• 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.

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  by Pensyfan19
JoeG wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:10 pm Right now a bus to Dover sounds the most realistic.
If you think that having a bus from Dover to Scranton is the best idea, I highly suggest you view this.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source= ... ak6u4zEJLX

Also, why can't septa have a rail line running from Scranton to Phillipsburg or Andover and meet up with NJT there? (Yes. I already know that the state of PA might not want to pay for this, but it can be included in SEPTA's expansion plan. I can say how this can be done without the taxpayers paying for any kind of route near Scranton, but you can read my signature for that one.)
  by Gilbert B Norman
JoeG wrote: Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:03 pm Unfortunately the Cutoff is a nice piece of railroad whose usefulness has expired. You can learn all about it from Chuck Walsh's series of videos on YouTube, but the Cutoff has as much future in railroading as a revival of steam locomotives. Sad but true.
Extending great respect to a man I've met face to face, Mr. Grossman is on mark. The Cutoff's time as a useful transportation asset has expired.

Conrail quickly determined that whatever traffic they had that could not be routed over the NYC, could be done so over the "weary ERIE", where God made a ROW with the ruling grade of a river (same of course for the NYC). Nothing changed when the NYC and PRR each went back into business as competitors after the Conrail breakup.

"We" as a society have changed since the "housing bubble" and the following Great Recession. The Millennial generation, now or about to be in the workforce, prefers to reside in urban environments - even after starting families. Those who choose to leave for the "lawn to cut on Saturdays" do not want to be "fifty miles out". So the "liar loan Bubble" that Post-Recession could have pulled families to Sussex, as it did pull lower income families to Monroe (PA), is no longer there.

It's over, and so should be this Epic that I started sixteen years ago - with intent no further than an "asked and answered" five or so postings topic.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:37 am, edited 4 times in total.
  by photobug56
Driving I80 across Jersey can be a nightmare, and it doesn't get better when you hit the bridge across the Delaware. Or get on 80 through Eastern PA, or on 380, or 81. And I've memories of using buses, where the snow in the Poconos got bad enough you couldn't see the road. It is bad for an occasional trip, let alone commute daily. Plus the Lincoln Tunnel and helix backups, or the GW. Sooner or later even Jersey will understand they've got roads that can't support their traffic levels. And that it's a lot cheaper to restore or add rail capacity than keep widening highways.
  by njtmnrrbuff
I've been on 80 across New Jersey many times. I have even traveled on 80 heading to NEPA on shoulders of holiday weekend like Labor Day on buses. If Gateway was finished years ago, we would have had NJT rail service to at least the Stroudsburgs. Not only is 80 the issue when heading to Northeastern PA but your destination in the Poconos might not be close to 80. You may need to take back roads for several miles. For example, my family and I have family friends who have a second house in Lords Valley, PA, located in the Twp of Hawley, I think. Their second place is not that close to 80, although my family and I take 80 a good portion of the way to get there and then we get off around the Stroudsburgs and take a road called Route 400 something. At least the nice thing about where their house is for a railfan is that Pt. Jervis isn't terribly far away. In fact, if I ever visit our family friends on my own, then I might involve a train ride to Pt. Jervis.
  by joeycannoli
I reached out to NJT several months ago concerning the delays and pushed schedule for completing the Andover MOS. I thought I’d share their response below. I’m hopeful that the line will one day be fully restored.
Dear Mr. C,

Thank you for your email to Executive Director Kevin Corbett. I am answering on his behalf.

As you mentioned, the project has been beset by delays, including negotiations with the DEP over drainage conditions in a key environmental permit, and then with Hudson Farms over the culvert. In the meantime, the Roseville Tunnel further deteriorated. A recent inspection showed that the engineering means and methods for the tunnel rehabilitation portion of the project must be reviewed and updated to account for current conditions. That requires further work by the engineering consultant. Meanwhile, we are now able to work to get a designer on board for the culvert/drainage work.

The work on the new station itself won’t proceed until the tunnel starts. If the station were finished first, it would itself be subject to deterioration and vandalism while awaiting completion of the tunnel. So the two will be built simultaneously, to coordinate the construction finish times.

The general schedule, given all the above, is for design to be completed during 2020 to early 2021, with construction on both tunnel and station commencing shortly thereafter.

NJ TRANSIT recognizes the economic and other positive impacts of this, and our many other capital projects, for rail, for bus and for light rail services. NJ TRANSIT progresses all its projects as rapidly as responsible engineering and staff, financial and other resources allow. But I certainly understand your frustration. To add to your illustration, the original Turnpike was built in just two years, as was the original length of the Parkway (to about Paramus, Exit 165).

Thank you again for your interest and advocacy.

Paul Wyckoff
Chief of Government and External Affairs
Executive Director's Office
Last edited by joeycannoli on Tue Feb 25, 2020 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by joeycannoli
photobug56 wrote: Mon Feb 24, 2020 8:56 pm What was your question? About this one piece, or all the way?
Here is the email that I had sent to NJ Transit. This was after the news that the Andover segment wouldn't be ready until 2025. It mainly addresses the MOS as the other 22 miles beyond haven't been funded yet. There is another engineering study on the remaining section that is due out shortly according to Chuck. Full disclosure, I am a resident of Blairstown and would love for the station here to be rebuilt. It would do wonders for the town itself, which, at times, seems to be stuck in a time capsule. I understand that some on this forum will have their own opinions on the feasibility and the responsible spending of taxpayer dollars concerning the Cutoff. This is simply my opinion.
Dear NJT,

I wanted to take the time as a concerned NJ resident to express my frustration over the recent announcement by NJ transit that service to Andover on the Lackawanna MOS is expected begin in 2025. As you know, after a long preservation effort to restore the cutoff, the State of New Jersey re-acquired the right of way back in 2001. The next couple of years focused on the environmental assessments, general planning and funding strategies to restore the line back to its former state. Laying of track finally began back in 2011, nearly 7 years ago to complete the 7.3 mile MOS to Andover as part of Phase 1. Work progressed quickly with the clearing and laying of about 4 miles of track until the project was stalled as a result of the culvert issue over at Hudson Farms. That issue has since been rectified, although taking a mind-boggling 4 years to navigate. Now, with light at the end of the tunnel, the hardworking residents and advocates of Northern NJ have been slapped in the face with a projected service date 6 years from today. 6 YEARS! To give you a little bit of perspective, the entire Lackawanna Cutoff of 28 miles was built a century ago in a total of 3 years. At the time it was one of the biggest engineering marvels in the world with the right-of-ways vast fills, cuts, viaducts and the Roseville tunnel. The reality that we are being told it will take 6 more years to complete only 3 miles of track, a station, and the restoration of the tunnel is absurd.

As a taxpayer and resident of NJ this is absolutely unacceptable. Northwest NJ is in desperate need of additional commuting options. Route 80 continues to increase in terms of congestion every year and the commuting hours are progressively expanding. The increased number of cars traveling on the highway only contributes to more construction and repairs that burned the taxpayers. The restoration of the Lackawanna Cutoff will help reduce the burden of our highways an offer an alternative to residents. Not only does this help from a commuting standpoint, but the rail line will bring much needed economic support to Northwest NJ. Warren and Sussex County are failing to grow and the impacts can be seen all around the area. School enrollments decreasing, businesses closing up shop, homes falling to foreclosure – the list is long because many are moving out of these counties and the area fails to attract new residents. The Cutoff is an incredible opportunity to spark a revitalizing to the suffering region. It incentivizes commuters and families to move further away from the city by offering easy and convenient access to the workplace. Increased population will then have a positive economic impact to the area. Northwest NJ has a lot to offer, not only to the residents but also as an untapped tourism market. The potential for the area is endless, but this piece of infrastructure is a vital piece to the puzzle.

As a representative of the State of New Jersey and the voice for our counties in Northwest NJ it is imperative that you fight for us and help bring the much needed rail service to Sussex and Warren counties as quickly as possible. Many residents, including myself, believe in you as our leader and voted for you because we knew that you have always put the interest of your constituents first. It is time to put this area of NJ on the map and allow it to progress to success like many other counties in NJ. The Lackawanna Cutoff can and will help us achieve that, but only with you help in seeing that is gets done. I appreciate your time in reading this letter and I hope that my concern, along with that of others, will help gain moment for this critical project.
  by EuroStar
The best use of the Cutoff is its current use: a right of way preserved for possible use in the future. NJ really has no business paying for rail to be restored in places where the NJ population is minimal and our political system guarantees that PA will never pay for miles and miles of rail to be rebuilt out of state. The only possible funder for this project is the Federal Government, but as we all know right now they are not really keen on funding anything in the northeast. As for anyone who actually hopes to see trains on the cutoff one day, the best thing to do is to hope that the tunnel does not collapse in the meanwhile as the chance of any restoration if a new tunnel needs to be built is nil.
  by photobug56
NJT has a huge interest in the project. It's all about messed up traffic and air pollution. And of course, PA needs to pay for its portion of the costs. They have shown interest for the same reasons, though of course no one knows for sure what they will do. But the current need is immense. Plus the local rail authorities that the line runs through in PA know they have to help as well.
  by DutchRailnut
Dude you keep humping wrong leg, we want this as much as any rail buff. Pennsylvania just does not agree and has not allocated any money.
  by Backshophoss
The given is I-80 cannot be expanded in the valley to the bridge/state line on the Pa side I-80 is in a "trench" out of the valley.
After the I380 jct,you are mountain crawling all the way to Scranton on I-380,all the way to the Oh state line on I-80. :( :(
  by photobug56
Agreed, 80 just inside Joisey has no room to be widened, and then again, there's that bridge. And building a 2nd bridge next to it would be awfully expensive.

Sooner or later PA has to act on the air pollution and congestion, and rail is easily the best and least expensive choice.
  by njtmnrrbuff
For the most part, 80 doesn't have room to be widened at all. One stretch that is no exception is going through the Delaware Water Gap. PennDot is having a lot of financial issues with its transportation budget just like NJT is. PennDot would have to approve of any passenger rail service west of the Delaware River. For rail service to run into Pennsylvania, there must be capacity improvements on the existing NJT route. First, the Gateway Tunnel Project must be completed. Along the M&E, it should be three tracks through Harrison and across the Passaic River Bridge into NWK Broad Street. Presently, so many NJT trains use that stretch of the M&E making that a bottleneck. It would be great to have the M&E triple track to Summit but I think back in the day, the original Lackawanna M&E route was always two tracks west of Millburn in many spots. It would be nice for NJT to, if they can't get the third track extended all the way to Summit, extend the third track from Millburn Interlocking to just west of the Millburn Station so that way, there are three tracks at Millburn and one train can overtake another one there. I would also seriously considering adding high level platforms at Millburn Station since it sees very high ridership and it's not on a curve. As for the number of stops on these trains to PA, super express on the M&E is the answer. Maybe after Newark Broad Street, make a few stops up until Summit-Brick Church, South Orange, and Millburn. After Summit, maybe stop at Morristown, and then Denville and Dover. After Dover, make all of the stops on the schedule. Do not make the trains to NEPA all stops locals on the M&E. The ride will take way too long.
  by joeycannoli
I just took a ride through memory lane to read some of the comments a good 100 pages or so back on this thread. It's really sad and frustrating that its now 2020 and we are no closer to getting Andover then we were 8 years ago.
  by Jeff Smith
ADMIN: I know it's somewhat relevant as it's comparative, but let's keep it less about 80 and more about the Cutoff.
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