Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad

Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
Reporting marksDLW
LocalePennsylvania, New York and New Jersey
Dates of operation18511960
Successor lineErie Lackawanna
Track gaugeftin (1435 mm) (standard gauge)
HeadquartersNew York, New York


The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company (DL&W or Lackawanna) (AAR reporting marks DLW) was a railroad connecting Pennsylvania's Lackawanna Valley, rich in anthracite coal, to New York City, Buffalo and Oswego, New York. It merged with the Erie Railroad in 1960, forming the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, and was absorbed into Conrail in 1976.

History

Pre-DL&W: 1832-1853

Enlarge picture
Lackawanna sign is still seen on Hoboken Terminal
The Liggett's Gap Railroad was incorporated on April 7, 1832, but stayed dormant for many years. It was chartered on March 14, 1849 and organized January 2, 1850. On April 14, 1851 its name was changed to the Lackawanna and Western Railroad. The line, running north from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Great Bend, just south of the New York state line, opened on December 20, 1851. From Great Bend the L&W obtained trackage rights north and west over the New York and Erie Rail Road to Oswego, New York, where it leased the Cayuga and Susquehanna Railroad to Ithaca on Cayuga Lake (on April 21, 1855). The C&S was a re-organized and partially re-built Ithaca and Owego Railroad, which had opened on April 1, 1834, and was the oldest part of the DL&W system. The whole system was built to 6 ft 0 in (1829 mm) wide gauge, the same as the New York and Erie, although the original I&O was built to standard gauge and converted to wide gauge when re-built as the C&S.

The Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad was chartered December 4, 1850 to build a line from Scranton east to the Delaware River. Before it opened, the Delaware and Cobb's Gap and Lackawanna and Western were consolidated into one company, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, on March 11, 1853. On the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, the Warren Railroad was chartered February 12, 1851 to continue from the bridge over the river southeast to Hampton on the Central Railroad of New Jersey. That section got its name from Warren County, the county through which it would primarily run.

Enlarge picture
The DL&W System from a 1922 Map.

Expansion: 1853-1960

The rest of the line, now known as the Southern Division, opened on May 27, 1856, including the New Jersey section (the Warren Railroad). A third rail was added to the standard gauge Central Railroad of New Jersey east of Hampton to allow the DL&W to run east to Elizabeth via trackage rights (the CNJ was extended in 1864 to Jersey City).

On December 10, 1868, the DL&W bought the Morris and Essex Railroad. This line ran east-west across northern New Jersey, crossing the Warren Railroad at Washington and providing access to Jersey City without depending on the CNJ. The M&E tunnel under Bergen Hill opened in 1876, also relieving it of its use of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railway in Jersey City. Along with the M&E lease came several branch lines in New Jersey, including the Boonton Branch (opened in 1870), which bypassed Newark for through freight.

The DL&W bought the Syracuse, Binghamton and New York Railroad in 1869 and leased the Oswego and Syracuse Railroad on February 13, 1869. This gave it a branch from Binghamton north and northwest via Syracuse to Oswego, a port on Lake Ontario.

The Greene Railroad was organized in 1869, opened in 1870, and was immediately leased to the DL&W, providing a short branch off the Oswego line from Chenango Forks to Greene. Also in 1870 the DL&W leased the Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley Railway, continuing this branch north to Utica, with a branch from Richfield Junction to Richfield Springs (fully opened in 1872).

The Valley Railroad was organized March 3, 1869 to connect the end of the original line at Great Bend, Pennsylvania to Binghamton, New York, avoiding reliance on the Erie. The new line opened October 1, 1871.

By 1873 the DL&W controlled the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, a branch from Scranton southwest to Northumberland (with trackage rights over the Pennsylvania Railroad's Northern Central Railway to Sunbury).

On March 15, 1876 the whole system was re-gauged to standard gauge in one day.

The New York, Lackawanna and Western Railroad was chartered August 26, 1880 and opened September 17, 1882 to continue the DL&W from Binghamton west and northwest to Buffalo. The main line ran to the International Bridge to Ontario, and a branch served downtown Buffalo.

On December 1, 1903 the DL&W began operating the Erie and Central New York Railroad, a branch of the Oswego line from Cortland Junction east to Cincinnatus.

By 1909 the DL&W controlled the Bangor and Portland Railway. This line branched from the main line at Portland, Pennsylvania southwest to Nazareth, with a branch to Martins Creek.

New terminals and realignments

The DL&W built a major new passenger station in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1908. This is now the Radisson Hotel.

The Lackawanna Railroad was chartered in New Jersey on February 7, 1908 to build the New Jersey Cut-Off, opened December 24, 1911. This provided a low-grade cutoff in northwestern New Jersey. From 1912 to 1915 the Summit Cut-Off was built north from Scranton, including the massive Tunkhannock and Martins Creek Viaducts.

On October 17, 1960 the DL&W merged with its former rival, the Erie Railroad, to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad (EL).

Aftermath: 1960-present

  • ERIE LACKAWANNA
With the merger into the EL, much of the DL&W trackage was redundant. The main line of the DL&W from Binghamton west to just east of Corning closely paralleled the Erie's main line, and was abandoned. On the other hand, the Erie's Buffalo, New York and Erie Railroad was dropped from Corning to Livonia in favor of the DL&W's main line. Most passenger service was routed onto the DL&W east of Binghamton, with the DL&W's Hoboken Terminal serving passenger trains.
  • CONRAIL
Conrail absorbed the EL in 1976. New Jersey Transit has taken over most of the former DL&W (Morris and Essex Railroad) lines in New Jersey, including the main line east of Hackettstown (operated by Conrail under trackage rights).

NORFOLK SOUTHERN

In 1997, Conrail was bought by CSX Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway. On June 1, 1999, Norfolk Southern took over most of the Conrail lines in New Jersey, including the former DL&W. Norfolk Southern continues to operate local freights on the line.

DELAWARE & HUDSON, CANADIAN PACIFIC

In 1979 Conrail sold the most of the DL&W in Pennsylvania, with the portion between Scranton and Binghamton bought by the Delaware & Hudson. The D&H was absorbed into the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1991. To this day, CPR continues to run over the line.

NEW YORK, SUSQUEHANNA & WESTERN

The branches to Syracuse and Utica are operated by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway, though the Utica Branch is currently out-of-service due to washouts and little traffic.
  • PENNSYLVANIA NORTHEAST REGIONAL RAIL AUTHORITY
With the 1998 breakup of Conrail, what remains of the DL&W main line from Scranton east into Monroe County is owned by the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority and trains run by designated-operator Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad. In 2006, the Monroe County and Lackawanna County Railroad Authorities joined together to form the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority to help speed up the resumption of New York City-Scranton commuter trains. It is on the Pocono Mainline into Moscow and Tobyhanna that the steam trains of the Steamtown National Historic Site operate out of Scranton. Since the summer of 1998, the D-L, under a haulage agreement with the Canadian Pacific Railway, has been running unit Canadian grain trains between Scranton and the Harvest States Grain Mill at Pocono Summit, PA. Original sections of the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad out of Scranton to Montage Mountain, Moosic have been purchased by Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, and placed back in service with overhead electrified wiring and designated-operator Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad overseeing both freight operations and the county's tourist trolley runs, the Electric City Trolley Museum.
  • Remnants
The Lackawanna Cut-Off has been abandoned and the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania purchased their respective portions of the cutoff in 1998 for a total of $21 million, with hopes of restoring passenger service between Hoboken and Scranton. The majority of the main line west of Binghamton is also abandoned, in favor of the Erie's Buffalo and New York City Railroad. The Syracuse & Utica branches north of Binghamton have been retained, sold by Conrail to the DO Corp., which operates the Syracuse Branch today as the northern division of the New York, Susquehanna, and Western. (The Utica Branch is out-of-service due to washouts and little traffic.) The Richfield Springs branch was scrapped in 1998 after being out of service for years, and the Cincinnatus Branch, abandoned by Erie Lackawanna in 1960, was partially rebuilt for industrial spur ca. 1999.

See also

Short branches

External links

References





Reading List

  • King, Sheldon S. The Route of Phoebe Snow: A Story of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad (Flanders, NJ (P.O. Box 114, Flanders 07836): Railroad Avenue Enterprises, 1986 (2nd printing 1991).
  • McCabe, Wayne T. and Kate Gordon. A Penny A View...An Album of Postcard Views...Building the Lackawanna Cut-off in Sussex and Warren Counties, N.J. (Newton, NJ: Historic Preservation Alternatives, 2003).
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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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Nickname(s): Keystone State, Quaker State,
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Motto(s): Virtue, Liberty and Independence

Capital Harrisburg
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State of New York

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Nickname(s): The Empire State
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Capital Albany
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State of New Jersey

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Nickname(s): Garden State[1]
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Erie Lackawanna Railway

Reporting marks EL
Locale New Jersey to Chicago, Illinois
Dates of operation October 17, 1960 – April 1, 1976

Track gauge 4 ft 8 in (1435 mm) (standard gauge)

Headquarters Cleveland, Ohio The
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standard gauge of 1,435 mm (4 ft 8½ in), allowing inter-connectivity and the inter-operability of trains. Currently 60% of the world's railway lines are built to this gauge. It is also named Stephenson gauge after George Stephenson.
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reporting mark is an identification assigned by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to rail carriers and other companies operating in North America.

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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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Nickname: The Port City
Motto: Where the water never ends.
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Country United States
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Erie Railroad

Reporting marks ERIE
Locale Jersey City, NJ to Chicago, IL
Dates of operation 1832 – 1960

Successor line Erie Lackawanna
Track gauge 4 ft 8 in (1435 mm) (standard gauge), converted from 6 ft (1829 mm) broad gauge on June 22,
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Erie Lackawanna Railway

Reporting marks EL
Locale New Jersey to Chicago, Illinois
Dates of operation October 17, 1960 – April 1, 1976

Track gauge 4 ft 8 in (1435 mm) (standard gauge)

Headquarters Cleveland, Ohio The
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Consolidated Rail Corporation

Reporting marks CR
Locale Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio
Dates of operation April 1, 1976 – June 1, 1999
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