You're right, that the Erie-Lackawanna used the ERIE for service into Chicago past Buffalo.
DL&W, "The Lackawanna Railroad" ran The Phoebe Snow only between Hoboken and Buffalo, and I believe it was a DAY TRAIN. Through sleeper service to Chicago was available on The Twilight Limited and Lackawanna Limited.
Here's some Lackawanna Trivia you should know. What railroad was used west of Buffalo for through sleeper service to Chicago by The Lackawanna??
Scroll Down For The Answer...
As for places without tracks.... It would be nifty if the tracks were replaced between Wayland and Mt. Morris. This would include retracking along the spectacular rock cut in the hillside above Dansville. It would also move salt from the new mine that replaced Retsof west instead of east down the B&H to the Erie Southern Tier Line (NS). I bet that mile for mile, a realignment of traffic off the old Erie to the DL&W route would yield more local customers as well. I realize that it was a hurricane that washed out and finished the Lackawanna line in what was it, 1954? Still, even with a merger, it was silly to take a slower line that bypassed places like Scranton/Wilkes Barre, to snake alongside the Delaware River.
In this day and age, I'm sure that the Lackawanna would better serve the communities it used to, rather than the circuitous and slow route of the Erie through the Southern Tier. As for passenger traffic, it might even be able to support one train a day in each direction.
Did the Lackawanna ever have a dome? I don't think so, but I'm not sure.
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