Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.

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Butlershops

Post by Butlershops » Wed Oct 06, 2004 4:40 pm

JayMan wrote:Let's say the Lackawanna cutoff is joined to NJ trackage and we passenger service from NYC to the Poconos. That's a length of at least 120 miles -- making it a two and a half hour commute at least. If they do restore this trackage, wouldn't it need to be (to see real ridership) doubled-tracked and graded and signaled to allow 100 mph runs (costing quite a bit of $$$)?
The DL&W did Scranton-Hoboken in 3:15. And yes, that is an express schedule without "Shirley Time," or event recorders or radar guns to prevent "making up time."

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:00 pm

Butlershops--
Your observation of the Lackawanna's fastest time (3 hrs 15 min) goes to the heart of the Cutoff's problem. No NJT train on the old Lackawanna is as fast as the equivalent train in Lackawanna days. Even if the 26 miles of the Cutoff were done in 20 minutes, what about the rest of the railroad? From Dover to Hoboken would take at least an hour and a quarter, probably longer. A train would be more consistent in time and more comfortable than a bus, but it would be slower than Martz' schedule. Martz has a bus leaving Scranton at 5:35 AM that is scheduled to arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 8:15. I don't know if it actually makes this schedule, but I assume it usually does. To make possible a train from the Poconos as fast as the bus would require a lot of railroad improvements, at great expense. It would also require that NJT's management change its attitude toward running fast trains. Chance of these changes occurring: slim to none. As a railfan I'd love to see the cutoff re-opened, but I still don't see it as a viable commuter route without other, expensive changes, such as increasing the train capacity of the railroad east of the Cutoff, and doing some route realignment through the Poconos.

Irish Chieftain

Post by Irish Chieftain » Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:05 pm

Martz has a bus leaving Scranton at 5:35 AM that is scheduled to arrive at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 8:15. I don't know if it actually makes this schedule
If you don't make it to Exit 27 on I-80 in NJ by at least 5:30, you aren't getting anywhere on time. I've seen several Martz buses do the 20 mph crawl on I-80 along with me when I used to commute between Mount Pocono and Linden; I'd say that it would be sheer luck if they made it into the PABT by 9:00 am. Rest assured that the train will get riders.

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:16 pm

Irish--
I'm curious how long your Mt Pocono-Linden commute took, driving. (Sounds pretty grueling.) With the Cutoff a trip like that would work well because of Secaucus and would be faster than Martz.

njt/mnrrbuff
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Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Thu Oct 07, 2004 9:43 pm

I myself, wouldn't mind seeing the cutoff restored. Once you are stuck on 80, you are not going anywhere for some time. Also, weekend service should be important as well. It could benefit people wanting to get out to the country. If one wants to travel by train to the Poconos or Scranton, the closest ones are quite a distance away. If you are closer to 80, then Netcong is closer. However, Dover has more service. Now, if you are in the northern part near Dingmans Ferry, Port is the closest. I still think that this project should be a priority. But, a second tunnel under the Hudson is really the first. Just more and more people are moving out there.

NJTRailfan
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Location: Dover, NJ

Post by NJTRailfan » Wed Oct 13, 2004 5:22 pm

In my opinion it would be sensible fr now to rely on buildign a station in Mt Arlington at the P/R and electrifiying the line from dover to Port Morris Yard and then havign direct NYP service w weekend service at that station. Even that will be alot bettet compared to now where commuters have to drive all the way to Dover.

Atleast with the idea/opinion I have NJT will have more money allocated for that second tunnel and western NJ/Eastern PA commuters won't be completely left out in the cold. With this project it's a straight shot on 80 and very close to Routes 46 and 10.

This is a better alternative. Once NJT does a project like the H Tunnels or MOM (Whatever coems first) it'll be a very logn time before a project of that size or clsoe to it like W Trenton or cutoff will even be worked on due to the lack of funds.

But with Mt Arlington and electrification extension of the M&E line from Dover-PM it shouldn't be anywhere near that much comapred to how much the restoration of cutoff wil lcost plus stations. With Mt Arlington the service is there and the lines is already double tracked plus it's next to a major highway and you've got 2 state highways close by so you can garantee this will rake in people and will be quite popular esp with that area of Mt Arlington developing. hopefully the next thign to go up wil lnot be another shopping center or luxury condos but rather a train station with a 4 deck parking garage and electrification to complement it.

Plus I don't hear of any nimbys complaining on this at all. So this basically clears the way and this project in my opinion with electrification should've taken place durign the Lackawanna era. atleast they could've stored electric train sets in Pt morris Yard.

But anyhow this is a good solution to NJT's problems

1. More space to store electric trainsets on the line since Dover Yard is totally full.

2. Less money to spend and more money allocated to bigger more important projects H tunnels, W Trenton and MOM.

3. A good gesture to Western NJ residents that NJT does care about those living west of Dover.

Tri-State Tom
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Post by Tri-State Tom » Wed Oct 13, 2004 5:52 pm

Joe -

" From Dover to Hoboken would take at least an hour and a quarter, probably longer. "

A Cut-Off train eastbound making stops at Morris Plains, Morristown, Summit, South Orange, Newark-Broad and Hoboken would be alot faster than that.

" With the Cutoff a trip like that would work well because of Secaucus and would be faster than Martz. "

Secaucus ? You mean after a transfer from a Cut-Off train at either Dover or more probably Newark-Broad to a MidTown Direct train Joe ?

njt/mnrrbuff
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Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Oct 13, 2004 6:49 pm

Any long distance commuter train beats a long distance bus sitting in traffic.

Lackawanna484

Post by Lackawanna484 » Wed Oct 13, 2004 9:10 pm

Tri-State Tom wrote:Joe -

" From Dover to Hoboken would take at least an hour and a quarter, probably longer. "

A Cut-Off train eastbound making stops at Morris Plains, Morristown, Summit, South Orange, Newark-Broad and Hoboken would be alot faster than that.
---------------------------------

I'm not sure about that, Tom. NJT has a real phobia about speed, especially on the M&E and Boonton Lines. Although one of the (other) graybeards mentioned his personal experience of doing 85 mph on jointed rail in the 1950s, I don't see NJT planning on any similar adventures today.


Paul

Tri-State Tom
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Post by Tri-State Tom » Wed Oct 13, 2004 10:00 pm

Paul -

I admittedly quickly looked at the NJT schedule and saw that train #807 makes 10 stops prior to arriving Dover. Leaves HOB 5:11 pm - arrives Dover 6:21 pm.

1 hour 10 min.

A prospective Cut-Off train making 5 stops prior to arriving Dover should beat the above travel time, no ?

BTW, don't have my Phoebe Snow timetable handy. With stops at N-B, BC, Summit prior to Dover, what was her travel time ?

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:04 am

Tri-State-- You're right, you would have to change at Newark or Dover for a NYP train--my mistake.
At its fastest, the Phoebe Snow did Hoboken-Scranton in 3 hr 15 min. During this run, it did HOB-Dover in 58 minutes. It took an additional 53 minutes to get to Stroudsburg. Total time to Stroudsburg: 1 hr 51 minutes.
At that time (1950) the New York Central had a block of DL&W stock and a seat on the Lackawanna's board. It is said (by Taber) that the Central was worried about competition from the DL&W for passengers to Syracuse and Buffalo. So, I'm assuming the trains could have been run faster. However, it seems unlikely that NJT would even come close to Phoebe's time, given their track record. Commuting from the Poconos to NY is going to be a long trip even under the best of conceivable circumstances.

henry6

ACTUALLY...

Post by henry6 » Thu Oct 14, 2004 8:05 am

Most DL main line trains had extra time Hoboken to Dover because of the stops. Pulling uphill from a dead stop at Newark and Brick Church added time, of course. Then there was the MU's ahead to take passengers to Sumitt and or Dover for #3. Cut Off was pegged at 79mph (at one time 80) and it is known that there was three digit speeds achieved in both steam and diesel era's.
Best time Hoboken to Denville was a deadhead move late Sun nite: 40 minutes! It is in the employee timetables of the time (@1960-65) Rode it once. It was usually two or three geeps and a couple of Boonton Line coaches for Mon. morn. eastbound rush and ran via what we call the Morristown Line today. Rode backwards in walkover seat without power for lights! It was wierdest through the tunnel!

Tri-State Tom
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Post by Tri-State Tom » Thu Oct 14, 2004 12:13 pm

Joe -

" During this run, it did HOB-Dover in 58 minutes. "

That sounds right Joe. Phoebe's station stops at N-B, BC and Summit were longer than today's commuter one's due to folks boarding with varying amounts of luggage. Also, the train itself was I believe 8-10 coaches with twin E8's in charge which didn't have the acceleration speed of today's GP40PH's, FH's, etc.. I'd also guess that Phoebe's Budd coaches/diners/sleepers/T-L cars, though of the 'lightweight' type of the day, were heavier than today's Comets. Therefore, I'd wager that present day GP40PH-2 with 8-9 Comets in tow stopping at Phoebe's same 3 stops between HOB and Dover would cover the route in about 53-54 minutes. Delete BC and add Morristown and Morris Plains and the trip should take under an hour under a Cut-Off scenario.

JoeG

Post by JoeG » Thu Oct 14, 2004 2:40 pm

Tri-State--
It's true, NJT could run trains on your proposed schedule. Because of their aversion to speed and to expresses, they won't. They don't even run trains that run express from Morristown to Newark. Dover trains don't pass any stations W of Summit, except maybe Mt Tabor. They have enough traffic on that line to fleet trains like MN Harlem and NH lines do, with each train stopping at a few stations during rush hour, but they will not do it. I don't know where this snail's-pace mentality comes from. Shirley is long gone.

henry6

THE WAY THE HARLEM LINE RUNS IS...

Post by henry6 » Thu Oct 14, 2004 3:07 pm

a good example. Express every hour to White Plains on the hour, local every hour on the half hour (EXAMPLE ONLY) with every second express connecting to or running through to Wassaic. But NJT does not have a White Plaines. It has Summit and Newark which are more like Jamaica on the LIRR! The old DL&W had the 100's to Montclair, the 200's to South Orange, the 300's to Summit, the 400's to Gladstone, the 500's to Morristown and the 600's to Dover. That was 15 minute headways out of Hoboken not counting Boonton Line and long distance traffic. And the rush hours were even more fun. (By the way, 1000 BL to Dover, Washington, and Branchville; 700 weekend to Montclair, 800 to Gladstone, 900 to Dover, 1100 on the Boonton Line.) The point is, look at a 1945 to 1965 DL or EL timetable and look what the did with MU's: more trains, faster schedules, ability to split and put together trains quickly at Morristown and Summit. NJT has to look at MU's where ever possible to speed up traffic; they are going to have to express more to Summit and Dover on the Morristown side and Great Notch to Dover on the Boonton side (with adquately powered trains, too; two cars is ok with current power but after that they need 50 to 100 more horsepower per car in order to get moving! PLAN! PLAN! PLAN! And that's just on these NJT lines!

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