Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

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Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby Engineer Spike » Sun Jun 14, 2015 9:41 pm

In the New York State forum, there's a thread aboutabout Conrail selling the old Lackawanna between Binghamton, and Scranton, to the D&H. This strikes me as odd, since D&H was set up, and expanded, to avoid a Conrail monopoly. Senior colleagues have told me about how Conrail would screw our trains. They might put the D&H train in a siding for a meet which was hours away. They have also said that our trains were given the lowest priority. I have seen filings which D&H brought to the government, so Conrail would be forced to stop these practices.

It all boils down to why Conrail would sell the line, which would help D&H, instead of abandoning it?
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby charlie6017 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:08 am

I have a couple thoughts: One is to get proceeds for selling the line and ridding themselves of the tax-burden at
the same time. Along with that, it saves the cost and time of maintenance on signals, crossings, etc.

Back then, Conrail was still hemorrhaging money in the pre-L. Stanley Crane days and they were looking
for anything to head that off.

I think it was more a way of helping themselves.....it just happened to benefit D&H in the process!

My 2 cents,

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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Sep 16, 2015 7:20 pm

The line in question here is the old Lackawanna Route between Scranton and Binghamton. This was a prime example of a line that really was not needed at lest in the 1970's and 1980's. It was a nice piece of railroad, well built for the most part and lots or nice scenery. Unfortunately this does not bring improvement to the balance sheet. It was not needed by Conrail at least not in 1980 or so when it was finally sold to the D & H. Most of this line that was not needed for NJT passenger operations was either abandoned or sold. For the most part it did not happen all at once, the signals were taken out of service, one track taken out of service the other downgraded to secondary status or industrial status for local switching where it was still needed. Conrail when it was formed and began operation in 1976 inherited routes and trackage than they needed and this was part of that. In spite of that situation it was a better route to the south and west than the existing D & H Pennsylvania Division trackage with easier grades and probably other factors as well. It also allowed the D & H to centralize these operations in Binghamton rather than have major switching points at Scranton, Wilkes Barre and Oneonta. Everything ended up in Binghamton. I believe Conrail was required to offer this property to any other railroad that had the money to pay for it and in this case the transaction saved the D & H a considerable sum of money in operating costs. I still have some of the General Orders and Bulletin Orders when these changes were put in to effect.
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby Engineer Spike » Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:39 am

I totally agree with what you said, Noel. My real question is why Conrail didn't rip it up. They (Conrail) didn't like the fact that D&H had rights on their lines to start with. I'm surprised that Conrail would do anything that would benefit D&H. The only thing I can think of was that Conrail felt that the Scranton market wasn't worth pursuing, and they could get cash from the sale.
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby Matt Langworthy » Tue Mar 08, 2016 1:21 pm

Spike, I've read the same thing Noel said- CR was required to offer the ex-DL&W line for sale before abandoning it. The D&H took up Conrail's offer and the rest is history. It is interesting to see how the same segment from Scranton to Bingo fits NS's operating plans now, when it didn't fit CR's plans from 1979 onwards.
Last edited by Matt Langworthy on Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby YamaOfParadise » Tue Mar 08, 2016 2:02 pm

Matt Langworthy wrote:It is interesting to see how the same segment from Scranton to Bingo fits NS's operating plans now, when it didn't fit CR's plans from 1979 onwards.


Really shows how complex the importance of a line is, namely in comparison to one railroad's system, it's partnering lines, and its competitors. (And economic conditions of course; you have to be able to connect markets that goods actually are going to flow in, of course.)

Those factors go both ways; PC was doomed because of this, having tons of redundant routes; Conrail inherited much of that mess, and even more railroad's routes that further were redundant to the PC system like the Lackawanna Main. Certainly wasn't redundant to the D&H in the era post-Dereco/N&W, and also not redundant to Guilford when they acquired the D&H.

...but I guess it was destined to be part of NS, considering the N&W formed Dereco to hold EL and D&H, ICC required inclusions if they were to merge with Wabash/NKP; took a number of extra decades, but it happened eventually!
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby SemperFidelis » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:02 pm

Just barely on topic, so my humble apologies:

I can't think of an online customer anywhere between Taylor Yard and the state line near Hallstead aside from the interchange traffic (which takes place at Taylor anyway). Can anyone think of anything?
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby Matt Langworthy » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:56 am

YamaOfParadise wrote:
Matt Langworthy wrote:It is interesting to see how the same segment from Scranton to Bingo fits NS's operating plans now, when it didn't fit CR's plans from 1979 onwards.


Really shows how complex the importance of a line is, namely in comparison to one railroad's system, it's partnering lines, and its competitors. (And economic conditions of course; you have to be able to connect markets that goods actually are going to flow in, of course.)

Those factors go both ways; PC was doomed because of this, having tons of redundant routes; Conrail inherited much of that mess, and even more railroad's routes that further were redundant to the PC system like the Lackawanna Main. Certainly wasn't redundant to the D&H in the era post-Dereco/N&W, and also not redundant to Guilford when they acquired the D&H.

...but I guess it was destined to be part of NS, considering the N&W formed Dereco to hold EL and D&H, ICC required inclusions if they were to merge with Wabash/NKP; took a number of extra decades, but it happened eventually!


Agreed. As I've said elsewhere, NS has completed what Dereco started.
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby cjvrr » Thu Mar 10, 2016 10:18 pm

SemperFi,

I can't think of any.

SemperFidelis wrote:Just barely on topic, so my humble apologies:

I can't think of an online customer anywhere between Taylor Yard and the state line near Hallstead aside from the interchange traffic (which takes place at Taylor anyway). Can anyone think of anything?
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby SemperFidelis » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:52 pm

Thank you, CJVRR.

Just found out, only a few minutes before I posted this, that International Paper has a plant (DBA Binghamton Container) just north of the border that has a siding into it that appears to be served.

Off 107 by Factoryville I think there is a siding to some silos but I think the business is vacant. Sat photos show some MOW vehicles on the siding, but that is it.

The DL&W did an excellent job building a line with no interference, for certain!
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby cjvrr » Fri Mar 11, 2016 1:36 pm

Semper,

There was also a steel company near Shaw Road, a bit closer to Conklin Yard. But it has been years since I have seen any cars in there.

Same for the paper factory, I have never seen a car in there in recent times.

But I am not local only railfan up there a few times per year.
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby Flat-Wheeler » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:56 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:I totally agree with what you said, Noel. My real question is why Conrail didn't rip it up.
They might have if they could. When a RR files for exemption on an important well established line, the affected communities, on-line shippers and competing roads can all step in an petition the ICC or STB to make sure the abandonment is not doing more damage to the affected economies than good. Case in point, CR was disallowed, and instead had to provide it to another road.
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby Flat-Wheeler » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:09 pm

I always get confused. One is the former Lehigh Valley, & yet you call the other the Lehigh line. So this was the "other" redundant Conrail line between Southern Tier main and Scranton area. The Lehigh Valley line along the Susquehanna River between Sayre and Scranton (Wilkes-Barre) is similar, but has at least a major industry at Mehoopany (Proctor & Gamble T.P. factory). This line has also been downgraded and sold to a shortline outfit. I guess for sake of sanity, please do not refer to "Lehigh line".
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby lvrr325 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:43 am

Conrail may have kept this line, but New York's willingness to pay to support the Southern Tier Line is what doomed it, they didn't need both the Erie and DL&W side between Binghamton and the NYC area. That combined with EL's regrettable decision to sever it made it redundant.

It may even have been cheaper to sell it than to fight to abandon it, and ultimately it would have little or no bearing on the trackage rights operations. Were they to pull it up, D&H still had it's own route between those points.
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Re: Sale of Lackawanna Main to D&H

Postby scottychaos » Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:20 am

Flat-Wheeler wrote:I always get confused. One is the former Lehigh Valley, & yet you call the other the Lehigh line. So this was the "other" redundant Conrail line between Southern Tier main and Scranton area. The Lehigh Valley line along the Susquehanna River between Sayre and Scranton (Wilkes-Barre) is similar, but has at least a major industry at Mehoopany (Proctor & Gamble T.P. factory). This line has also been downgraded and sold to a shortline outfit. I guess for sake of sanity, please do not refer to "Lehigh line".


You are confused. ;) no biggie though..Pennsylvania has always been a very confusing railroad state..still is.
The line referred to as "The Lehigh Line" is a section of the former LV mainline..But it's not the LV between Sayre and Wilkes Barre.
and it's also unrelated to the former DL&W/D&H line between Binghamton and Scranton.

What is referred to today as "The Lehigh Line" is a NS route that is part of the old LV mainline, but it runs far south of the Binghamton to Scranton area being discussed in this thread..
and it also has nothing to do with the former LV main between Sayre and Wilkes Barre. So the "Lehigh Line" really has nothing to do with this thread at all..

On this big LV map:

http://scotlawrence.smugmug.com/Other/L ... bigmap.jpg

(which shows LV lines in use in 2003..I need to update it)
The "Lehigh Line" is the section of LV mainline that starts at Allentown and heads East into New Jersey..

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