Just watched most of this 90 minute meeting from a community forum on restoring passenger rail to Berks County (and points in between) on 11/21: https://www.bctv.org/video/restoring-pa ... -to-berks/
The Berks Alliance & Greater Reading Chamber Alliance is sponsoring a three month study with Transportation Economics & Management Systems (TEMS), a global firm who uses computer-aided models to study the full economic impact of developing passenger rail service between Philadelphia and Reading, including around all stations in between. This would include things like the potential for standard 79 mph operation as well as cost vs benefit analysis for upgrades to support 110mph operation, and where such operation is feasible. It will also explore the potentials of having various operators run the service, including SEPTA, Amtrak, Virgin Trains, or potentially others. It will also assess the impact of passenger train traffic on freight traffic and what improvements will be needed to mitigate any impact to freight.
Phoenixville's mayor and a task force member talks about the interesting approach they're taking at this by focusing primarily on identifying funding first, from public and private sources as well as using real estate development to fund things like station construction and operating subsidy, basically thinking outside the box. They say by funding this at the community level they eliminate the need to go through time consuming EIS processes and other studies that the Feds typically require. They say that they've already talked to SEPTA and that if they get the necessary funding secured, they'll accept their plan.