Easton City Council Wednesday night got on board a growing movement in the Lehigh Valley to form a Rail Transit Authority that would back railroad service from Easton to New York City, along with service from Allentown to trains running into Philadelphia.
Council, in a unanimous vote, supported the creation of the Rail Transit Authority, known as “Suburban-Metro Area Rail Transit, Lehigh Valley.”
In July, Allentown City Council endorsed the same plan to restore rail service. Passenger rail service to Philadelphia and New York City ended about 50 years ago.
The idea of restoring train service has been floated for decades in the Poconos but it is no closer to reality now than it was when the idea first surfaced.
Kirk Raup, who has advocated restoring rail service in the Lehigh Valley for years, praised council’s decision.
“This has the potential to really take off,” said Raup, a lifelong Bethlehem resident who has been working to re-establish inter-city rail service to the Lehigh Valley since the late 1980's.
Raup has said he believes it would cost close to $500 million to restore train service from the Lehigh Valley to Philadelphia and New York City.
He has said half the cost would come from the federal government and predicted it would take at least a decade before the trains start rolling.