Colebrookdale Railroad Wins Education Support Funds

BOYERTOWN PA – Two corporate donations received during December by the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust – $15,000 from J.P. Mascaro & Sons, and $2,500 from Ambler Savings Bank – will be used to support its growing educational programming for area students, the Boyertown-based non-profit tourism attraction announced Sunday (Dec. 27, 2020).

Colebrookdale Railroad Wins Education Support Funds
Passengers on their way down the Colebookdale Railroad’s Secret Valley line, in one of its ornate restored cars

Both firms offered their gifts through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program, which grants state tax credits to eligible businesses that contribute to a scholarship organization, an educational improvement organization, and/or a pre-kindergarten scholarship organization.

The railroad (at top and above) has developed sponsored field trips to outdoor classrooms via the train, with lessons involving history of the railroad, the surrounding area, and related studies. Some of its efforts are likely to benefit “disadvantaged and under-served students (who) are falling behind during pandemic-related school closures,” it said.

Donations make it possible to continue providing science, technology, engineering, and math “learning experiences and history lessons that many children may not get otherwise,” according to trust Executive Director Nathaniel Guest. “We look forward to the spring of 2021, when we can introduce our new education initiatives, including our railbikes (people-powered rail vehicles) and the Colebrookdale Village off-the-grid STEM education site.”

The Mascaro company, headquartered in Audubon, presented its donation as part of “a $10 million commitment to education over the next five years,” it said. “The train cars look beautiful!,” its representative, Lindsay Ptaszenski, exclaimed. “The railbikes and education site are such exciting new additions! Thank you to you and all of your staff and volunteers for the wonderful work you do.”

Ambler Savings, with branch locations in Bally, Limerick, and Fairview Village, is “proud to support the Colebrookdale Railroad year after year because of their commitment to the community and children’s education,” said Bally Branch Manager Bonnie Eckenrode.

Photos by Debbie Zlomek for The Post