Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust
The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust preserves and interprets the historic, cultural, and natural heritage of the Middle Schuylkill Region, the birthplace of the American iron industry, empowering citizens through job creation, skills-building, education, and recreation.
We have a vision of a region where our diverse population celebrates the history and culture of the home they share and, through their engagement with the Colebrookdale Railroad’s Secret Valley, make connections with each other and with our past that fosters re-investment into the future.
The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust’s mission embodies three core tenants: accessibility and inclusivity, education, and empowerment through economic development. Through our work, we
• connect individuals, families, and students of all ages and cognitive and physical abilities to the outdoors with a focus on historical and natural treasures that define the identity of Pennsylvania and the people who call it home.
• offer innovative educational programming that interprets history and nature to residents and visitors with lessons about the ethnic diversity and ingenuity that made this region the crucible of the New World, the environmental destruction of unbalanced growth, and the economic and quality of life benefits that have come with the restoration of the natural and historic environments.
• increase awareness, appreciation, and use of areas within the Secret Valley while promoting health and well-being through recreation.
• Teach restoration skills and other job skills through our at-risk empowerment program.
• advance the regional economy through an expanded workforce dedicated to education, tourism, and recreation.
Our Core Values:
Diversity of Culture and Experience: The Colebrookdale Railroad’s Secret Valley—the oldest ironmaking region in the New World—was a diverse, multi-cultural hearth from the earliest days of colonization. Native peoples who lived here welcomed new settlers from many nations, a trend that continues today. The industry and craftsmanship for which our region is known is due to the mixing of cultures and traditions that have occurred here since colonial times. The railroad serves as a vehicle to teach the value of that multiculturalism and to showcase the quality of craftsmanship and technological advancement that arose from it.
Community: We seek to be recognized as a unifying element in our region, connecting place to place, community to community, and the past to the future. We resolve to earn that distinction by respecting, involving, and extending our programs to all of our Berks and Montgomery County neighbors.
Opportunity: We ensure that every individual who wants to experience the Colebrookdale Railroad and its exceptional programs has the opportunity to do so.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: We embrace inclusion and actively seek to reflect diversity in every aspect of our operations and productions. We do not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and provision of services. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of our staff, clients, volunteers, subcontractors, vendors, and clients.
We are an equal opportunity employer. We will not discriminate and will take affirmative action measures to ensure against discrimination in employment, recruitment, advertisements for employment, compensation, termination, upgrading, promotions, and other conditions of employment against any employee or job applicant on the bases of race, color, gender, national origin, age, religion, creed, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
Recognizing that transportation development projects have a long history of creating inequities along color lines, disproportionally burdening the most vulnerable populations while directing the employment, economic, and social benefits to others, the Colebrookdale’s board and governing documents shall mandate that the organization’s work promote equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Our equity and empowerment-based Workforce Development Program provides a path for traditionally underserved populations into the job market. Through coordination with our partners, we proactively recruit workers of color and workers from vulnerable populations (single mothers, the recently incarcerated, persons with disabilities, those who were formerly homeless, veterans, non-speakers of English, etc.). The Program connects unemployed persons with the resources they need to be contributing members of society with the skills to meet employment opportunities, and the ability to handle careers where they earn a true, family-sustaining wage.
Education: We embrace lifelong learning and we are committed to providing the highest standards of educational opportunities to our community.
Fiscal Responsibility: We are grateful for the generous support we receive from donors, patrons, and volunteers. We respect those who support us by adhering to strict fiscal procedures that provide transparency and reflect a system of checks and balances.
Environmental Responsibility: The Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust is committed to protecting our environment and to doing its part to reduce the effects of human activity on climate change. We are committed to minimizing our carbon footprint and to reducing the waste produced by our restoration work and our passenger and freight operations. As a preservation effort, the Colebrookdale is by its nature an environmentally-friendly activity; the greenest building and greenest infrastructure is that building and that infrastructure already extant. Our capital dollars go not into material sourced from far away, but into wages paid to folks who live in the community, re-circulating those dollars here for greater economic impact. Existing historic fabric restored here on the railroad means less material clogging landfills or incinerators. The railroad uses a panoply of recycled goods, from fuels to wood planking recovered from 19th-century Philadelphia dock boards. The railroad’s dining services use real china in the grand tradition, eliminating the waste from pre-packaged foods and plasticware. Lastly, the railroad’s steel wheels on steel rails offer the most efficient and environmentally-friendly form of land transportation known to man, with the lowest CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and noise levels of any form of transportation.
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