Lackawanna Commuter Schedules

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Lackawanna Commuter Schedules

Postby Suburbanite » Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:41 pm

Unfortunately, my antique timetable collection is in storage at the moment. Does anyone have Lackawanna timetables (I guess it was always Form 10A) from the 1950s (or 40s) with:
(a) frequency, times, and duration of commutes along the old Boonton Line from, say Denville, Mountain Lakes, and/or Boonton to Hoboken;
(b) the duration of trips from Dover, Denville, Morris Plains, and/or Morristown to Hoboken, and whether they used to skip more stops east of Summit than they do today;
(c) what the service was like on the Sussex Branch in the '40s vs. the 50s, and
(d) the $64,000 question: when did the service get as lousy as it became by the 1980s? Was it still under the E-L, was it Conrail running things for the New Jersey Department of Transport, or was it under NJT itself?

I know that on the short Montclair Branch service was very much more frequent as late as 1960, and that by 1980, it was down to five trains in the morning, no more than seven in the afternoon/evening, no mid-day or night service, and no weekend service. Naturally, with so few trains, there weren't many riders, either.

(BTW, was there any difference in carded times when service shifted from steam to diesel? I don't have an exact date for the Boonton Line (probably somewhere between 1952 and 1955), but I know that the MU electrics started running on the Montclair Branch in 1930, and on the rest of the M&E in 1931, so the comparisons there should be easy to make.)
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Re: Lackawanna Schedules

Postby timz » Sat Jun 28, 2014 6:26 pm

6/50 timetable: Summit to Newark was 16-17 min start-to-start for the four trains that did it nonstop. One train a day ran nonstop Chatham to Newark and one Summit to Hoboken (27 min). Fastest time Morristown to Hoboken 42 min, stopping Convent-Madison-Summit.

A train left Summit 0828 EST nonstop to Newark-- after that all eastward trains made all stops east of Dover except:

--almost all trains skipped Harrison
--one train ran nonstop South Orange to Newark, one train made one stop, and one train made two.

45 weekday trains Montclair to Hoboken.

One Branchville to Hoboken, one Branchville to Dover, one Newton to Hoboken, one Newton to Netcong.

$1.10 one way New York to Morristown, $22.25 for an unrestricted monthly.

April 1964: 27 weekday trains Montclair to Hoboken, five Saturday, none Sunday.
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Re: Lackawanna Commuter Schedules

Postby TSTOM » Mon Jun 30, 2014 11:52 am

Sub -

I know that on the short Montclair Branch service was very much more frequent as late as 1960, and that by 1980, it was down to five trains in the morning, no more than seven in the afternoon/evening, no mid-day or night service, and no weekend service. Naturally, with so few trains, there weren't many riders, either.


I commuted from the Montclair Lackawanna Plaza Terminal to Newark/Broad from 1972 to 1977. The inbound MU trains were 4-cars and were usually 70-75% filled. The exceptions were 2 trains that departed @ 8:32 am and the last departure at 9:14 am. The latter was a U34 with 5 Comets with only the 'front' 2 cars open that specifically catered to the wealthy bankers AND E-L upper management folks who lived in Montclair.

The evening outbound rush trains generally had the same % of riders per MU save for the 5:15 pm Newark/Broad arrival that sported a U34 with 5 Comets. That train was nearly full most nights due to both scheduling AND the attractiveness of an A/C ride.
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Re: Lackawanna Commuter Schedules

Postby Suburbanite » Sat Oct 04, 2014 6:37 pm

My question was really about the old Boonton Line.

I am now in possession of the Suburban Time Tables from 1951 (steam era, but post-closure of Rockaway Loop), when the line was still triple-tracked between Passaic River Bridge and Dover, and 1957 (early diesel days) when line was double-tracked over the same stretch. Both of these are of course before the abandonment of the Paterson/Mountain View section, when the line was also a major freight route.

1951: Eastbound, Weekdays: 13 trains daily Dover - Hoboken (plus two originating in Paterson). Seven of these originated west of Dover: three from Sussex Branch and two from Netcong only; there were only two Washington trains. Six of these trains ran after the morning rush (i.e., later than any scheduled train currently runs Eastbound on the line), the last leaving Dover at 10:05 p.m. Average time from Dover to Hoboken, about 78 min, fastest express (skipping all stops east of Boonton, except Paterson, 60 min.
Saturdays: nine trains; six mid-day or later; Sundays, eight.

Westbound, Weekdays: 15 trains, Hoboken - Dover or beyond, plus four to Paterson or Athenia (i.e. Clifton). Four morning trains, and two mid-day (i.e., up to one hour before first Westbound train on present schedule.) Six ran west of Dover, all before 5:30 p.m., except one at 7:45 p.m. to Netcong only. The last Dover-bound train was at 12:20 a.m. Fastest (express to Mountain View) was 61 min.
Saturdays: ten trains, only one in morning, plus one through train stopping in Paterson, Boonton, and Dover only. Last train, 12:20 a.m. Sundays: nine, three in morning.

[Of course, one always had the alternative of M & E trains to Denville and Dover, but I chose the Dover comparison, because Mountain Lakes or Boonton, while only having one train each which did not stop in one or the other, did not afford a clear comparison with M & E times. FYI, Boonton - Hoboken was 60 min. or less; fastest express, 45 min. Inbound (Eastbound), and 44 min. Outbound (Westbound).

Fare from Dover (including ferries): $1.35 one-way, $1.80 round-trip.

1957: All diesel traction, two track route past Paterson: Eastbound: ten trains daily, six on Saturday, five on Sunday. Westbound: eleven trains daily, seven on Saturday, five on Sunday. Last Westbound train from Hoboken at 11:30 p.m. (apparently, folks were less inclined to stay out late in late '50s :sarcasm:) Average time Eastbound, 70 min.; fastest 54 min. Average time Westbound, 70 min., fastest express, 57 min. Fare: $1.49 one-way, $2.00 round-trip.

Bottom Line: diesels slightly faster, probably due to faster acceleration, because number of stops were the same. Service frequency already in decline.

Comparison with present service post-Greenwood Lake Connection and severing of Paterson route: Don't make me laugh: Avg. 91 min. Fastest: 78 min. The new route is less than 4 mi. longer, but the frequency of stops exaggerates the difference. Add to that, the scarcity of trains, and you can see why the parking lots at Mountain Lakes and Boonton are always empty.
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