EL The Pride of the Lackawanna - 1950

rhensley_anderson Mar 10, 2019

  1. rhensley_anderson

    rhensley_anderson TrainBoard Supporter

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    This 1950s photo by Homer Hill was privately published as a postcard. The 'Phoebe Snow' is shown passing through Morristown, NJ...what a classic view of this classic train!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    I recall a long-ago trip to visit relatives in northeastern PA and going for a car ride with an older cousin, who had recently obtained his driver's license, to the Scranton station. We spent a few hours there, on what was likely a Saturday afternoon, during which time both the east and westbound Phoebe Snows made their station stops. Back then, who would have ever guessed that the observation cars would survive decades later to serve as business cars for the Metro-North commuter railroad.
    http://ktransit.com/transit/NAmerica/usnymetro/newyork/metronorth/Photos/nyc-cr-GCT-171204-16.jpg
     
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  3. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    It's an interesting trainset. Those cars are unlike any other Budd cars I've seen.
     
  4. jtomstarr

    jtomstarr TrainBoard Member

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    I seem to recall that trains magazine did a feature on ERIE LACKAWANNA -what’s left!- Not sure what issues however I know it was in the 1980’s!

    Tom
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Sadly, the DL&W's superbly engineered cutoff across NJ is gone west of Port Morris, NJ, with rails lifted about 1984 I think. CR rejected the route because there's no industry on it. I took this (low-rez scan) 35mm slide of GD Tower at Greendel, NJ on 07/18/85.

    1985-07-18 Greendell NJ Tower.jpg
     
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  6. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    It is tragic how many routes that were abandoned and pulled during the pre-Staggers Act period of the 60s and 70s that now are desperately regretted, especially by the regional companies that started in the 80s. Ah Well, hindsight is 20/20....Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda. :rolleyes:
     
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  7. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    There's no industry on the Frisco's old branch east from Tulsa through Enid, OK either. But thanks to the fact that it got extended to Avard and a junction with the Santa Fe, one of the hottest trains in the country runs on it.

    It's part of the fastest route from Long Beach to Atlanta.
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wasn't this line considered at one time, to be rebuilt?
     
  9. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    For railfans railroads are lines on a map and 'pretty' locomotives and cars.

    For the railroads themselves, they are a business - a business that requires customers paying currency of the realm to move product and/or people in sufficient quantities to pay for everything it takes to maintain the lines on the map and all the 'pretty' locomotives and cars. If the lines on the map can't generate sufficient revenue to pay for their continued existence the principles of successful business decree eliminating the cash drain on the operation.

    A railroad's purpose is earn a profit on the services they provide. Keeping unprofitable line in business does not comply with the investors wishes for a return on their investment.
     
  10. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, you're correct. Housing prices in the NJ metro area have become so expensive that home buyers are forced to move further and further away from their jobs in the New York City metro area. This line is well paced to provide relief. Maybe someday the DL&W's Cutoff will rise again. The last I read, the plan is to rebuild the line in segments.

    Fun Fact: In engineering the Cutoff, the DL&W provided for a double track Lehigh & Hudson River main near Huntsville, NJ. You can see the result, with a diminutive DL&W train looking down from above. Business was booming on both roads and the L&HR was studying double track. Alas, the L&HR later determined that their area plant was sufficient, but the double tack bore remained as a testament to what might have been.

    This spot is silent today, with the rails of both roads gone.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2019
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  11. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    When last we looked into this subject, the project was being held up by environmentalists.
    https://www.trainboard.com/highball/index.php?threads/port-morris-nj-tower.93067/#post-971840
    Supposedly that issue has been resolved.

    The next hold up was the need to replace an underground drain pipe and associated culvert near the line.
    However, part of the pipe ran under private farmland and the landowner was unwilling to allow the work to be performed.
    https://www.njherald.com/20180410/lackawanna-cutoff-project-may-finally-be-back-on-track#
    Apparently "compensation" on the order of $100K has induced the property owner to relent so that the work can proceed.
    Present estimate for restoration of service on a 7-mile extension west of Port Morris is sometime in 2021.
     
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  12. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for the update Point353. It's been 35 years since I moved from NJ and I lost touch with things there. I did read today that tree and brush removal are forbidden from April 1 to October 31 due to the mating season of the Indiana bat. I'll bet the 7 Mile rehab project will have cost far more then the entire Cutoff. o_O
     
  13. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

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    The use of federal funding carries all sorts of strings with it.

    All the more remarkable since most of the "heavy lifting" to construct the right-of-way - earth moving, tunneling and bridge building - was done a hundred years ago.
     
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  14. acptulsa

    acptulsa TrainBoard Member

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    A hundred years ago, a dollar was a dollar.

    Now it's worth three cents.
     
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  15. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    I agree fully. However the Lackawanna also served as a bridge line where point to point schedules were crucial. One example where a line was constructed that served no customers was the New York Central's Castleton Cutoff across the Hudson allowing the Hudson Division and the B&A access to Selkirk yard without routing through Albany.
     
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  16. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    The 'plant rationalization' that all the carriers undertook after the enactment of the Staggers Act in 1980 - most carriers applied the test that if the line segment did not contain enough 'on line' customers and business to support it's continued existence it was gone. Lines that served no customers were the first and easiest to be eliminated.
     
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  17. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    A postcard from a more pleasant era on the DL&W. Note typical DL&W lower quadrant semaphore.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I'm reading Brian Solomon's excellent book Classic Railroad Signals and find that in 1914, the L&HR was handling an average of 42 trains per day, with up to 53 at peak times. All of this on a railroad of only about 100 miles in length. Astounding. Today, former L&HR rails are gone below Sparta Jct.. The NYS&W operates north of there.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    How were they doing, prior to that sad bridge fire?
     
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  20. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    The PC's acquisition of the NYNH&H in 1969 brought decline to the L&HR, as the big road's tentacles allowed it to divert a significant portion of L&HR's vital Maybrook traffic away on a PC single-line routing. Despite PC gaining more revenue, it's written that the PC netted less than before because its route was circuitous and its costs were higher. As the PC continued to unravel, it suspended payments to other roads. This created great difficulty within the northeast and the situation was especially acute for a small road like the L&HR and in 1972 bankruptcy was declared. Two years later in '74 the Poughkeepsie Bridge burned, eliminating what remained of Maybrook interchange traffic and the L&HR's situation became hopeless. It managed to earn some revenue by continuing to haul zinc ore from an on-line mine in NJ and handling cars for other local customers before limping into CR.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019

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