Passenger Trains to Return to Tamaqua?

TAMAQUA, Pa. -- Two business owners in Schuylkill County are trying to bring a working train station back to an area with a long railroad history.

Right now, there's a railroad line that goes right through the heart of Tamaqua, but it's mostly used as an active freight line.

Two business owners in that area see a potential boost in tourism if that line is also used to drop off passengers in the borough.

Larry Padora is a grinder. He wakes up every day at 3 a.m. so he can get to Padora's Italian Bakery, which has been in the family in Tamaqua since the early 1900s.

He's lived in Tamaqua his entire life and also has a few other businesses around the borough, but there's one other project he really has his eyes on.

"We have a train station that no trains come to. It's a beautiful train station. They spent millions of dollars saving it and restoring it to its former glory. It just is a normal flow that eventually we have trains coming back to Tamaqua because that'll help every business in Tamaqua," said Padora.

The Reading and Northern Railroad runs right through the heart of Tamaqua. It's currently used for special events on holidays and to carry freight, but doesn't routinely drop off passengers there.

Padora and John Ross, who owns the restaurant at the Tamaqua Train Station, want to change that by having a platform built that would offload passengers.

"I think it's a huge opportunity to bring tourists into town, people who don't know what a gem Tamaqua is," John Ross said.

Officials tell Newswatch 16 the project will cost somewhere in the ballpark of $40,000. It will be paid for mostly through fundraising. The railroad is willing to contribute to the project and in the best-case scenario, there could be a platform and regular train station in Tamaqua by the end of 2019.

"What it is is just a level, smooth surface even with the tracks, so they can disembark the passengers with safety in mind," Padora said.

Padora and Ross met with engineers last week to discuss the project in order to get that estimate. The next crucial step is getting approval from the state.

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