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Scranton Times-Tribune: Amtrak proposes adding passenger train route to Scranton

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neroden

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Essentially what needs to happen is enough of a grassroots movement, in PA, NY, and NJ, to convince the PA state government to back this. The Northeastern PA counties are all for it, own the tracks within Pennsylvania, and are backing it. NJT is not opposed but is not willing to put the money in because it mostly benefits PA. PA state government has been resistant to funding in the past.
 

MARC Rider

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Essentially what needs to happen is enough of a grassroots movement, in PA, NY, and NJ, to convince the PA state government to back this. The Northeastern PA counties are all for it, own the tracks within Pennsylvania, and are backing it. NJT is not opposed but is not willing to put the money in because it mostly benefits PA. PA state government has been resistant to funding in the past.
Another reason why the 750 mile rule needs to go.
 

Willbridge

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Not at all. This should be a state funded train, not federal funds. NJ and Pennsylvania can work together if they want to.
It should be a state-funded train, set up jointly just as Oregon and Washington do. HOWEVER, there should be a Federal match in recognition of its contribution to interstate commerce and its contribution to the revenues of connecting trains. Congress repeatedly chiseled away at that until they reached the 100% state funding requirement.
 

crescent-zephyr

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It should be a state-funded train, set up jointly just as Oregon and Washington do. HOWEVER, there should be a Federal match in recognition of its contribution to interstate commerce and its contribution to the revenues of connecting trains. Congress repeatedly chiseled away at that until they reached the 100% state funding requirement.
Yes I worded that wrong. I’m fine with federal funds helping to pay for rail transit within one state or region, but it shouldn’t come from the national network fund.
 

dlagrua

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While the former Lackawanna line is being rehabbed to a point, NJT seems disinterested in laying the final 21 miles of track necessary to reach the Paulinskill viaduct to PA. The ROW is still open but to get tracks laid in NJ is a big issue. How does Amtrak propose to get this project going?
 

railiner

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I have my doubts about restoring service to Scranton from New York...
Even when the Lackawanna was at its peak, the journey time from that era, could never come close to today's driving time. If it came close, it might be viable, but it just takes too long to attract enough rider's to make it...

If NJT wanted to expand, perhaps they should take another try at expanding their Raritan Line to Phillipsburg, and Easton...
 

MARC Rider

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I have my doubts about restoring service to Scranton from New York...
Even when the Lackawanna was at its peak, the journey time from that era, could never come close to today's driving time. If it came close, it might be viable, but it just takes too long to attract enough rider's to make it...
What about the NJT/Metro-North Line to Port Jervis? I imagine that without traffic it's much faster to drive, especially considering that you have to transfer to PATH just to get into New York City, yet the service appears to be sustainable. I would think that traffic into New York is so bad that the "slower" train won't really be that slower, and people will patronize it just to avoid having to deal with a car in Manhattan. It also boggles my mind that parts of the Poconos are included in the New York Metropolitan Statistical Area.
 

jis

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How long it takes to get from the Poconos to or the Water Gap to NY by car also depends on the traffic state of I-80. Having done that a few times, often it is not really a pretty site. Incidentally, transferring to NEC to Penn Station at Secaucus Jct. cuts out a good ten or 15 minutes from the journey time to Midtown and even Uptown or Queens, if a good connecting train is found.

The problem with Phillipsburg is that NJT no longer has access to Phillipsburg using trackage it owns. It has to use NS owned (ex-LV) trackage between Alpha and Phillipsburg, since the ex-CNJ NJT owned trackage was abandoned and its ROW used for I-78 in that area. And NS has not been particularly cooperative. Together with NJT's claim that there are relatively few passengers to be had, I don't think it will happen any time soon.

I suspect West Trenton might happen before Phillipsburg, among the possible extensions from the RVL. Also Phillipsburg, if and when it happens, may actually happen as an extension from Hackettstown over tracks of the Washington Secondary that exist in relatively good shape and in regular use by NS/Conrail Shared Asset, rather than from High Bridge, which will essentially require rebuilding a lot of trackage.
 

bms

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I believe service from Pottsville-Reading-Philadelphia would be a much better investment for the State, as it would probably both cost less and have more demand than Scranton-East Stroudsburg-NYC. The stations, commuter demand, and tracks are already there. I think the local transit agencies already own stations in Pottsville and Reading. A third track would probably have to be added which wouldn't be cheap, but would provide a good return on investment.
 
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jis

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I believe service from Pottsville-Reading-Philadelphia would be a much better investment for the State, as it would probably both cost less and have more demand than Scranton-East Stroudsburg-NYC. The stations, commuter demand, and tracks are already there. I think the local transit agencies already own stations in Pottsville and Reading. A third track would probably have to be added which wouldn't be cheap, but would provide a good return on investment.
And SEPTA will have to get off its "we shall not run any diesel trains" principle too, for that to happen ;) Maybe get some DEMUs to provide single seat ride into Suburban Station perhaps. Push comes to shove, 30th St. lower level can always be used as a termination point for diesel trains. Even those coming from the Reading side can avoid the tunnels by transferring over to the NEC by the connecting ramp that exists near North Philadelphia, though Amtrak won't be pleased with yet another conflicting traffic in that busy section.
 
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bms

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And SEPTA will have to get off its "we shall not run any diesel trains" principle too, for that to happen ;) Maybe get some DEMUs to privde single seat ride into Suburban Station perhaps. Push comes to shove, 30th St. lower level can always be used as a termination point for diesel trains. Even those coming from the Reading side can avoid the tunnels by transfering voer top the NEC by the connecting ramp that exists near North Philadelphia, though Amtrak won;t be pleased with yet another conflicting traffic in that busy section.
I always figured SEPTA stopped running diesel trains because that happened to be the power for the services they already wanted to cut. It's outrageous that SEPTA is adding new services to central Delaware but there's not even a connecting bus to fairly big cities that are actually in southeastern PA
 

Amtrak57

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I always thought that Amtrak could run a service on the Southern Tier of New York via the Lackawanna Cuttoff and Scranton. Starting in NYC, it would stop in key places such as Stroudsburg, Scranton, Binghamton, Elmira, Corning, Hornell, Buffalo with a possible terminus at Niagara Falls. If this were to happen, funding would also be provided by NY as well.
 

railiner

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/qgukw
I always thought that Amtrak could run a service on the Southern Tier of New York via the Lackawanna Cuttoff and Scranton. Starting in NYC, it would stop in key places such as Stroudsburg, Scranton, Binghamton, Elmira, Corning, Hornell, Buffalo with a possible terminus at Niagara Falls. If this were to happen, funding would also be provided by NY as well.
While I would love to see that, again, whether via Scranton or Port Jervis routes, train service to Binghamton and beyond would just take too long compared to driving....
 

tim49424

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While I would love to see that, again, whether via Scranton or Port Jervis routes, train service to Binghamton and beyond would just take too long compared to driving....
I'd love to see it again too as I have family just north of Binghamton. No driving for me and possibly no bus either. I did do a visit last year and took the LSL to Syracuse and Thruway bus south.
 

bms

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I always thought that Amtrak could run a service on the Southern Tier of New York via the Lackawanna Cuttoff and Scranton. Starting in NYC, it would stop in key places such as Stroudsburg, Scranton, Binghamton, Elmira, Corning, Hornell, Buffalo with a possible terminus at Niagara Falls. If this were to happen, funding would also be provided by NY as well.
Good idea, and I do think the train would have to continue past Scranton to justify the expense of reaching Scranton. I wonder how the timekeeping would compare to the Water Level Route.
 

neroden

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I have my doubts about restoring service to Scranton from New York...
Even when the Lackawanna was at its peak, the journey time from that era, could never come close to today's driving time. If it came close, it might be viable, but it just takes too long to attract enough rider's to make it...
Again, have you ever actually taken the buses through here? Blech. Yuck. Ugh. They're OK until the last 30 miles outside NYC and then oh my god, they average 10 mph
 

neroden

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And SEPTA will have to get off its "we shall not run any diesel trains" principle too, for that to happen ;) Maybe get some DEMUs to provide single seat ride into Suburban Station perhaps. Push comes to shove, 30th St. lower level can always be used as a termination point for diesel trains. Even those coming from the Reading side can avoid the tunnels by transferring over to the NEC by the connecting ramp that exists near North Philadelphia, though Amtrak won't be pleased with yet another conflicting traffic in that busy section.
Swampoodle! If they transfer the Chestnut Hill West line to the Reading side (as long proposed) Amtrak probably would be OK with receiving a few diesel trains from Pottsville or Reading in exchange.

 
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Palmetto

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While I would love to see that, again, whether via Scranton or Port Jervis routes, train service to Binghamton and beyond would just take too long compared to driving....
True, bur not everyone--especially in New York City--has a car. And if you do happen to have one, finding a gratis parking space could take a half hour. I could never figure out why my friend went through that routine every day. He worked in the Bronx, and came home to Manhattan.

And just to add: I know folks who live near Scranton. This proposal has been on the table since the mid-80s, believe it or not.
 

bms

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True, bur not everyone--especially in New York City--has a car. And if you do happen to have one, finding a gratis parking space could take a half hour. I could never figure out why my friend went through that routine every day. He worked in the Bronx, and came home to Manhattan.

And just to add: I know folks who live near Scranton. This proposal has been on the table since the mid-80s, believe it or not.
And in Pennsylvania, most people who have cars don't drive them in New York City. It's just too stressful and not what they're used to. I'm from the Allentown area, where most people either catch a bus from the PennDOT commuter lot just west of Allentown, drive to a train station in New Jersey and catch a commuter train, or at most, drive to the Port Authority garage and catch the subway.
 

railiner

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And in Pennsylvania, most people who have cars don't drive them in New York City.
I would agree that it is very expensive to drive and park in NYC, but plenty still do. Especially if they have a varied work schedule, and/or need their cars while there. I also agree that a lot of them ride the bus, which can clearly be seen by the Trans-Bridge, Martz, and Short Line schedules. It is interesting that there seems to be a whole lot more traffic between Northampton, Monroe, and Pike counties commuting to NYC then Philly. Seems like Monroe county especially consists mainly of ex-New Yorker's.

The bus can make better time then trains can, and even cars, when using the contra-flow Lincoln Tunnel Bus Lane, eastbound...
 

Amtrak57

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The bus can make better time then trains can, and even cars, when using the contra-flow Lincoln Tunnel Bus Lane, eastbound...
Although the bus might be a bit quicker on the schedule, many people don't like taking the bus for many reasons as well that they are much more prone to delays than trains are due to traffic. A good example would be going from Syracuse to NYC with the bus having shorter travel times but a lot of people still chose to take the train due to reliability, comfort, etc...
 

jis

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Actually if one were to mindless follow the "railiner principle" of "trains must be faster than best time by road to be built or maintained", there would be many existing service that ought to be discontinued and many potential corridor service that ought not to be built.
 
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