Watercolor… operating between Pottstown and Boyertown, Pennsylvania, the Colebrookdale Railroad (CRR) began to offer public rail excursions in October of 2014. I got my ride in December. This right-of-way was built by the original Colebrookdale Railroad in 1865 and completed in 1869 to service the many iron forges in the area. The Reading Railroad (RDG) operated the line until the Conrail (CR) consolidations of 1976. When Conrail chose to abandon the line, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania took ownership, followed by the County of Berks, who then contracted with the East Penn Railroad (ESPN) to continue service. The East Penn filed to abandon the line in 2008. The Eastern Berks Gateway Railroad (EBGR) assumed operations in 2010 for the Berks County Redevelopment Authority in an attempt to re-establish freight service along what is now, ostensibly a branch spur off the Norfolk Southern (NS), Pottstown interchange.
… illustrated… Colebrookdale Railroad EMD GP9 #7580 at the head of a pair of rebuilt, former Canadian National coaches and a modified open air passenger gondola… and a bright red Pennsylvania caboose. GP9 #7580 was built as #7128 for the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1957… receiving a GP10 upgrade under CONRAIL colors and renumbered to 7580 around 1979. Colebrookdale repainted #7580 back to her original Pennsylvania black livery, running her long hood forward as was standard PRR practice at the time. A similar PRR GP9 is on display at the Horseshoe Curve outside of Altoona.
This picturesque, circa 1800’s wooden trestle bridge, spanning Grist Mill Lane adjacent to Ironstone Park, north of Pine Forge, is most likely the last rail bridge of the type, still active in Southeastern Pennsylvania… with very few remaining in the entire country. In 1990, under the direction of PENNDOT, the bridge was restored and upgraded with custom timber fabrication provided by the Osmose Corporation.
In January of 2016, the Colebrookdale acquired former Pennsylvania Railroad, former Conrail, former Juniata Terminal Company, former LOCX (Mobile Locomotive Services, Inc.) GP10 #2944. This locomotive has been serviced, painted in a new Colebrookdale Railroad color scheme and renumbered as #7236. At the end of 2015, locomotive #7580 moved on to the “Steam into History”, Northern Central Railway (NCRY) excursion railroad located in New Freedom, PA .