Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

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

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Post by cjvrr » Tue Oct 19, 2004 8:26 am

NJTRailfan wrote:The news of Frank Reilly retiring literally knocked me over. Was it because of the red tape regarding the cutoff that he decided to call it quits?
No, as Lackawanna noted, Morris County offered a nice early retirement deal. He decided to take it, as did many others. He is still working on the Cutoff project for Morris County, albeit part time as a Consultant.

I was invited to, but could not attend his retirement party held last week. From what I hear it was a very nice evening complete with a power point show focused on Frank's involvement with railroads.

Chris, noting that I needed 19 more years of service to have taken the early retirement deal.
CV the Civil E


Post by Lackawanna484 » Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:40 pm

NJ Transit says the environmental assessment for the NJ side of the Cut-Off project should be completed "in the Fall of 2004."

Anybody have an idea about how that's coming along? I'm assuming the various engineering trucks spotted along the proposed right of way, may have been part of this and the engineering planning.

Irish Chieftain

Post by Irish Chieftain » Sun Oct 31, 2004 9:19 pm

We've only got about 1½ more months of "fall" now. McGreevey has made no moves to put forth capital funding for the Cutoff, though. At least the TEA-21 is still in extension mode...

Ken W2KB
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Post by Ken W2KB » Mon Nov 01, 2004 10:57 am

The Cutoff, particularly at the Gap, is a really nice environment: :wink:

~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

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Post by Jtgshu » Mon Nov 01, 2004 11:00 am

wow, what a beautiful picture!!!!
On the RR, "believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see"
John, aka "JTGSHU" passed away on August 26, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion to railroading at


Post by Lackawanna484 » Mon Nov 01, 2004 1:51 pm

Thanks for posting the picture, Ken. That's a great shot.

There's a large field on the Pennsy side, up on the hill, just south of the bridge. Highway 611 and the DL&W Old Road are between it and the river. Just south is the point where the Lehigh & Hudson River crossed the Delaware and headed NE to Hainesville (Hainesburg?) for its joint trackage with the NYS&W to Swartswood. That connection is just west of the easternmost portal of the Paulinskill viaduct, just out of view to the center right.

The NYS&W/ Wilkes Barre & Eastern continued west from Paulinskill on the roadbed of what is now I-80 (right side of the river in your picture) and crossed the Delaware on its own bridge just upriver from the I-80 bridge.

Ken W2KB
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Post by Ken W2KB » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:08 am

Thanks, after that photo was taken, we went north a few miles and turned around and came back directly over the gap. Turned east and went by the Paulingskill viaduct on the way back to the airport (Central Jersey Regional near Manville, NJ) but the viaduct was in deep shade and on my side of the plane. Didn't really have time to circle to position for a photo of that. Some other time in the area will try. Actually, with the during the winter may be able to see some of the rights of way there.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

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Post by thebigc » Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:51 am

Lackawanna484 wrote: Just south is the point where the Lehigh & Hudson River crossed the Delaware and headed NE to Hainesville (Hainesburg?) for its joint trackage with the NYS&W to Swartswood.
You meant Lehigh & New England, I think. The L&HR crossed the Delaware in Easton.


Post by Lackawanna484 » Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:32 pm

Yup. You're right.


Post by Lackawanna484 » Sat Nov 20, 2004 1:06 pm

The National Park Service has a nice mile-by-mile listing of the sites and history for the DL&W between Slateford and Scranton. This was used for the 2003 excursion runs.

The "ten miles of four track" line surprised me. Even in the Slateford area, it was a max of three. There were three tracks at Stroud, widening to four at Gravel Place, narrowing to two going up to Toby


Post by Lackawanna484 » Sat Nov 20, 2004 1:33 pm

The "Pocono Commuter" bulletin board has an ongoing discussion about the possibility of service ever reaching the Poconos. Based on my visit, it looks like the locals are adjusting to "maybe in 2010" up from "definitely in 2005" which had been the case.

There's a good summary of the last 18 months, three items of which jumped out:
  1. The Delaware River Bridge Authority (Portland bridge, I-80 bridge) is looking at how rail service would affect their development plans. NJ would be interested in the DRBA providing some money for the project. Pennsy isn't excited about that. DRBA may take over rebuilding of the DL&W bridge, and its approaches.
  2. The Fed pols forced the Lackawanna County Rail Commissioners to resign as a condition for continued Federal investment in the Pocono rail project. Specter is, and has been, a supporter.
  3. One project manager close to the project pointed out NJT doesn't have capacity into NYP, even on current trains. Adding five trains worth of pax won't happen until the new tunnels are in.
There's also a lot of scepticism as the "90 minutes to NY Penn" promise is closely examined. It's already 90 minutes from Netcong, so another 50 miles has to take some time additional, even if they drop lots of stations.

Kanjorski, who's put a lot of the Federal money into the deal, is now talking about 30 miles of new, high speed, 150 mph service on the Pennsy side. He seems to have concerns that the current line can't be updated for 79 mph service.... ... FORUM_ID=3

If you go to the forum, there's a commuter section, then Train Issues

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Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Nov 28, 2004 1:40 pm

It's not going to be 90 minutes to new York from anywhere is Pennsy. I mean, like the fastest Midtown direct from Dover takes anywhere from a hr and ten minutes to an hour and a quarter.

Irish Chieftain

Post by Irish Chieftain » Sun Nov 28, 2004 1:59 pm

If nobody in DC could get a proper HSR upgrade for the NEC, then no representative from Mount Pocono is going to get a "Shinkansen/LGV"-type RR alignment for Monroe, Wayne and Lackawanna Counties, bottom line. Utterly unrealistic—and underpinning that is the continued fantasy that train service will serve NY Penn instead of Hoboken. (Never mind the new high-speed ROW, where are you going to get the signaling and the high-speed trains?? NJT stock is for 100 mph max, while any non-Acela Amtrak is good for 125 mph max with electric loco and 110 mph max with diesel.)


Post by JoeG » Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:44 pm

Port Jervis-Hoboken trains that run express from Suffern to Hoboken take about 2 hr 10 minute. Locals are slower by about half an hour. That's probably about as long a commute as folks will tolerate. In Lackawanna days, the fastest train took about 2 and a half hours from Hoboken to Pocono Summit. Those Lackawanna trains could have been run faster, and they had to deal with checked baggage, so 2 hr 15 minutes might be possible. But NJT runs all its trains on Lackawanna lines slower than the Lackawanna did. So, the realistic fastest time I can see from Pocono Summit to Hoboken is 3 hours. Passengers who wanted to go to NYP would change at Secaucus, which would add a few minutes to the trip. Direct service to NYP would of course require the new tunnel under the Hudson, plus NJT getting dual mode power, which so far it has refused to consider. (On the other hand, NJT seems to be promising one-seat NY rides to riders on the Erie lines, so maybe they are now considering dual-modes--or maybe it's just magical thinking.) I have seen proposals that Amtrak run this service. That isn't likely, but even if it happened, the train would have to run over the M&E, which NJT runs (slowly).
The bottom line is, a long, 3 hour commute to NY from the Poconos. That's not very appealing. But, jobs in Morris County might be reachable by this service, which might have more practical appeal.

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Post by nick11a » Sun Nov 28, 2004 9:45 pm

Wait, Pocono trains wouldn't go to Secaucus (unless they were direct into NYP?) Right?

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