TAMAQUA, Pa. -- On a snowy day in Tamaqua, a freight train roared through the borough en route to its destination, but as early as this summer, there could be passenger trains making actual stops here.
"Everyone stands to benefit from more passenger trains and from increased train traffic," said borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt.
It was announced at a council meeting this week that the borough will join forces with the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad to build a platform at the Tamaqua train station. This would allow people to board and get off the train safely for tourist excursions during special events and holidays.
"The railroad and coal mining is entrenched in this community, and having a train platform in town is going to increase train traffic, which means more people coming to the downtown, which means more business opportunities, more tourism. Everybody stands to benefit from more," Steigerwalt said.
According to the railroad, the platform will cost about $50,000. The borough has agreed to contribute about $36,000 to the project, with $20,000 coming from donations.
"Right now, when they bring trains to town, they have to help people up and down a set of portable steps that they carry with them, and that's precarious for little children and the elderly. It's a liability," Steigerwalt said, adding that the platform would solve that problem.