• Route of Phoebe Snow Hoboken-Chicago

  • Discussion relating to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, and the resulting 1960 merger creating the Erie Lackawanna. Visit the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society at http://www.erielackhs.org/.
Discussion relating to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, the Erie, and the resulting 1960 merger creating the Erie Lackawanna. Visit the Erie Lackawanna Historical Society at http://www.erielackhs.org/.

Moderator: blockline4180

  by NJTRailfan
So aside from the cutoff being a must to restore and Dearborne no longer in passenger operations what other areas on that route is no longer in service? I did hear a few spots in Ohio and Indiana the tracks have been taken out and the ROW was bulldozed to make way for home and commercial space.

  by johnpbarlow
The DL&W never ran west of Buffalo, NY. It was the Erie Lackawanna ex-Erie route that ran through Ohio, Indiana, to Chicago. Missing sections of DL&W mainline include Vestal, NY to at least Elmira, NY (much of the DL&W RoW is Rte 17 now). I'm not sure how much DL&W track remains between Elmira and Painted Post, where Bath & Hammondsport Rail (ie, LA&L) begins operation to Wayland, NY. And then lastly there is some still in use track in the Depew, NY area.
  by dellacwes
There is also a stretch of track left between Groveland and Greigsville, NY. The Genesee & Wyoming uses the track between Mt. Morris to Greigsville to haul salt out of the mine outside of Mt. Morris. The track between Mt. Moris and Groveland is in place, but I don't believe it is in use.

  by Tri-State Tom
I can't recall the exact location but when traveling west/north on Rt. 17 between Anolomink and Elmira, I recently got a fleeting glance down at a road that now passes under 17.

What was facinating was the clear remnants of a large white painted X with smaller RR letters flanking it in the pavement !!!

Obviously, this road - in pre-Rt. 17 days - crossed the DL&W ROW at grade.

By chance can anyone in that general area possibly identify this roadway ?

  by joshuahouse
There is a small section still used in Big Flats NY to access a grain elevator of some sort. I think the elevator has closed in the past few years tho (certainly nothing is ever going on there) so who knows if this will be ripped up.
  by Dieter
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.


  by JoeG
The Lackawanna never owned a dome.
In later years at least, sleeper service west of Buffalo was provided by the Nickel Plate.

  by Cactus Jack
The DL&W "side" was rebuilt after Hurricane Diane August / September 1955 and I think resumed full service on all routings by mid October if not earlier doing away with numerous detours over NYC / LV.

Therefore the DL&W Route was in at merger time with the Erie and the Scranton side was in place and used into Conrail who broke it up and sold of the Cut-Off severing the route. The west end was in place until about 1964...forget the exact date when it was severed for some reason I am still not sure about between Wayland and Groveland. Other parts of the main were taken out between 1959 and the mid-60's between Binghamton and Gibson (Corning) and still later after Conrail started a large part of the west end was removed eastward from North Alexander area (Erie Branch) to the G&W connection west of Leicester at Greigsville.

In later days through Passenger service was performed by NKP out of Buffalo Terminal to Chicago

  by rls62
The last train ran on the DLW between Wayland and Groveland on Dec. 4, 1963. I read an excellent book titled "Railroads in and Around Dansville", which goes into great detail about the DL&W, PS&N and the D&MM. I don't recall the author's name but the book is available in the Monroe County Public Library system.
I agree that the view from the DL&W cut above Dansville is spectacular. About 15 years ago I was hiking along there and met a man who told me he used to be an engineer on that line. He was probably in his 60's at the time.
  by eddiebear
One of the points of the Erie-DLW merger was to utilize the Erie's more favorable profile for freight traffic. The Erie does have some grades but the DLW's were worse. When no action was forthcoming in Albany regarding repeal of New York's full crew law, a lot of through freight was routed via the DLW for some time in the 60s.
Another point used in the meger talks - remember this is the 1950s - was that the DLW route served a much larger population, had a shorter route and a Buffalo terminal (Erie quit Buffalo passenger service about 1949-1950) and this would be the chosen passenger route.

  by pdman
And, Train 5, the Twilight (left Hoboken just before evening rush hour) had a sleeper that went on to Detroit (NYC across Southern Ontario).

In the 50s the Phoebe Snow (#3) had a sleeper that went on to Chicago on the Nickle Plate night train from Buffalo. This sleeper was taken off at about 1950. The Westerner (#7, left Hoboken at about 7:30 pm) had a sleeper that went on to Chicago from Buffalo on the Nickle Plate's day train. This sleeper lasted up to the end of the Westerner.

The Westerner was one of the most profitable through trains. It had mail and a lot of business passengers. It often had an A-B-A E8 make-up, four or five head end cars, five or six coaches, a diner, and a Hoboken-Buffalo DL&W sleeper as well as a stainless Nickle Plate Chicago sleeper. Prior to about 1958 it also had a Hoboken-Syracuse sleeper.

From 1959 to early 1961 I rode the head end from Hoboken to Scranton on Friday nights about every two or three weeks. It sprinted up the mountain from Stroudsburg, only limited by the two 35 mph curves on the way to Mount Pocono.