Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

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

Moderators: Tadman, nick11a, ACeInTheHole, Kaback9

mtuandrew
Posts: 6000
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Dec 29, 2018 1:23 pm

One of the Canadian roads would have jumped at the opportunity to operate an Erie-DLW (or better, an LV-CNJ) route from Buffalo to New York Harbor, which is probably the largest reason Conrail tore up the Cutoff. Can’t insist on access or ownership of a line that isn’t there, and can’t compete effectively if you get held (unofficially) for the host road’s trains.

I’m honestly amazed how well CSX and NS (and Conrail before them) have insulated themselves from competition into NY/NJ. Three of the best routes (NYC, LV, Reading) are controlled by them, the fourth (PRR) is publicly-owned and insulated from freight, and the remainder are downgraded or removed. Even the Suzy Q is controlled by the two, the Rich years notwithstanding.

If NJT truly wants this built, they would open a bidding war between CN and CP - whichever one contributes the most, gets trackage rights and a second track east of the Cutoff.

MickD
Posts: 706
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:00 pm
Location: Dennisport,Ma

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by MickD » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:41 pm

Wasn't Canadian Pacific very interested in Cut Off...??

mtuandrew
Posts: 6000
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:59 am
Location: the Manassas Gap Independent Line

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Dec 29, 2018 4:37 pm

MickD wrote:Wasn't Canadian Pacific very interested in Cut Off...??
I’m sure the answer is in this thread :-D but I remember reading the same thing. They had some interest in one of the Detroit-Chicago routes too, maybe the Michigan Central, which would have filled another huge gap in their system.

Dcell
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:14 pm

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by Dcell » Sat Dec 29, 2018 5:08 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote: Fortunately, I had the honor to ride this libe during March 1960 in daylight aboard DLW #3, Phoebe Snow, and sitting in the obs. The memory remains fresh.
Wow, Gilbert. You must be 80 or so, not that it matters. Not many left who remember LD trains before Amtrak.

rr503
Posts: 699
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 4:13 pm
Location: North by Northwest

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by rr503 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:15 pm

MickD wrote:Wasn't Canadian Pacific very interested in Cut Off...??
There was some talk of them getting rights for trash trains over the route, yes.

The thing with 'third road' access to NY via the Cutoff is that it really just can't happen. Short of buying out the DL and RBMN and then either rebuilding the LV and/or cobbling together short lines to Buffalo, there's just no good way to get west from Slateford (to say nothing of the fact that there's no simple/DS cleared way of getting to NY terminals from Port Morris). If CP still owned the PA portion of the D&H, I'd give that thought a *bit* more credence, but they, well, don't, and I don't see them spending what I'd imagine to be at least a billion dollars getting that back either.

And anyway, if I had limitless funds and was looking to (re)build my way into NY, I would get NJDOT to grant me access to the CNJ ROW (provided I add my own tracks) from Cranford to P'burg, and then I'd short line/build my way from there to Buffalo. You hit more industrial centers along the way (imagine how impactful a second road to the Lehigh Valley warehousing bonanza would be), and you avoid all the choke points and grades along the cutoff route. Now, if you want to start an imaginary bidding war for far-west NJ rail service, this is your corridor. Phillipsburg, Easton, Bethelehem, Allentown and Reading are all better economic 'fits' for a rail link to NYC.

User avatar
JoeG
Posts: 401
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:40 am
Location: Harrisburg, PA

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by JoeG » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:39 pm

I recommend Chuck Walsh's youtube series on the Cutoff. Once the Erie Lackawanna, desperate for cash and very pessimistic about future traffic growth, sold part of the Boonton Line to the state for the construction of I80, the Cutoff's future as a freight route became nil. As far as passenger service goes, the M&E is already too congested for running expresses from, say, Port Morris to Hoboken, and Gateway is many years away, so direct service to NYC is not on the near horizon. I have not heard any talk of quadruple tracking of the M&E, which would be needed to allow Poconos commuters to arrive in NJ or NY with reasonable dispatch. Since the line runs through very built up areas, I imagine that widening the M&E would cost untold billions, not to mention NIMBY howls. Anyway, no one is even talking about it. Magnificent as the Cutoff is, I don't see that it has any future.

Roadgeek Adam
Posts: 1403
Joined: Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:01 am
Location: Somewhere in Western New York

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by Roadgeek Adam » Sun Dec 30, 2018 1:41 am

Honestly, I see value for through service to Blairstown, but it may have to come at the cost of some service via Hackettstown in order to make it work for congestion, cause I don't see 4-tracking any time soon on any of NJ Transit's lines, especially when they've built platforms that would basically eliminated it for high-level access.
...they are solid plastic, so don't settle for imitation.

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14124
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:06 am

Dcell wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Fortunately, I had the honor to ride this line during March 1960 in daylight aboard DLW #3, Phoebe Snow, and sitting in the obs. The memory remains fresh.
Wow, Gilbert. You must be 80 or so, not that it matters. Not many left who remember LD trains before Amtrak.
I'm 77, Mr. Dcell.

I never saw Tunkhannock by light of day even if I have been over it by night. Along about '64, I was going to take a joyride to ride then EL #2, Erie Limited/Phoebe Snow Binghamton to Hoboken. To get to Bingo, it was fly to KBGM on a Mohawk Martin 404.

But for whatever reason, Glenn's aircraft didn't feel like flying that day or at least when it was scheduled to do so. I should have scrubbed out (back then, you could have a refund on demand), but I didn't. On approach to KBGM Rwy 34. guess what I saw - smack on time Miss Phoebe heading Eastward!!!

So the "rest of the story" was on whoever the Trailways operator is up there, Route 17, and the PABT.

Finally, in which Cutoff video (there are several on YouTube) is the matter of this alleged "GM/Goodyear/National City conspiracy" against the Cutoff addressed? I've never been aware of such.

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14124
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:07 pm

Memories:

https://youtu.be/mkAJwrN24Uk" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Dcell
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:14 pm

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by Dcell » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:11 am

The congressman who supported the LC project is now out of office. I’m hearing the funds Rodney F had set aside for LC extension beyond Andover will instead be used for a light rail project on the west coast.

jrzwalker86
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 8:50 pm

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by jrzwalker86 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:09 pm

Hi Dcell,
I would tend to think that funding set to the side for a project is one that has already been approved and could not simply be stripped away for another project, especially in this case that the other project is out of the state of initial funding. Also, I would not believe that any representative, regardless of political party (newly elected or not), would allow funding to be stripped without a hard fight. Have you seen anything in writing on this?

User avatar
lensovet
Posts: 1075
Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2006 7:30 pm
Location: SF Bay Area, CA

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by lensovet » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:26 pm

Furthermore RF's replacement lives in Montclair and worked in NYC for 4 years. Democrats in general are usually in favor of transit expansion. I'm not sure why the money would suddenly be reallocated to a different project on a different coast.
Paul Borokhov

Last RRPicArch addition – NJ Railfan.

NJT RailCalifornia commuter (mod)

Dcell
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:14 pm

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by Dcell » Sun Jan 06, 2019 8:40 pm

lensovet wrote:Furthermore RF's replacement lives in Montclair and worked in NYC for 4 years. Democrats in general are usually in favor of transit expansion. I'm not sure why the money would suddenly be reallocated to a different project on a different coast.
Rodney had seniority, and the political power, to set money aside for the LC. Do you think the money will sit there forever, especially with the lack of process on the LC since work began in 2011? Spend it or lose it is how DC works.
The

jrzwalker86
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed May 12, 2010 8:50 pm

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by jrzwalker86 » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:51 am

Hi Dcell,
I would tend to think that if there was any threat by the Feds to remove funding, that even the governor would find a way to have had that culvert issue addressed much faster. Why NJ Transit had to even address that, given that it is upstream from the Andover station site and not on their property, is beyond me in the first place. Anyway, if you find any written information about the threat of funding loss, can you share? Thanks.

Dcell
Posts: 180
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:14 pm

Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by Dcell » Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:14 pm

Just heard that NJT will not meet its 2020 target date for starting service to/from Andover. The tunnel has some kind of issues.

Return to “New Jersey Transit NJT Rail and Light Rail LRT”