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Rail projects approved for funding in Berks, Lehigh, Schuykill counties

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Pennsylvania's State Transportation Commission approved $33.4 million in funding for rail projects across the state. The projects will be handled under the Rail Transportation Assistance and Rail Freight Assistance programs and include rehabilitation and repair of lines in Berks, Lehigh, and Schuykill counties.

One of the larger project involves spending $1.3 million to update the Colebrookdale Spur, which is currently owned by the Berks Redevelopment Authority. The 8.5 mile line that runs from Boyertown to Pottstown, and connects to the Norfolk Southern Railway, is in serious need of an upgrade.

Berks county predicts that by simply clearing vegetation across rail lines, upgrading deteriorated rail ties, and replacing missing track, many companies will want expand their shipping output.

In fact, local companies such as AmeriGas and American Steel Processing Co., have already signed on to double, even triple there shipping output over the next three years by using the spur.

Another project involves spending $700,000 to replace nearly 2,500 rail ties on the track through the Buck Mountain Tunnel, in Schuykill county. This project will be handled by Northern and Reading Blue Mountain Railroads

East Penn Railroad LLC, a rail project that runs through Berks, Chester, Lehigh, and Montgomery counties, will receive almost $500,000 to replace rail, ties, ballast, and upgrade their crossings.

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