Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Matt Johnson » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:40 pm

Scranton still had a pulse when I lived in the area. All of the cool places I remember downtown seem to have gone out of business though, and this looks kind of sad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdm82mJlq6M

I'm guessing the limited demand for rail service is probably for a one way ticket out of town! :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZtJU4q5wpg
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby time » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:33 pm

It's not so much the westward travel to see Scranton, but the eastward travel from the Scranton area to New York City. Keep in mind, while Scranton itself has fallen on hard times, there are many middle class towns surrounding Scranton and Stroudsburg that would give leisure and business travel ridership to the line.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby cjvrr » Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:44 am

time wrote:It's not so much the westward travel to see Scranton, but the eastward travel from the Scranton area to New York City. Keep in mind, while Scranton itself has fallen on hard times, there are many middle class towns surrounding Scranton and Stroudsburg that would give leisure and business travel ridership to the line.


But as posted above the number of people living in the Poconos is shrinking. Therefore the number of people traveling from the Poconos and Scranton to the east is shrinking.

Couple that with the travel time itself, the number of seats one would have to change, and the cost; driving is still the better option as it can take that person door to door in a reasonable amount of time.

And as you suggested that Amtrak build the remainder of the line. I personally would rather they focus on the Northeast Corridor between Newark and NYC and a new tunnel prior to any other expansion work in our area.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:55 pm

cjvrr wrote:
time wrote:It's not so much the westward travel to see Scranton, but the eastward travel from the Scranton area to New York City. Keep in mind, while Scranton itself has fallen on hard times, there are many middle class towns surrounding Scranton and Stroudsburg that would give leisure and business travel ridership to the line.


But as posted above the number of people living in the Poconos is shrinking. Therefore the number of people traveling from the Poconos and Scranton to the east is shrinking.

Couple that with the travel time itself, the number of seats one would have to change, and the cost; driving is still the better option as it can take that person door to door in a reasonable amount of time.

And as you suggested that Amtrak build the remainder of the line. I personally would rather they focus on the Northeast Corridor between Newark and NYC and a new tunnel prior to any other expansion work in our area.


Rail condition is another story, but you'd figure an Amtrak designed proposition would be a lot quicker than NJ Transit. The NJ Transit version involves 6 stops in Pennsylvania (DWG, East Stroudsburg, Analomink, Mount Pocono/Pocono Mountain, Tobyhanna and Scranton), with the 2 in NJ. An Amtrak designed version probably would just be Blairstown, East Stroudsburg, Tobyhanna and Scranton. Just eliminating stops would help immensely. However, I still would love to see NJ Transit someday manage commuter rail to Blairstown again with Amtrak on the line for a majority.

From years of camping in the Poconos, a lot of the tourism is still the Poconos (rather than living there). A streamlined service would probably be great for tourist time via Amtrak.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby scoostraw » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:31 pm

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this previously, but I stumbled onto an excellent youtube series put up by Chuck Walsh. Well worth viewing IMO.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCflK2K ... NcWQAyvqsA
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Montclaire » Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:07 pm

I am not buying the proposed ridership numbers out of Scranton. Martz bus lines runs 59 coaches a day into the city. If they can keep the ticket cost and travel time at a reasonable rate, it will be successful.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby NIMBYkiller » Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:54 am

I'm sure this has been covered, but let's be honest, I'm not reading through 344 pages (hot damn has this topic grown since I last checked in, what, 10 years ago?) to find the answer. What would be the running time from NYP to Scranton if this was actually done? What about to Stroudsburg? The XBL and PABT are beyond maxed out, and Martz is running 10 trips to PABT from Stroudsburg between 4:45am and 6:40am. Rail won't make a dent though if it can't compete with the running time of the bus, which is currently between 1hr 15min and 1hr 35min. The fastest train to Dover I'm seeing is 1hr 19mins, and once you get past Stroudsburg (going towards Scranton), I get the feeling all the upgrades in the world aren't going to do much for the insanely curvy ROW.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby EuroStar » Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:35 am

The only way to make the trip times competitive with the bus is to run the trains express between Dover and Newark with no more than one intermediate stop. This will need to be similar to the way Metro-North runs from Port Jervis (express between Secaucus and Suffern with some runs having the intermediate stop at Route 17). Pennsylvania will need to pay for these expresses. I-80 between Wayne and NYC will need to become a parking lot before Pennsylvania pays, therefore you will not see them in your lifetime.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby NIMBYkiller » Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:05 pm

I'd assume an express run from Dover to Newark was a given. The fastest running time I'm seeing from East Stroudsburg to Newark on old EL timetables is 1:33, which would make that 1:53 to NYP. For Scranton to Newark was 3hrs. Rush hour PABT to Scranton is 2hrs 40mins on Martz. Would that run on the train be any faster today than the old timetables?
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Montclaire » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:48 am

If NJT can push into Stroudsburg, then an independent connecting commuter service can be set up over the existing and active PNERRA line, all the way to Scranton. This can be a joint Lackawanna/Monroe County venture, and the line can be upgraded over time (might have to be double-tracked if the need is there, to not interfere with freight traffic). Luzerne County can connect via bus service through the transit hub in Scranton.

I think that is your best chance of seeing commuter service in the Northeast for the foreseeable future. The best part is, the funds are already there - the casinos pay into a fund called a Local Share Account; in 2015, this amount for Monroe, Carbon, Lackawanna, Northampton, Pike and Wayne Counties alone was 10.76 million. This amount is slated to be reduced somewhat after a suit by Mount Airy casino which challenged the percentage they were being taxed at, but whatever is contributed annually (yet to be announced, AFAIK) will still be substantial. Paired with a state grant, diversion of PA fuel tax revenue (originally billed as going towards infrastructure improvements but instead used to shore up the PSP pension fund), cash influx from the casinos which will benefit, or developed gradually through LSA funds over, say, five-six years, that should be enough to get them up and running.
Last edited by Montclaire on Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:38 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Montclaire » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:04 pm

Matt Johnson wrote:I just don't see the incentive or the demand to connect Scranton with the rest of the world. Stroudsburg maybe, but Scranton is just a bit too far and maybe more than a bit too depressed. I had heard that some of the popular places downtown like The Banshee, Tinks, and others had closed since I left the area but man, this looks sad!



You posted this nearly identical quote three times. Is that your only gauge for success? Local bar longevity? Some bars have closed while others have opened. There was also a prolonged, brutal crackdown on DUIs, specifically in the downtown area, that also played a part in what you are referencing - rest assured, people are still drinking in Scranton, just not where YOU were 10-15 years ago. What you aren't looking at is the huge increase in downtown tenants over the past decade. You also have the medical college and the University of Scranton, both of which have a student population heavy with NJ-ites. Scranton and the NE Corridor certainly have their issues but the infrastructure is there to grow. You also have more than a handful of Monroe/NJ commuters to the Tobyhanna Army Depot, a number which would expand with dependable rail service.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby NIMBYkiller » Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:53 pm

My concern is that if you can't get the train to at least match the running time of the bus, the service is doomed. You might get a few reverse riders into Scranton, but the real meat and potatoes is going to be Poconos to NYC commuters. That line has so many twists and turns coming into Stroudsburg, Mt Pocono, and Scranton that I'd imagine dramatically decrease the speed. Has there ever actually been a study published that showed what the running time would be from the various points on the line to NYC?
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Montclaire » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:19 pm

I don't think NYC is going to be a primary stop for Scranton commuters. NJ yes but not necessarily NYC. I can see some reverse ridership from NJ into Stroudsburg. And I can't imagine that you could not be consistently faster or at least equal to Martz, especially 10 or 15 years from now. From what I can gather the slow down would be more on the NJ side than the PA side anyway. You have four proposed stops between Scranton and the Water Gap, so how fast could you (realistically) really be going?

Route times have been posted here but where in the 300+ pages I do not know. From the old Phoebe Snow time schedules, Newark to Stroudsburg took 1 hour, 38 minutes (73.8 miles), and to reach Scranton, an additional hour and 24 minutes (51.5 miles). I have to wonder, with today's technology and some minor ROW improvements, how much time you could cut from the second leg of the trip. By car, with light traffic, you are looking at about 50 mins. By bus, add another hour. If you could match or beat the Phoebe Snow times, you will be competitive.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby NYS&W142Fan » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:06 pm

I have several friends who live in PA from Stroudsburg North and work or worked in NJ. They said if there is not any issues on Rt 80, the drive was fairly quick. That said, all it takes is bad weather or an accident and the commute became a nightmare that could easily add time, up to hours to your commute.
One other thing that would need to be addressed is getting the riders from the train to their jobs and at the end of the shift back to the train. That would make it a viable alternative.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby NIMBYkiller » Thu Jan 04, 2018 2:19 am

From Scranton, no, I can't imagine the majority would be NYC commuters, but from the other Pocono stops closer to the water gap, I'd argue that it would be the case, with Newark probably being a heavy hitter as well. 1hr 38min from Stroudsburg to Newark means 1hr 58mins to NYP. With the exception of their 6:50AM bus which takes 2hrs and 10mins, everything Martz between 5am and 7am from E Stroudsburg is between 1hr 25min and 1hr 40min to PABT. That means they've gotta shave a minimum of 20 mins off the Phoebe Snow schedule to make it competitive. Unfortunately, it looks like even the fastest express from Dover to Newark (1hr 1min) is slower than the Phoebe Snow over that portion of the route, so there's that to contend with.
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