strength of the Reading rail line.”

Earlier this year, Rep. Houlahan, alongside Representatives Madeleine Dean (D-PA) and Dan Meuser (R-PA), wrote a letter to DOT Administrator Bose in support of the Schuylkill River Passenger Rail Authority’s (SRPRA) application to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Corridor Identification and Development Program. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which Rep. Houlahan voted for, authorized the Secretary of Transportation to establish this program to develop passenger rail corridors nationwide.

The proposed Reading rail line would utilize an existing rail alignment that hasn’t seen passenger trains since 1983. New intermediate stops are planned in Pottstown, Phoenixville, and potentially Norristown, PA. The service will offer four to eight daily round trips, connecting southeastern Pennsylvanians with Philadelphia and New York, NY, from Reading.

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