WEST CHESTER (December 20, 2021) – Two projects to upgrade rail freight infrastructure in Chester County will receive nearly $1.1 million in total state funding, state Senator Carolyn Comitta said today.

The investments, recently approved by the State Transportation Commission, are as follows:

  • $700,000 to the East Penn Railroad to rehabilitate the Octoraro Branch by replacing approximately 7,000 ties, 1,100 feet of rail, and three mainline switches, as well as 10 miles of surfacing.


  • $371,000 to International Paper Company to construct approximately 500 feet of new track to the new plant and rehabilitate 1,200 feet of track with new ties and ballast.

The Chester County projects come as part of 25 rail freight improvement projects statewide slated to receive $33 million in total funding through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Rail Freight Assistance Program. In total, the projects will create or sustain more than 200 jobs across the Commonwealth.

“Continued investments in our rail freight infrastructure help support job growth, reduce traffic congestion, strengthen our supply chain, and ensure businesses can connect with consumers effectively and efficiently,” Comitta said.

“Keeping goods moving efficiently has proven to be more important now than ever,” said Governor Wolf. “These investments in Pennsylvania’s rail system create jobs, support efficient freight travel, and help keep the business community connected to the global economy.”

Pennsylvania has 65 operating railroads, which is more than any other state. PennDOT is committed to working with private rail operators and rail-served businesses to construct new rail lines and assist in maintaining and improving Pennsylvania’s roughly 5,600 miles of freight lines.

According to PennDOT, the RFAP provides financial assistance for investment in rail freight infrastructure to preserve essential rail freight service where economically feasible, and preserve or stimulate economic development through the generation of new or expanded rail freight service.

The maximum state funding for an RFAP project is 70 percent of the total project costs, not to exceed $700,000.