• Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

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

Moderators: lensovet, nick11a, Kaback9

  by NY&LB
GBN gave you the answer:
Through Pullman sleeping car via DL&W>Michigan Central (at Buffalo)
DL&W #5 The Chicago Limited > Michigan Central #17
Departed Scranton at 8 PM arrived Buffalo at 2:05 AM
Pullman car cut and switched to Michigan Central #17
Departed Buffalo at 2:48 AM Arrived Detroit at 7:15 AM
Imagine that! They could switch cars in 43 Min., I don't think AMTRAK can do an engine change at WUS in that time!
There were also at least three connections at Buffalo (change trains) to get one from Scranton to Detroit on the DL&W "back in the day".
  by photobug56
Neat. Nice to finally understand this. The willingness of 2 railroads to work together along with Pullman gave passengers options they would not have had otherwise. And timed for when most passengers would be asleep. I'd guess that the crews aimed to make the switching as smooth as possible - without walkie talkies or other modern aids. And with a trip that for passengers was far easier than driving to the airport (in Scranton for my father a much longer drive than the Lackawanna RR parking lot), waiting, finally flying to some city for a transfer to a plane to Detroit (Scranton did not have very good air service, back then probably DC3's), than a taxi to a hotel in Detroit. I'd have to guess that my father used what you described because I know he was on a sleeper.


As to engine changes, I've watched steam engine changes and moves, and also electric to / from diesel that only took a few minutes.
  by NY&LB
Glad to have added some value!
As to engine changes, I experienced it many times in South Amboy in less than 4 minutes and that was GG1 to E units with steam heating lines. I believe the work rules make that no longer possible today.
  by photobug56
The steam lines would scare me. But even with proper safety standards it often takes way too long on some railroads today.

Many years ago I wanted to avoid that on a trip from NYP to Massachusetts - I was able to go on a Turboliner. My first exposure to dual modes, and only round trip on a gas turbine powered train. I know they had issues, but they were still amazing. The 'motors' - the turbines, as I recall, would fit into a trunk. Oh, and a 2nd leg of the trip was in Budd cars to Springfield.
  by ExCon90
It's also worth noting that the 2:05-2:48 transfer must have required moving the car from the DL&W station -- I'm guessing it was on the rear of the train out of Hoboken -- to the New York Central's Central Terminal. I'm having trouble figuring out the exact route of that movement (43 minutes!), night after night through typical Buffalo winters to a terminal already busy transferring sleepers from New York and Boston destined to Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Detroit, Toronto, and other places -- and of course in the reverse direction as well. (I suppose there would have been enough heat in the car to hold out during the transfer.)
  by photobug56
Amazing that the process worked. My dad was an engineer (not railroad) - and an efficiency expert, and if they were not getting it right he'd likely have had something to say about it!

I didn't realize that they had to move that Pullman from one terminal or station to another. What sort of locomotive would they have used? Maybe it had HEP and even a steam generator.

Back then, my father was designing, building and selling trailers for hauling cars from the factories to dealerships - and his trailers were a huge improvement over what was then available. Plus he and family had a separate firm for actually hauling cars. I know he did business with Chrysler and AMC, not sure what if any others. Oddly, in 1955, he bought a new Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe Victoria Convertible and drove the car home himself from the factory.
  by Gilbert B Norman
photobug56 wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 12:29 am I didn't realize that they had to move that Pullman from one terminal or station to another. What sort of locomotive would they have used? Maybe it had HEP and even a steam generator.
Mr. Bug, ring up Mr. Google's map and note the short distance from Lackawanna Terminal, now a mass transit center (they tried to chop it down, but it had other ideas), to the existing Exchange Place station. I can't be sure, but I would guess that was where the Pullman was interchanged to the MC. I can't imagine they hauled it out to Central.

Lest we forget, before it was paved over with an Interstate, there were many facilities at Exchange Place, and likely that included a third trick yard crew as well as same for the DL&W.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Fri Apr 29, 2022 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by ExCon90
No HEP in those days; for lighting and AC each car had batteries which were charged by a generator driven off an axle whenever the car was moving faster than 15 mph -- critical point there, since if the car remained standing or moving at restricted speed for any significant time, when the battery died so did the AC. For heat, every car was utterly dependent on steam from an outside source, either the train engine or a "landline" at a station to accommodate setout sleepers*. I believe -- somebody jump in here if this isn't right-- switching in stations was done "without air"; i.e., using just the independent brake on the engine.

An interesting point regarding the automobile trailers you mention: for a while the EL, successor to the DL&W, used two such trailers on Trailer Train (TTX) flat cars in a pioneering predecessor to today's auto racks. Or maybe it was the DL&W; I forget what year I saw them.

* In Europe, sleeping cars of the Wagons-Lits company built as late as 1930 had a coal stove at one end to provide heat and hot water; those cars went everywhere, and they were taking no chances. I don't think that was the practice in the US in -- and certainly not on -- the 20th Century.
  by photobug56
All interesting.

In regards to car hauling, auto racks likely have very different needs than truck hauled trailers, but both were engineering challenges. On trains, having to be part of a train - the strength to be pulled or pushed within a train, plus likely keeping what's inside out of site and vandalism resistant for when they sit on sidings or yards. Loading and unloading would also be a challenge. Back in the early 1950's, trailers for hauling cars were heavy, slab sided units, only able to carry a few bloated cars before exceeding local weight limits. My father's design was based on his aeronautical engineering training and work - light frameworks. Steel piping, filled with oil to prevent internal rust. The sections on which cars were rolled on or off and rested during transit were meant to be perfectly balanced - move the car back or forth a little, and did NOT need hydraulics. On one of the first runs, with a full, large load, my father in the cab, the tractor + trailer went into a weight station, where the cop in charge was very disappointed to not be able to issue a fine. Of course, another advantage was that less fuel was needed. At any rate, what you see on the road today carrying cars to dealers is derived from his work in the 1950's. The car hauling firm brought back cars from Kenosha, Detroit and Port of Newark to places including Northeast PA.
  by photobug56
To the cutoff, no. It just led into this brief side journey. Lackawanna RR (in its various entities) was a huge thing in many ways for many of us, not just the Cutoff. What we might think of as a 'small regional' was far more than that. Commuter railroad, long distance passenger railroad, freight railroad with some great engineering. Part of why some amazing things went on in Scranton history.

Of course, restoring the Cutoff can benefit a chunk of NJ along with NE PA, tourism and commuters. Now I don't know if any of my family traveled from Scranton to NYC / Hoboken by train, though given how awful the roads were pre interstate, wouldn't surprise me. And I'm as interested in the history as I am in the practical applications. But my apologies for the sidetracking.
  by lensovet
photobug56 wrote: Fri Apr 29, 2022 3:06 am Lackawanna RR (in its various entities) was a huge thing in many ways for many of us, not just the Cutoff..
We’ve got a whole dedicated forum for it! https://railroad.net/dl-amp-w-erie-and- ... a-f85.html
  by lensovet
Tom V wrote: Wed Apr 13, 2022 5:08 pm NJ Transit awards contract for construction of Lackawanna Cut-off from Port Morris to Andover.

https://www.nj.com/traffic/2022/04/nj-t ... on-pa.html
As a side note, here's NJT's official press release about this: https://www.njtransit.com/press-release ... sex-county
  by Gilbert B Norman
So let's see: 5863 posts 18 years. That's 326 a year.

Expected completion of the project 2026 or 4 more years. So at that rate, there are 1303 more posts until the "pols are cutting ribbons".

All told 7166 posts. Safe assumption, this topic will be "The Champ" around here.
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