Somerset County is conducting a $60,000 feasibility study to determine whether or not an Amtrak station should be placed on the Great Allegheny Passage.
The station would be placed in Rockwood, an area in Somerset County. The Rockwood trail is part of the 150-mile passage, which runs from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.
Somerset Commissioner Jim Marker says Amtrak requested that this study be done to find out if a Rockwood station would be possible in terms of funding and benefits. “We’re looking for answers regarding what type of platform will you need, what are the dimensions of that?” He says once these questions are answered, an estimate for how much the project will cost can be determined.
He says The Somerset “Rails to Trails” Association donated $5,000 and the Community Foundation of the Alleghenies gave $20,000 towards the cost of the feasibility study. Marker says he and the commissioners applied for a grant from the Department of Transportation to cover the remaining $40,000, which is to be issued in September.
Marker says this will give bicyclists the ability to take the train to a starting point and ride their bike to a destination, or vice versa. He says this would also benefit people who would just like to come in or go out of the Somerset area. “We’re looking for ways to enable bicyclists as well as any citizens to travel about.”
Marker says the train would be available for Capitol Limited riders from Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. It would accommodate bike riders to and from trails as well as take people to venues such as Seven Springs and Hidden Valley resorts.
Marker says this would be the first of its kind in this area. He says it’s been done in places like California and Europe, and has been successful.
He says as of now the only next step is to review the data from the study.