Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:58 pm

I have said this before but I will say it again. While it would be nice to have commuter rail service to the Poconos from the New York area, especially to accommodate those many Pocono residents who work in the city as well as other towns in Morris and Essex County, don't get your hopes up anytime soon. Much closer to NYC, you have the Amtrak infrastructure woes as well as a lack of track capacity beneath the Hudson River, major hurdles that prevent any new extensions with improved rail service. All parts of the Gateway Project are very important right now before we can get the train, even to E. Stroudsburg, which would be a good terminus because of the right of way having too many curves north of there. As others mentioned, Scranton's economy isn't in good shape, even in Downtown. Wilkes-Barre is in worse shape. Basically, a lot of that area isn't in the best shape. The Stroudsburg and Scranton areas are two different metropolitan areas and they aren't next to each other. Both E. Stroudsburg and Scranton are almost 50 miles apart from each other as the crow flies and it's pretty much a straight shot on 380, after you get off of 80. The excursion trains take about 2 and 1/2 hours to travel between Scranton and the East Stroudsburg area nonstop. Now imagine how long it would take for a NJT train to traverse the Pocono Main making the stops that Lackawanna trains used to make on the Pocono Main-it would take forever. Even in moderate traffic from NYC to Scranton, the car or bus would outpace the train. A Midtown Direct Local running between NYP and Dover, especially on weekends takes just over an hour and a half so imagine how long it would take to get to PA on that. Scranton might be too far for New Jersey Transit to operate. If I worked for NJT or the State of PA, I would probably strongly suggest saying just have NJT go as far as E Stroudsburg.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:10 pm

It's true. There also isn't the trick of geography that makes the Cutoff the fastest way between two in-state destinations like there is for Port Jervis to New York City.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Aug 06, 2017 12:00 pm

While the commuting distance between Port Jervis and NYC is shorter than between Scranton and NYC, it's still a very long trip. Just because it might be 95 rail miles doesn't mean that it's that long of a distance as the crow flies which it isn't. Between Hoboken and Pt. Jervis, the shortest driving route is about 67 miles and in little or no traffic, driving or taking the bus is faster than the train. I don't think too many people use the train to commute between Pt. Jervis and the city or Hoboken since it's a very long ride. I could see maybe a commuter who works in the office a few times a week. The daily commuter ridership begins at Middletown-Town of Walkill station but even that is still a little far.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:54 am

http://www.njherald.com/20170810/new-cu ... -on-track#

A solution to bypass a roadblock to the final environmental permit needed to complete the project to bring commuter rail service to Sussex County cleared a vote by the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors on Wednesday.

The board voted to approve a contract modification for the engineers on the project, Jacobs Engineering Group of Morristown, to go ahead with a design to install a new culvert to replace one that the Department of Environmental Protection had deemed inadequate and could, according to computer models, cause the new station to flood if there were an exceptional storm and the now-existing culvert were to collapse.

Nancy Snyder, a spokeswoman for NJ Transit, wrote in an email, "The general approach is to work with DEP to develop a plan that redirects much of the culvert under the adjoining road, which will minimize the impact on private property while meeting all applicable storm water and other regulations."

According to Corey Stoner, Andover Township engineer, the solution is to build the new culvert under Roseville Road. The stream would be diverted just to the east of the driveway to Hudson Farms West, go through the new culvert and re-enter the streambed about 200 feet west of the driveway.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:14 am

http://www.njherald.com/20170813/from-t ... ves-aug-13

25 years ago

Aug. 13, 1992

Rails offer more commuter service for county

NJ Transit set to purchase 28-mile Lackawanna cutoff

NEWTON -- The restoration of the passenger train service to northwestern New Jersey, which could extend as far as Warwick, N.Y., is part of an ambitious plan unveiled earlier this week which outlines NJ Transit plans to upgrade its passenger service throughout the state.

The reactivation plan includes not only the NYS&W line, but also reactivation and extension of two other rail lines serving northwestern New Jersey. The plans include:

Reactivation of a nine-mile extension of the Boonton Line from its current terminus in Netcong into Hackettstown. According to a transit official, the extension will serve commuters from Hackettstown to destinations along the Boonton and Morristown lines, Newark, Hoboken and New York. The extension will also enable NJ Transit to serve the developing Mount Olive International Trade Center, a transit official said.

A report by NJ Transit officials also notes the state Department of Transportation is purchasing the 28-mile-long Lackawanna Cutoff Right of Way for possible future transportation use. The purchase of the cutoff is being funded by the state's 1989 Abandoned Railroad Rights of Way Bond Issue, which allocated about $10 million for the cutoff purchase.

The line, which stretches from Port Morris in Roxbury into Pennsylvania, runs through Morris, Warren and Sussex counties. Byram, Stanhope, Green and Andover Township in Sussex County are among the municipalities the cutoff runs though.

The cutoff has the potential to provide rail transportation in Sussex and Warren Counties, serve the Delaware River Water Gap Recreation Area, and provide an additional transportation corridor into Pennsylvania, the report stated.

NJ Transit will consider using the cutoff as an extension of its existing commuter rail network as travel demand increases, according to the report.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby joeycannoli » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:07 am

Has there been any movement of late on this project? Haven't heard anything for a few months.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby time » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:30 am

While searching for a news update on this, I came across a news article about a new book for the cutoff. If you're interested: http://www.njherald.com/20171126/sussex ... nna-cutoff

No other news on progress has been found.

I did find a Twitter tracking Cutoff progress, but it has not been updated since July. Lots of great video links, however: https://twitter.com/walsh_chuck
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Nov 26, 2017 7:26 pm

343 pages of nothing, no progress, just fantasy.
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:13 pm

Welcome to constructing new railroads. I'd rather see NJ Transit invest its time in abandoning the part west of Andover and focusing on ADA improvements.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby time » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:37 pm

FWIW, I think Amtrak should construct and build the line west of Andover to the Poconos, Scranton, Binghampton and Ithaca. The latter being a huge college destination, where a lot of folks from the New York metro area attend college. As far as train ridership, you'd have an express to the Poconos for commuter, business and travel; Scranton business and leisure travel; Binghampton business travel and leisure travel; and Ithaca college, travel, business and leisure. Plus, intermediate stops where there is sufficient demand. With modifications to the line and a semi-high speed trainset (tilting enabled, grade separations outside of towns), the service and price could compete with car, bus and air travel options. Pocono commuter travel alone would account for 90% of the service usage, and a non-stop train from New York Penn to Stroudsburg would replace bus service. On the weekends, you'd get folks escaping the city for a weekend in the Poconos.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:53 am

If our trains were up to European standards, we would definitely have a service to the Poconos and Binghamton. Sadly it won’t be happening. In order for that to happen, there would have to be a New right of way. The old Lackawanna Main has way too many curves north of Stroudsburg and they need to be eliminated. Plus, there are the track capacity issues closer to NYC. Maybe in our lifetime, NJT will look into running as far as E. Stroudsburg which would be a start, especially to those people who commute from there to major employment centers in Morris and Essex County and NYC as well as tourists. The population in the Poconos has been growing for a while leading to an increase in traffic there. Sadly, the train won’t be coming anytime soon.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:21 am

What kind of "noise" have all the locals in that section of the country been making to get this done? I have not heard much, myself. This "talk" is about 20 years old now.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby cjvrr » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:10 am

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:If our trains were up to European standards, we would definitely have a service to the Poconos and Binghamton. Sadly it won’t be happening. In order for that to happen, there would have to be a New right of way. The old Lackawanna Main has way too many curves north of Stroudsburg and they need to be eliminated. Plus, there are the track capacity issues closer to NYC. Maybe in our lifetime, NJT will look into running as far as E. Stroudsburg which would be a start, especially to those people who commute from there to major employment centers in Morris and Essex County and NYC as well as tourists. The population in the Poconos has been growing for a while leading to an increase in traffic there. Sadly, the train won’t be coming anytime soon.


Population in western NJ and the Poconos is shrinking. The young adults do not want to live in those areas due to lack of jobs and long commutes. Most large employers and developers in the NY metro area are keeping their new office buildings, warehouses and commercial developments east of Route 287. The trend is very obvious to the land development planners I deal with on a daily basis. They do not see that trend changing for the near future.

Way back on one of the earliest pages of this thread I posted information using the NJT study of the number of potential users of this service. It amounted to a few thousand people per day. That is a drop in the bucket in comparison to traffic volumes on Route 80. Even with train service it will continue to be much faster to commute door to door by car from the Poconos to any place of employment.

Pleasure rides on weekends to the Poconos or train service to Ithaca, NY for college students are non starters.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby blockline4180 » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:18 am

I tend to agree with the fact that population is shrinking in Western, NJ, but thought they were still building in the Poconos... At least in the Lehigh Valley where my friend lives they are building homes and condos like crazy and lots of NJ residents are coming over... Not doubting your expertise since you work in the industry, just telling you from my first hand information.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Postby SecaucusJunction » Fri Dec 01, 2017 9:16 pm

Homes in the Poconos are selling at rock bottom prices because people are moving back toward the core. Jobs are not plentiful in the Poconos. Lots of jobs in the Lehigh Valley but pay probably half of what they do in the Metro area.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
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