(WBRE/WYOU) — A Schuylkill County borough is chugging forward with a partnership that is helping to revive its history.
“Tamaqua station, right where we are standing, this is the literal and figurative heart of the community,” John Ross, owner of Tamaqua Station Restaurant said.
Ross has owned the restaurant for four years. His first year at the location, he noticed something odd about the trains passing the restaurant.
“Trains would go by on their way to Jim Thorpe and we’d stand out on the platform out here and smile and wave. And I said, ‘Why don’t they stop here? It’s a train station,” Ross said.
He and another business owner in the borough found a way to fix that and the borough hopped on board. Now, Tamaqua borough has an agreement with Reading and Northern Railroad to build a platform at the station so passengers can easily get on and off the train.
Trains pass through Tamaqua daily but typically they only have cargo on them. It’s only rare occasions that they have passengers get off at this stop. Those occasions usually fall under special holiday events.
But the large space between the station and the railroad tracks makes it difficult for the elderly and children. This platform that’s being built fixes that and may be a boost for the community.
“Trains bring visitors. More people. People are good for the business district. And a vibrant business district is good for the community,” Kevin Steigerwalt, borough manager of Tamaqua said.
Todd Saylor lives close to the train station and he says he can’t wait to board the train.
“My enthusiasm is..is.. flowing out of me. Yeah. The sooner the better. I’m ready to go on a scenic route through the mountains,” Saylor said.
The project will cost about $51,000. The borough will pick up about $36,000 of that bill. Reading and Northern Railroad will build the platform.
Construction is expected to begin in the spring.