What's happening in and around Phoenixville, PA.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Citizens for the Train Update

Last night I attended a meeting for the Citizens for the Train group. The meeting was to bring everyone up to speed on the results of the initial feasibility study and to decide whether or not to continue with the project.

A presentation was made by T.R. Hickey who was representing Gannett Fleming, the firm hired to do the initial study. His recommendation is to build the line along Route 29 down into Great Valley, eventually terminating at the Paoli train station. The line would use pre-existing tracks until it reached the Great Valley Corporate Center at which point new tracks would need to be built. The train would run along Route 29 until it reached Valley Stream Parkway. It would then follow the parkway and loop down next to Vanguard and the new Worthington development, and then on to Paoli. Also mentioned was a possible extension out to Oaks since the rail lines that would be purchased to connect to Great Valley include tracks to Oaks. There would also be a possibility of future lines connecting us to West Chester, Pottstown and the pharmaceutical companies in Collegeville. For the time being, however, the project is focusing on connecting Phoenixville to Paoli (and possibly Oaks to Paoli).

All of this comes at a price. The initial estimate, which does not take into account the cost of land that may need to be purchased, is for 110-120 million dollars. This puts the project at about $11,000,000 per mile. This is a relatively low number compared to other similar projects in the region. For example, the NJ Transit line built from Trenton to Camden came in at over $30,000,000 per mile.

The hope remains that this project can be completed without government funding. This would allow the project to continue unencumbered by the kinds of bureaucratic nonsense that has delayed the Schuylkill Valley Metro for all of these years. It would also mean the project will have no effect on our taxes!

Once the presentation was complete and questions were asked, a vote was held to continue the project. With nary a single No vote, it was decided to continue with a much more extensive feasibility project which will gauge the interest around the region by all effected townships. It will also take a much closer look as to what the costs will ultimately be and whether there would be enough riders to make it worthwhile. This study will take at least six months but there should be updates throughout the process. Stay tuned for more information.

3 comments:

Keith said...

Any idea how to join the Citizens for the Train? I'm a big proponent and would love to get involved.

Niho said...

Lets do it....

Anonymous said...

Hopefully a bicycle path will be included as part of this. If not, it will surely be used anyway. Phoenixville residents need a way to bicycle to the Great Valley area without risking our lives on shoulderless, biker dangerous country roads like Whitehorse Pike and Rt 29.