Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority’

Amtrak to Help Develop NYC-Scranton Route

July 22, 2021

An agreement has been reached between Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority to work toward the establishment of intercity rail passenger service between New York City and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Amtrak said in a news release that it would provide infrastructure assessment and ridership and revenue forecasting estimates of equipment needs and other analysis of the proposed service.

The project review is expected to take about a year to complete and cost $400,000.

The New York-Scranton route was among several new corridors identified by the Amtrak Connect US plan to be developed by 2035.

The route would use the Lackawanna Cut-Off, a dormant dormant right of way owned by the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The proposed service would be three daily round trips that would connect with New Jersey Transit’s Morristown Line at SWIFT Interlocking (Kearny Connection), then on to Scranton via a rebuilt Lackawanna Cut-Off through a connection with the Morristown Line at Port Morris Junction. 

NJT Morristown Line service currently ends at Hackettstown although plans are in place to develop branch line service from Port Morris to Andover Township.

Other work that needs to be completed includes restoring the 1,024-foot Roseville Tunnel located about six miles west of Port Morris Junction.

Amtrak trains to Scranton would require new dual-power locomotives because the segment between Scranton and the Morristown Line will not be electrified.

Passenger trains last used the Lackawanna Cut-off in 1970. Conrail ended freight service there in 1978 and removed the tracks in 1984.

The route is named for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.

Estimates of the cost of restoring track between the Roseville Tunnel and Pennsylvania are around $300 million with most of that needed to repair the Hainesburg Viaduct and Delaware River Viaduct.

Advocates of the project hope to obtain funding from an infrastructure bill now being considered by Congress.

Pa. Short Line Opens Locomotive Shop

September 25, 2020

The Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad has opened a new $2.5 million locomotive shop in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The facility has two 200-foot interior tracks inside, an 83-foot walk-in inspection pit, and a 20-ton crane used for most major locomotive work.

The shop will be used to maintain the short line railroad’s fleet of 35 active Alco and Montreal Locomotive Works locomotives.

The shop was built on the site that once housed a Delaware & Hudson roundhouse.

It replaces a smaller two-track facility in South Scranton that will now be used for track equipment maintenance.

The D-L uses 23 miles of former D&H track between Scranton and Carbondale.

It also operates on former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western tacks owned by the Pennsylvania Northeast Rail Authority.

The D-L recently received a $900,000 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grant to be used to make improvements to the railroad’s Green Ridge Yard in Scranton.

R&N Sues PNRRA Over Lease Extension

February 13, 2020

The Reading & Northern has sued the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority arguing that it violated the state’s open meetings act when it extended the contract of rail operator Delaware-Lackawanna for five years.

The suit argues that the Authority discussed the extension in an executive session at which the public was excluded and without public notice.

The suit contends that the Authority should have acted in public. It is seeking a reversal of the decision.

R&N said it would drop the lawsuit if the Authority “would embark on a good faith bid process,”

The Authority acted to extend the least last month. That action also drew criticism from another railroad operator, the Myles Group.

Both the Myles Group and R&N contend that the Authority did not give them the opportunity to offer competing proposals.

The Myles Group operates an excursion service, the Stourbridge Line, in Wayne and Pike counties.

The Authority contracted with the Delaware-Lackawanna almost three decades ago and has never sought proposals from other railroads.

Lawrence Malski, president of the Authority, said the board did discuss the lease in private, but said that is allowed by law to discuss a real estate matter.

He said the board also talked in private about another lawsuit filed by the R&N in 2013 against the Authority that challenged its right to own and operate a railroad.

That lawsuit resulted in a court ruling in December that the authority doesn’t have to seek proposals and can continue to operate a railroad.

The Authority owns about 100 miles of tracks serving 17 customers

Malski said the board feared that the possibility of being forced out of the railroad business discouraged it from seeking proposals.

However, he said seeking proposals would “probably” be a good idea in the future.

The extension was of the lease had been sought by the Delaware-Lackawanna a year ago.

Malski said the board took into account the railroad’s ability to land state grants for infrastructure improvements and shipper satisfaction with its service when agreeing to grant the extension.

Although the Myles Group appeared before the board in December, Malski said it could not adequately explain how it would attract new shippers.

John Titterton, Myles Group’s vice president, retorted that his company never got a chance to make a presentation to the board.

The thing is, why not? Whose interest are you protecting by not hearing proposals. What is the downside to this?” he said.

Titteron said seeking proposals should be standard operating procedure and there is something very odd about the rail authority, including the closed and secret way it works, and its relationship with D-L.

As for the R&N, Malski said it didn’t give it an opportunity to make a proposal in part because of the lawsuit but also because R&N wants to buy the authority’s system, a prospect the Authority opposes.

Pennsylvania Short Line Set Record in 2019 for Traffic

January 3, 2020

Pennsylvania-based short line Delaware-Lackawanna has reported that it set a record in 2019 for freight carloads handled, making it the third consecutive year of carload records.

The carrier handled 9,690 cars, which bested the 2018 record by 2.5 percent.

D-L said it also used $2.8 million in grants from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to improve its rail infrastructure, including new ties, rail, ballast and surfacing.

It also up graded two bridges. The Carbondale Rail Transload facility was recently awarded a PennDOT grant of $297,528 for upgrades and expansion.

DL is the designated rail operator for the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority-owned rail lines in Lackawanna and Monroe Counties.

Carloads Rose 17% at NE Pa. Railroad Authority

July 31, 2019

The Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority said that it posted a 17 percent increase in carloads transported on its rail system during the first six months of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.

In a news release, the Authority said that increase is “especially significant” since 2018 was a record year for carloads transported on the authority’s tracks, which are used by the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad.

“This substantial growth is especially significant in the face of national carload data which shows a 3 percent decrease among Class I railroads in the United States for the same period reports,” said PNRRA President Larry Malski.

To help handle the traffic growth, the Authority used a $686,000 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grant to help fund additional capacity at Green Ridge Yard in Scranton.

PA Short Line Sets Traffic Record

January 11, 2018

The Pennsylvania-based Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad reported this week hauling a record 8,572 revenue carloads in 2017.

The broke the previous record of 8,048 cars handled in 2015. Larry Malski, president of the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority, said in a statement that last year’s traffic figure is indicative of economic growth among the 20-plus industries served by the DL.

Malski said the 2017 carload figures represented a 31 percent increase over 2016.

Helping fuel the carload traffic growth was the addition of two new customers, Scranton Transload and Northwoods Paper.

The DL also handled more than 100 special high-and-wide carloads of components for the new Invenergy Jessup Power Plant.

Major commodities handled by the DL include wheat and flour, sand, plastic, lumber, propane and consumer products.

DL is seeking a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grant to fund double-tracking its Carbondale Line because of “rapidly increasing” carloads on that line, Malski said.

“Since 1982 when the authority was formed to save the approximately 100 miles of rail lines that the private sector railroad were abandoning and liquidating, a true rail renaissance has transpired in northeastern Pennsylvania with thousands of jobs saved and created by the many industries that need freight-rail service to stay competitive,” Malski said.

Lease Renewal Challenged in NE Pennsylvania

May 31, 2015

A Pennsylvania railroad company is contesting the decision of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority to extend the lease of another railroad company without submitting the operation to competitive bidding.

The Authority last week announced that it had renewed for five years the contract of Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad to provide freight service over 90 miles of track to the Northeast Pennsylvania counties of Lackawanna, Wayne, Monroe and Northampton.

Now the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern wants the authority to reopen the case and enable other railroads to bid on the service.

The Authority had rejected a bid by RBM&N 18 months ago in favor of the contract with Delaware-Lackawanna. That contract expires in late August.

RBM&N has notified the Authority of its intent to continue to challenge extending the Delaware-Lackawanna lease.

NE Pa. Authority Extends Lease of Short Line

May 29, 2015

The Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority has voted unanimously to approve a five-year extension of the lease with a short line operator.

The Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad will continue to operate over 90 miles of track in Lackawanna, Wayne, Monroe, and Northampton counties in northeast Pennsylvania.

Delaware-Lackawanna is a subsidiary of GVT Rail and serves more than 25 customers. It employs 30 in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The railroad has a motive power fleet of Alco locomotives and in 2014 it posted a 12.4 percent increase in carloads compared over 2013 levels. Railroad officials expect to add four new customers in 2015.