Tamaqua, RR to build $51K platform to make way for trains
The wide, snow covered area in front of the Tamaqua depot, seen here Tuesday, is where a passenger platform is expected to be built by a partnership between Tamaqua borough and the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad. DONALD R. SERFASS/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Tamaqua has hosted passenger excursions in past years, such as this one in 2014, despite impediments for passengers to access the depot sidewalk. A platform is planned to rectify the problem, a move that would pave the way for the return of passenger trains.
“This will allow passenger service to return to Tamaqua.” Dave Mace, president, Tamaqua Borough Council.
Passenger trains might be chugging into Tamaqua in the near future.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, President Dave Mace said the borough will join with the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad to construct a concourse deck, or platform, enabling visitors and tourists to easily disembark train coaches at Tamaqua’s 1874 Philadelphia and Reading Railroad depot.
“We have the opportunity to make an improvement to allow passenger service to return to Tamaqua,” said Mace, chairman of the railroad committee.
The borough would pay $36,000 toward the project.
The news comes less than two months after a tax dispute ended tourist train excursions by the same railroad in nearby Jim Thorpe.
The planned platform in Tamaqua would upgrade the current situation which requires train visitors to step 10 inches high in front of the depot in order to access the sidewalk, too high a climb for youngsters and the elderly.
Construction of a platform would answer the need, say council members.
“We do have some private donations that’ll go toward the cost. The railroad will do all the construction,” said councilman Brian Connely.
Connely’s motion was approved unanimously.
Both parties — the town and railroad — have agreed to terms, according to a Jan. 14 letter sent by Mace to Andy Muller, railroad president:
“As presented by members of your staff, the total cost of the project will be approximately $51,000. The Borough of Tamaqua understands that our portion of the cost will be $36,000. The borough will place an initial deposit of $20,000 to start the project and agrees that the remaining balance will be paid at a minimum of $4,000 per year for the next four years, if not paid sooner. This letter also gives the railroad permission to access the job site via the Railroad Street parking lot.”
For more on this story see Wednesday’s edition of the Times News.