This has been sent to me by James Mancuso. This document is copyrighted by Mr Mancuso.
Although the corporate history of the Erie Lackawanna Railway, which became part of Conrail on April 1. 1976 goes back only to the merger date of October 17. 1960. The history of its two predecessor companies can be traced back as far as 1835 when the New York and Erie Railroad was about to receive its charter under the laws of New York State. Sixteen years later, the Erie extended from Piermont to Dunkirk, NY and at 450 miles in length, was the longest railroad in the world at that time. However, Dunkirk was not destined to be a major great lakes port. Buffalo, approximately 40 miles to the northeast, with its grain mills, and growing industry, would assume that role. Erie management soon rectified this by acquiring and finishing the line extending from Buffalo to Hornell that was completed in 1852, by then named Buffalo. New York & Erie, or a similar name and merging it into the Erie Railroad system.
Also, in 1851, the Lackawanna and Western Railroad, which as the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western, Erie's rival and merger partner, had opened its first stretch of line from Slocum's Hollow (Scranton) to Hallstead, Pennsylvania. In just 32 years, the two rival railroads, which were to merge eventually, had reached approximately the final system forms they would bring to the merger on October 17. 1960. The Erie had a 2207 mile system in operation while the Lackawanna had 940 miles of railroad in its system. As a result of trackage consolidations and line abandonments, this total was reduced to 3031 miles for the merged railroad, and later to approximately 2650 miles prior to merger with Conrail. A close examination of the diesel rosters of both railroads will reveal that both railroads made many parallel choices in diesel units with which to replace steam. Both retired their last steam locomotives in 1953s and both the Erie and the Lackawanna provided high quality service to many common points served by both railroads.
In addition, both railroads operated high quality passenger services that were crafted for more localized markets than either New York Central or Pennsylvania Railroad were. Lackawanna's through trains were geared for the Buffalo - New York market as well as various New York - Chicago routings via Nickel Plate, Michigan Central as well as New York Central. Through cars were run on the Nickel Plate Road, while a change of stations was required to connect with New York Central and Michigan Central trains. Erie Railroad, on the other hand, crafted its passenger service between New York and Chicago more to provide local service between the 36 intermediate stations along the route than competitive through service between the end points.
Moreover, Erie's trains were heavier on mail, express, milk, and other headend traffic than most Lackawanna trains were. More on passenger service later. Despite differences in operating philosophies, both the Erie and Lackawanna railroads had enough in common that when merger talks began in 1956 as did combining of the New Jersey passenger stations (Erie moved into Lackawanna's Hoboken Terminal that year and completing the move in March, 1957), the merging of the two railroads into one seemed like a natural combination, for both railroads served much the same territory in the East and both were suffering heavy losses on their commuter services in the New York/New Jersey area. A prime example of duplication was the pair of double track main lines between Binghamton and Corning, NY. a distance of 75 miles. Another was the Erie's single track, Corning-Rochester line (by then Corning-Wayland) which paralleled the Lackawanna mainline and served all the same communities between those points as far as Wayland. These were two examples of some of the wasteful duplication the merged railroad sought to eliminate.
The Erie Lackawanna Railroad's merger process, under the circumstances in which it was conceived, compares very favorably to that of the Penn Central merger of February 1. 1968, which merged those two railroads in name, while they remained essentially two roads in operation. Unlike the Pennsylvania and the Now York Central, the Erie and the Lackawanna began the physical integration of their two properties as early as 1956 with the merging of the Now Jersey passenger terminals and installation of the necessary track connections to enable Erie trains to access the Hoboken Terminal of the Lackawanna. In 1959, the two railroads agreed to use a single pair of main tracks between Binghamton and Corning. Work on the necessary track and signal connections at Binghamton and Corning began that Spring and was completed in late August. August 31, 1959 was the last day of Lackawanna use of its own main line as a though route between Corning and Binghamton, for all Lackawanna Trains began using Erie tracks the next day, calling at such Erie stations as Endicott, Waverly, and Elmira, which were dubbed ERIE-LACKAWANNA stations in Lackawanna public timetables that year.
Unlike the Penn Central, the Erie and the Lackawanna railroads began the physical integration of their two properties over a year before the integration of the two companies into one in a well-planned thought out process, that despite the interpersonal bickering between some Erie and DL&W staffers that cropped up, spared the Erie Lackawanna Railroad much of the grief that befell the Penn Central and later over came that railroad after less than two years of merged operation plus the New Haven. Perhaps the planning done by Erie and Lackawanna management personnel in the four years preceding the merger is one major reason that the Erie Lackawanna Railroad survived so much longer as an entity than the Penn Central did. PC went bankrupt after only 2 and a half years of merged operation, while Erie Lackawanna hung on for about 12 years before it went into the pit of bankruptcy on June 26. 1972.
On their east ends, both the Erie and the Lackawanna Railroads were saddled with high terminal costs, particularly in the state of New Jersey and extensive and expensive commuter services which did not lend themselves to profitability, no matter what each railroad did in an effort to stem the losses.
The 1956-57 move of Erie Railroad's passenger operations from Jersey City into Lackawanna's Hoboken Terminal did help matters somewhat, for with this move, the merged passenger terminal would then handle all the business previously handled by two. The same held for trans Hudson ferry service. This early merger of the two railroad's passenger terminals is one example of why the Erie Lackawanna Railroad had much less of a disadvantage in its first year of merged operation than the Penn Central did in the same 1968-1969 period. In Penn Central's case, a third railroad, the New Haven, was indeed involved. Erie Lackawanna was at first designed to involve the Delaware and Hudson Railroad as well, since D&H had very little route overlap with either of the other two railroads. William White, then D&H President and later to head up a faltering Erie Lackawanna, pulled his railroad out of the merger talks, which became a two-party discussion as a result. Mr. White felt that since the D&H was in so much better financial shape than either the Erie or the Lackawanna, a three-way merger would do great harm to the D&H and perhaps sink that 700 mile railroad whose main function was a bridge line to New England and Canada. As the consolidation and coordination of trackage and other facilities occurred here and there, these moves helped smooth the transition of the Erie and the Lackawanna from two railroads into one 3031 mile railroad that would be stronger than either of its two predecessors had been in their final years of independent operations. The Diesel rosters that follow on the next pages will illustrate some of the commonality the Erie and Lackawanna railroads had between them.
|ALCO||RS2||901-917 (SG Equip)||17|
Most of the reunumberings the Erie did at merger time were accomplished by substituting a 1,2,3 or 4 for the ABCD in a four-unit set of carbody units, thus FT700A became EL 7001 under the renumbering scheme for Erie Railroad units into the new Erie Lackawanna number series. Switchers and roadswitchers did not require renumbering from the road numbers the Erie Railroad received them with. As will be seen, it was a different story with the Lackawanna Railroad's diesel fleet. Here, all units, except 10 of the eleven E8s DID require renumbering. What follows is the Lackawanna Railroad's diesel fleet.
Most F3s and F7s were renumbered into 6300, 6500 number series, while the passenger F3s got 8400 series numbers, where 801 abc became 8411, 8412, 8414. Most of the FTs got 6500 series numbers while four of these got 6600s as did the F3 605 set. Only E8 #820 got a new number; 809 of that group. EMD and Alco switchers (not shown) were renumbered to match their Erie counterparts. The freight GP7s got 1200 series numbers, while those set up for passenger service got 1400 numbers behind the last Erie GP7 in that series. The 8400 series F3s remained in the passenger pool until 1963, after which they became freight haulers and began to be traded in on the C424s and other new power to come.
In order to get a good grasp of what made the Erie Lackawanna tick and the railroad's make up, it is necessary to take a somewhat detailed look at both the companies that formed this proud railroad. The Erie Railroad, which was the largest of the two railroads will be discussed first.
The Erie Railroad was a 2196 mile long rail system that served six states: New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, a six state area the railroad so correctly dubbed the Heart of Industrial America. This was particularly true of Ohio's Mahoning Valley, which was the "breadbasket" of the Erie.
Primarily a fast freight railroad, the Erie also provided fine passenger service, whose trains primarily served a local service function between the 36 intermediate stations along the Erie's 996 mile long mainline, between Jersey City (Hoboken after 1956) and Chicago. Such trains as
To handle the freight entrusted to its care. the Erie Railroad had major terminals in Chicago, Marion, Akron, Cleveland, Meadville, Youngstown, Buffalo, Hornell, Binghamton. Port Jervis, and Croxton (Jersey City). Their locations allowed the Erie Railroad to develop several families of fast through freight trains and preblock them for several destinations. The 74s, 98s, 99s and 100s are perhaps the best remembered of these groups of fast Erie trains. These and the 97s and the crews who ran them all combined to make the Erie, and later the Erie Lackawanna competitive with the likes of the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads, even though its mainline slid in between all the major cities in its six-state service area.
Supporting these Erie trains and their crews were the Quick Action cartracing computers, with which Sales Offices could locate a shipper's boxcar, often while he held the phone. These sales offices were located at strategic locations both on and off-line. Backing up the train crews and salespeople were the office and yard clerks, crews and other operating personnel, who endeavored to give the shippers first rate service that was every bit as good as that rendered by the Central and Pennsy.
Of all of Erie Railroad's freight Terminals, Hornell, N.Y was located at the geographical heart of the railroad. It was at Hornell that the system diesel shop was located. The large station building served as headquarters for the Susquehanna, Delaware. and Wyoming divisions. This divisional headquarters occupied the entire second floor of the building. The dispatcher's office for the three divisions, plus the Buffalo main was located at the north end of the Second Floor. Also, at Hornell were an LCL freight house, icing facilities, TOFC ramp and other facilities necessary to expedite Erie's freight service.
Like other yards on the Erie system, Hornell was a flat-switching yard where the crew on the switch engine had to shove the cars to be switched. onto the appropriate tracks, according to destination. Many of these destinations were online, while others were various interline connections.
Erie Railroad was divided into a number of divisions as follows:
This was the divisional structure that the Erie Railroad brought to the October 17, 1960 Erie-Lackawanna merger. and it would continue as such for two more years, with the exception of the Wyoming Division being merged into the ex Lackawanna Scranton Division. and substantial portions being abandoned. In addition the Erie's Western and Eastern districts continued for those same two years as the divisional structure of the Erie. The Eastern District by then involved the former Lackawanna Railroad as well as the Erie's Buffalo, Susquehanna, Delaware, and New York divisions, while the Western District was pure Erie, just as it always had been.
The resulting structure of the Erie Lackawanna's two operating Districts went like this:
|Western District (Erie)||Eastern District(Erie-DL&W)|
|Mahoning Division||Susquehanna Division|
|Kent Division||Scranton Division|
|Marion Division||New York Division|
|Morris &,Essex Division|
Working timetables were individually issued for each of these divisions, with the exception that the ex Erie New York Division and Lackawanna's Morris and Exsex Division were combined into one thick timetable for the railroad's commuter territory. That is the way the Erie Lackawanna Railroad appeared during the period from October 17, 1960 well into 1963, during which it seemed like there still were two railroads operating under a common name. True, trackage, passenger and freight terminals had been integrated and were in that process, but the profusion of employee operating timetables for eight divisions seem to have given the impression that the merged railroad still had two personalities under the old corporate cultures, despite the fact that there now was one single management team instead of two supposedly running the show in Wieveland, where the company headquarters was.
After all, two railroads that had been bitter rivals for over a century were now united in what seems to have been a shotgun wedding born out of desperation. Be that as it may. the two railroads still had enough in common. such as comparable diesel fleets, common connecting points, duplicative trackage and facilities that. despite the rivalries between executives of their former companies, made the Erie Lackawanna Railroad a more workable proposition than the Penn Central merger of 1968. which was a complete disaster from day 1. made even more so. when the long bankrupt New Haven Railroad was brought into that picture in 1969. Yet it was the Penn Central that ultimately proved to be Erie Lackawanna's undoing. for PC management set out from day one, to try to destroy EL's key connections, and in turn, the railroad's ability to compete in the New York-Chicago market, where EL's freight service was often superior to that of Penn Central on either if its east-west mains. We are getting a head of ourselves a bit. Let's turn our attention to the Lackawanna Railroad, E-L's other half.
The 940 mile Lackawanna Railroad, more formally known as the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western, was the more passenger oriented of Erie Lackawanna's two components. Its passenger trains were designed for BOTH local and interline through travel as well as local trips. The Lackawanna Railroad was, until 1957, divided into three operating divisions. These were as follows;
MORRIS & ESSEX DIVISION - All commuter service operated by the Lackawanna was found here. This consisted of service on the Morristown. Boonton. Gladstone, Sussex, and Montclair lines. Territory was bounded by the Hoboken Terminal on the east and Slateford Jct. and Portland. PA on the west. The freight only Chester, Old Road, and Phillipsburg and Hrrison branches were also included.
SCRANTON DIVISION - Birthplace of the Lackawanna Railroad, its portion of the mainline extended from Slateford Jct. to Binghamton. NY,. Branch lines included the Bangor & Portland, Bloomsburg, Syracuse, Utica, Cincinnatus, and Richfield Springs branches. Much of the coal traffic handled by the railroad originated here and was the main reason for its construction. Such visonary leaders as Sam Sloan, George and Selden Scranton, George Phelps and William Hallstead saw to it that the railroad developed its freight and passenger services to the high standards for which the Lackawanna was reknown. Thus, headquartered in the Lackawanna Station (now a Hilton hotel), the Scranton Division was the birthplace of a great railroad.
BUFFALO DIVISION - Stretching from Binghamton to Buffalo, it was built under the name, New York, Lackawanna & Western and completed in 1883. The Division consisted of this line, the freight-only Black Rock Branch in Buffalo, and the Ithaca Branch (abandoned in the late 1950s). The Buffalo Division gave the Lackawanna Railroad the shortest route between Buffalo and New York of all the railroads serving both of those markets.
A feature of the Lackawannals Buffalo Division that later proved to be its downfall was the heavy grade between Groveland and Wayland, NY that necessitated the use of pusher locomotives on the rear of eastbound freight trains. A few of these trains even left Buffalo with the pushers attached. even in the diesel years. This was a feature the Erie Lackawanna felt it could do without and route consolidation between Buffalo and Corning happened to be one of the topics discussed in the merger talks. Furthermore, Erie Lackawanna Railroad did not need two Buffalo - Corning mainlines, when one upgraded line, the Erie through Hornell,. had the ability to handle all the business previously utilizing both mainlines. Since a new electronic freight classification yard to be known as Bison Yard was in the plans, the rerouting of the Buffalo Passenger trains was brought into the picture. Before any of this took place, both the Erie and the Lackawanna agreed to consolidate their mainlines between Corning and Binghamton, with trains of both roads using Erie tracks between those points. Accordingly, the following stretches of Lackawanna main were eliminated:
|Vestal - Nichols||20.94 miles|
|Waverly - Elmira||18.66 miles|
|Elmira Hts. - Corning||16.05 miles|
|Corning - Erwins Crossing||2.62 miles|
Also 75 miles of single track between Binghamton and Corning were eliminated in addition to complete abandonment of the Ithaca Branch. On September 1, 1959. Lackawanna passenger trains began calling at the Erie stations of Endicatt, Owego. Waverly, and Elmira. By this track consolidation, the physical merger of the Erie and Lackawanna railroads had begun a new phase. Phase one, combining the New York area passenger terminals had been accomplished by early 1957.
Another phase of integrating the two railroads began when the Lackawanna, like the Erie, began installing nose multiple unit connections in its F3, F7, and E8s, enabling these locomotives to be able to run in larger consists than they had in the past. Thus, the westbound Phoebe Snow could leave Hoboken Terminal for Buffalo with three E8s up front instead of two, and drop the extra unit at Scranton if not needed all the way to Buffalo. This move began the integration of the two railroads' diesel fleets into a single roster as well. While the motive power plan was not specifically spelled out in the merger application book, most projects planned and actually carried out by both roads were.
Some Lackawanna diesels still ran in their Lackawanna lettering well into Erie Lackawanna's first year of merged operation. On the Erie side, the new railroad's logo and lettering was adapted to Erie's black and yellow freight scheme. On the other hand, one group of locomotives that could not be made compatible were Erie's Baldwin units, which would not MU with EMD or Alco units and were thus, run only with each other. The same held true with the ex Lackawanna Fairbanks Morse units, except that they COULD MU with EMD units, but never were.
WEBMASTER COMMENT The DL&W FM Train Masters were MUed with other power, both EMD and Alco. This was not common due to the high walk ways on the TM as compared to the other units. Check the LOCO/FM page on this site for a photo.
By the end of 1959, a major portion of the joint ErieLackawanna track coordination projects had been completed, thus, the Lackawanna Railroad's west end was about to come full circle. On October 17, 1960, the end came for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad as a corporate entity, for on that day, two long-time rival railroads became one railroad, the Erie Lackawanna Railroad Company. At first the freight and passenger services of the predecessors remained essentially unchanged, though the Lackawanna passenger colors were declared standard colors for all the passenger equipment of the new railroad, though a number of Erie coaches finished their days in Erie colors.
October 30, 1960 saw the first new public timetables to be issued by the Erie Lackawanna. Form 1, the through line timetable was a completely new timetable that was entended to be easier to use than the two predecessors folders had been. All other Erie Lackawanna public timetables were essentially makeovers of ex-Erie and Lackawanna Forms, except the Form 2 which was a combination of Erie's Form 2 with the Lackawanna's Form 10 System Schedule's Binghamton-Scranton-Hoboken route shown. This amounted to a joint Delaware-Scranton-Morris & Essex-New York Division public timetable.
While these changes were being made, Erie Lackawanna began preparations to phase out the ex-Lackawanna Buffalo to Corning main line as a through route. The westbound main and the block signal system would be removed and the line severed into two branch lines. Meanwhile, the ex-Lackawanna freight trains kept their traditional symbols even though they now operated via the Hornell-Buffalo route instead of the traditional Lackawanna route as in years past. For 18 months after the merger, the ex-DL&W route retained its passenger trains but had only wayfreight service to serve the shippers. One such train is known to have operated with just an EMD NW-2 switcher, still lettered Lackawanna, for power, with several flatcars loaded with propane gas tanks as the train's primary load.
As construction of Bison Yard got under way in 1961, the planning for the rerouting the Buffalo passenger service to the Hornell-Buffalo main line got underway as well. The yard office at SK Yard in East Buffalo, was to be the new Buffalo passenger station, to be shared by Nickel Plate trains, while the downtown terminal was to be closed. Most of this was accomplished by Summer, 1962, while the downtown terminal did not close until mid October of that year. Accordingly, the Lackawanna mainline was completely removed as follows: Lancaster to North Alexander, 21 miles, and Groveland to Wayland. 14 miles. A further 21 miles of the line from Greigsville to North Alexander was removed in 1985.
With the Spring 1961 timetable change, most former Lackawanna passenger trains got new numbers to harmonized with those of the Erie. Examples included, Phoebe Snow's Buffalo section, Nos. 31 and 32 (L3 and L6), Buffalo Lake Cities, Nos. 35 and 36, while the Owl, No. 15 and The New York Mail, No. 10, kept the same numbers. A major routing change that took place that year, involved ex-Erie Trains 1, 2, 5 and 6, which were rerouted to run via Scranton between Hoboken and Binghamton instead of their traditional All Erie routing, which was kept by Nos. 7 and 8, which were joined by Delaware Division locals 21, 22, 61-25 and 26 to compensate for this. Connections among all these trains were made at Binghamton.
Although the operational side of the Erie Lackawanna merger seemed to be going very well, clashing personalities of key personnel from both the Erie and Lackawanna sides was anything but a success. This was unfortunate, for the harmful effects on the Erie Lackawanna Railroad were long-term, and eventually helped to sink the carrier. This situation, which occurred primarily at top management levels, was akin to the Red and Green team feuding that prevailed at Penn Central and helped to sink that company. Despite the best planning and intentions by management from both sides, the managerial side of Erie Lackawanna still behaved as if the two railroads were still separte, while the field forces were making every effort to make the railroad a viable proposition. True, the Erie Railroad was the surviving corporation, with the Lackawanna merged into it and technically, eliminated. It is quite possible that had the merger not occurred, both railroads might have gone bankrupt much sooner than the merged railroad did. A Lackawanna bankruptcy is said to have been projected by 1970, while, how much longer the Erie Railroad would have held out is a debatable point.
Be that as it may, the Erie Lackawanna Railroad was not plagued with anywhere near the dishonesty, backbiting, and double crosses that together with insider stock trading, helped destroy Penn Central in less than three years. In addition, another difference between Erie Lackawanna and Penn Central was that Penn Central simply ran wild, while Erie Lackawanna did not. Yet it was the Penn Central, with its predatory tactics, that would help sink the Erie Lackawanna by destroying its vital Maybrook connection with the New Haven Railroad, soon to become part of PC. Boston bound boxcars delived by the Erie Lackawanna to the New Haven, say, Monday morning, would be in Boston that same evening. A slowdown instigated by Penn Central had these box cars taking longer and longer to reach Boston from Maybrook, NY that a week's transit time via this connection became typical. This effectively destroyed the Maybrook connection. This would cost Erie Lackawanna approximately $25,000 a day in lost revenues. An alternative Boston routing Erie Lackawanna had at its disposal was the Binghamton-Mechanicville-Boston routing with Delaware and Hudson and Boston and Maine railroads, with which the railroad was already interchanging piggyback trains PB99 and PB100 as well as TC99 and TC100.
This routing had several drawbacks;
This was the only alternative routing the Erie Lackawanna had for its Boston bound freight other than the New Haven/PC routing. Add to the above drawbacks, the fact that the Boston and Maine's east-west main line was not in very good physical condition and you had a situation where the EL was essentially stuck with few, if any Boston routing options, and not very good ones at that. In the pages to follow, we shall take a look at the various aspects of Erie Lackawanna and its operations.
To regulate the safe, smooth flow of traffic across its system, Erie Lackawanna had dispatchers' offices in Hoboken, Scranton, Hornell, Buffalo. Youngstown, and Marion, Ohio. Their territorial responsibilities were as follows:
The division points of Port Jervis, Binghamton, Hornell. and Youngstown, along the mainline served as crew change points as did Marion, Ohio. Some crew changes were made at the depot, while others were made in the Yard. Thus, a crew out of Hornell could thereotically make a complete round trip to Buffalo or Binghamton in the same day assuming that the train they were assigned to arrived on time. Even on its last legs, Erie Lackawanna kept service quality higher than that of the much larger Penn Central had ever done in most years.
WEBMASTER COMMENT - On the west end, crew change points were Huntington IN, Marion OH, Kent OH and Meadville PA. Typically crew change points were every 100 miles or so. This comes from the steam engine days when 100 miles was about all the trains could go. When division run through were established, train crews would run from Chicago to Marion and Marion to Meadville.
In addition to the six dispatchers offices systemwide, the Erie Lackawanna also had 55 daytime train order offices open to forward train orders to the appropriate train crews on the system. Many of these train order offices also doubled as agency stations to handle the freight business of the towns in which they were located and that of adjacent stations, especially on branch lines that still had agencies. Until through line passenger service dried up, they also served the needs of travelers using Erie Lackawanna trains. On the New York Division, agent operators really had their hands full, for there were over 250 commuter passenger trains. numerous local freights and main line through freights to be delt with. Most through freights were scheduled to operate during those times of the day that passenger traffic was relatively light, usually late at night or at midday. Late running freights that absolutely had to be in Croxton Yardor Port Morris Yard were threaded down through the commuter rush that both freight and commuter trains were not undully delayed.
On the Cleveland-Youngstown Line, this didn't seem to matter as much as commuter trains 28 and 29 were the only passenger service left on the line, which was still a double-tracked mainline which still handled considerable ore traffic as well as several scheduled freights. Support facilities essential to the railroad's operation included diesel shops at Marion and Hornell, a major car shop at Meadville which handled system wide freight car repairs and passenger car shops in the Hoboken area to handle the electric MU cars and the push-pull commuter fleet. In addition, the ex-Lackawanna car and diesel shops were kept in use to handle the Scranton Division's needs as well as the rest of the railroad's east end. The Meadville car shop lasted into the Conrail era and then was shut down by 1980. The Hornell Diesel shop, which was the main system diesel shop, was acquired by Morrison Knudson to work on subway and commuter cars, which it still does today.
Shop facilities, locomotives. and cars were only part of the story, for the Erie Lackawanna Railroad was made up of people, who despite intercorporate rivalries in the early years, took great pride in the iob and art of railroading; a pride that is said by some, to have dminished with the coming of Conrail, but a pride that is still present, none the less. While engineers, conductors, firemen, and brakemen moved the trains, the task of making up these trains in their originating terminals fell to yardmasters, clerks, yard engine crews and other yard personnel. These people worked with the railroad's traffic department to service the needs of the customers who relied on the railroad to transport their goods to market, and in New Jersey, get commuters to work on time, which the railroad did a top quality job of right up to inclusion in Conrail.
Keeping track of and regulating the assortment of train movements across the Erie Lackawanna system was the job of the train dispatchers, just as it is on any railroad. When the Erie installed Centralized Traffic Contiol on its system, the dispatchers were able to follow the progress of each train across a track diagram displayed on a control board in front of each man, who was responsible for a specific section of the railroad. In addition, he recorded the passing times of trains at key locations on a large trainsheet, onto which were recorded train symbols, engine numbers, names of engineers and conductors assigned to each train. These locations were arranged in station order, usually from west to east with the list of stations and interlockings in the middle with eastbound movements to the left and westbound moves to the right of the station column. There was a dividing line between freight trains and passenger trains on each side of the train sheet. The following pages depict the Susquehanna, Delaware and Allegany Division train records for Wednesday, May 3, 1961 and will give one an idea of how busy Erie Lackawanna's main line was that day. All trains, both freight and passenger, are included.
|No.10 - NEW YORK MAIL||815-8442-810||ten cars|
|No.8 - ATLANTIC EXPRESS||829-833-831||nineteen cars|
|No.26||826-861||8 cars out of Hornell, 12 east of Bing.|
|No.6 - THE LAKE CITIES||827-820||11 cars|
|No.2 ERIE-LACKAWANNA LIMITED||Engines not available||8 cars.|
|PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD TRAINS|
|WESTBOUND FREIGHT TRAINS|
|LV 223||4 cars|
|Wayland Turn||1279||6/17 cars|
|Way||1225 -1216||29/26 cars|
|D&H 4036||0/12 cars|
|PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD TRAINS|
|ANE 74||7301||84 cars|
On these trains, only the lead engine number is shown as most of these trains ran with four-unit sets, while others ran with three units. Those with 8 or fewer cars ran with one unit, usually the same unit in both directions. The Tioga Division showed Engine 427 operating with a car count of 4-1 in both directions. Also, many of these through trains operated to and from the Delaware and New York Divisions eastbound, Mahoning, Kent, and Marion Divs. westbound, except forthe Buffalo trains. most of which were ex-Lackawanna runs.
Data from Dispatcher's train sheet of Wednesday, May 3, 1961 from the Hornell, NY dispatcher's office. Usually freight diesel sets ran a Marion-Chicago, New York-Marion circuit receiving routine fuel, water and other supplies at division points as needed while passenger power ran Hornell-Chicago-New York-Hornell circuits as typified by the E8 fleet (units 809-833).
|No.8 ATLANTIC EXPRESS||829-833-831||14 cars|
|No.7 PACIFIC EXPRESS||818-819||12 cars|
|NS Pushers||1204-1205||lite to Deposit|
|ANE 74||7031-7032-7033-7034||61 cars|
|NY98||1204-1227 Psh, 7071-2-7082-1||106 cars|
|77||7102, 7042-7041||46/66 cars|
The work train operated in both directions in this territory as did the two-unit pusher sets operating on the Delaware Division. As can be seen by the consists and trains from these 1961 trainsheets, the Erie Lackawanna had a ligh level of service for some time.
Erie Lackawanna Railroad, like predecessor Erie Railroad, was always big on fast freight service from merger day and throughout the 1960s. During those years. Erie Lackawanna was still a 60 mph freight hauler with 70 mph for passenger trains. Many of the Erie Railroad's best freight trains; the 74s, 98s, 99s, and 100s were developed into families of trains, each with different traffic obligations and service objectives. These families consisted of NY74, MF74, NE74, NE98, NY98, DN98, N98, RC98, PN98, NE100, N100, PB100 for the eastbound fleet, and NY97, NE97, NE99, NY99, PB99, CX99, XC99, MB99, SC99, and RDG99 for the westbound fleet. These were just some of the 44 mainline through freight trains Erie Lackawanna operated each day. Over on the former Lackawanna Railroad, there were some outstanding freight trains in operation such as Nos. 20, 90, BS2, NE2, PB2, NE4, NE6, PB1, HB3, NE3, NE5, SB3, which made up the Lackawanna's principal freight fleet. Of these trains, PB1 and PB2 were all TOFC trains operating between Hoboken and Buffalo and were the elite trains of the Ex-Lackawanna portion of Erie Lackawanna's freight train fleet. BY 1974, however, virtually all the ex Lackawanna freight symbol trains would be gone from the fleet, for the Erie Lackawanna Railway would be on its last legs by then.
Erie Lackawanna freight trains were assembled and blocked into as many as 18 groupings or blocks of cars according to the service objectives of the train involved. If a shipper's marketing strategy required it, cars enroute in most trains could be diverted to receivers other than the originally designated on the bill of lading and waybill. Train NE74, a Boston Market train was an exception. Due to this train's service objectives, no diversions could be accepted on any cars already enroute in this train. Empty passenger head end cars, such as baggage, mail and express cars developing at Dearborn Station, etc. was handled on most Croxton bound eastbounds lined into the train ahead of the caboose on the train handling such equipment.
The car groupings for Erie Lackawanna's eastbound freight train fleet were organized as follows:
Principal trains handling these groupings include NE74, NY74, NE98, PN98, NY98, NE100 and NY100 to name a few. The Erie Lackawanna freight service encompassed 676 stations in its six state service area and for optimum service, it was essential that each train be made up and properly blocked in order for that train to achieve its service objectives on an on time basis. While the eastbound freight groupings were fairly straightforward, the Westbound classifications were considerably more involved due to the number of other railroads with which the Erie Lackawanna interchanged traffic, particularly in the Chicago Terminal area.
These groupings were contained in the Erie Lackawanna's Freight Schedule Book, which also specified how each train was to be made up, its approximate schedule and connections. While this information is from the April 30, 1967 freight schedule book, many of the groupings train symbols and other data remained much the same right up to Erie Lackawanna's final days of operation, reduced track speed, notwithstanding.
By the time the 1967 Freight Schedule book was issued, the Erie Lackawanna was beginning to receive the first of what would be a fleet of 34 SD45 six axle 3600 hp road diesels. These powerful locomotives were part of Bill White's program to beef up the railroad's freight service and put two F3/F7 units out to pasture for each SD45 received. Two SD45s could handle the load of what four F7s had handled in years past. These locomotives proved to be especially ideal for fast TOFC freight service which eventually amounted to 20% of Erie Lackawanna's total revenues. The trade in ratio of F-units for the SD45S was four Fs for each pair of SD45s received. These SD45s were followed by a similar number of freight only SDP45s which came with 5000 gallon fuel tanks in 1968-69, thus continuing a redieselization program begun by William White back in 1963. The first three years of this program brought 15 Alco C424s, 12 C425s, 27 GE U25Bs, 36 EMD GP35s to the freight service side of the railroad. In addition, 15 GE U33Cs, 13 GE U36Cs and a like number of SD45-2s, which like the SDPS, came with 5000 gallon fuel tanks, all rounded out the redieselization Program as far as Erie Lackawanna was able to carry it out. All this post 1963 motive power enabled the railroad to maintain high quality freight service right up to the time the Erie Lackawanna disappeared into Conrail on April 1, 1976. One final locomotive order, had it not been cancelled consisted of 20 EMD GP38-2s, and 23 GE U23Bs, would have retired the last 30 F7s and all the E8s then engaged in freight service, most likely 18 of the 23 remaining E8s. Though these units were despareitely needed, Erie Lackawanna could not afford them, for in 1975, all twelve Alco C425s had been repossessed, forcing, the EL to place some more of its older F units back into service. Today, much of the west end of the railroad is gone, while ten different railroads operate freight service on what is left of the Erie Lackawanna. These are Conrail, Delaware & Hudson, New York & Lake Erie, Buffalo Southern, Delaware-Lackawanna, New York, Susquehanna & Western, Pocono Northeast, North Shore, Spencerville & Elgin, and Tippecanoe Railroad. All operate freight service on various parts of the Erie Lackawanna. New York and Lake Erie also operates a popular excursion program on its part of the railroad. Of the two major players on the former Erie Lackawanna, Delaware & Hudson (Now St. Lawrence & Hudson) operates more through freight service on the line than landlord Conrail does. Both Conrail and STL&H operate unit coal trains in each direction. Conrail trains BUOI and OIBU perform local freight service on the line west of Hornell, while D&H trains 270 and 271 perform interchange service Silver Springs with Rochester Southern. BUOI picks up and sets off cars at Castile, Arkport, and Hornell on its eastbound trip, while OIBU services Gang Mills, Erwin, Hornell, Silver Springs, Attica, and Alexander in its westbound trip, though the service pattern of each train may vary day to day, according to its consist that day. BUOI and OIBU follow an all Erie routine between Buffalo and New Jersey, while certain trains pick up the former Lackawanna (D&H owned) on the east end of Binghamton. Compare these service patterns by Conrail, Delaware & Hudson, and New York, Susquehanna & Western to the operations Erie Lackawanna had in effect in its final years.
Another interesting aspect of Erie Lackawanna's freiht service operations was the adaptation of most of the 23 remaining E8s for freight service. Each locomotive was rewired, regeared and ballasted for freight work as it was no longer needed for passenger work, which from 1970 on consisted of suburban service on the railroad's east end and a Cleveland-Youngstown train. Instructions were issued to engine crews on how to start heavy trains with the E8 freight units, which were usually operated in consists of three or four units, depending on the size and weight of the train involved.
Perhaps the saddest chapter in Erie Lackawanna's all too brief 15 1/2 year history was the decline and dissappearance of its through passenger service, for which great promises were made. Both merger partners brought many fine passenger trains into their marriage. In addition, both railroads had contrasting styles of passenger train operation. Erie Railroad's principal passenger trains, Nos. 1 and 2, The Erie Limited, 5 and 6 The Lake Cities, 7 Pacific Express and 8 Atlantic Express were all heavy on headend traffic, of which trains 7 and 8 clearly outdid all the others in this respect. These last two trains were primarily for mail, baggage, and express, with the passenger accomodations, usually a coach and a sleeper, essentially an afterthought. The sleeper was usually switched into train 7 at Salamanca and set off at Marion, while a diner from Youngstown to Marion was added at that location. Thus, with timetable on hand, the Erie traveller had three trains each way from which to choose for his trip.
On the other hand, the Lackawanna Railroad was more passenger-oriented than the Erie, for its finest trains were fast and operated on the shortest rail roaute between Buffalo and New York, which was a strong selling point of the Lackawanna as was its premier train, Nos. 3 and 6, THE PHOEBE SNOW, which was almost always entirely a lightweight consist from its first revenue run on November 15, 1949 to its final demise on November 27-28, 1966, a short seventeen years later. At the time, Lackawanna Railroad bought a total of 38 lightweight cars for this train and its principal running mates which included No 10 New York Mail, 15 The Owl, The Westerner, Pocono Express, and New Yorker. The Westerner and New Yorker later became The Buffalo Lake Cities, Nos. 35 and 36. Before this and other changes were made, the merger occured on October 17, 1960 and the merged railroad's first new timetables were issued thirteen days later, when the time change occured. These included, Form 1, a system through service timetable which was an easy to read affair and contained the Cleveland trains as well.
Supplementing this timetable was the Form 2 which covered all service between Hobokn and Binghamton via both Sranton and Port Jervis. It also included all of the Hoboken-Port Jervis local trains then in operation as well. This ex-Erie timetable was essentially a joint Delaware and Scranton division public folder. The suburban timetables will be discussed later. Both railroads also brought a fleet of some 1200 passenger cars into the merger, many of them used in suburban service. Lackawanna's contribution included 68 seat coaches 301-321, 325-325, 36 seat diners 769 and 770. Tavern-Lounge observation cars 789 and 790, 10 roomette-6 double bedroom sleepers Chenangp, Cohocton, Kittatiny, Lackawanna, Pequest, Pocono, Tioghnioga, Tobyhanna, and Tunkhannock. The Erie railroad contributed approximately 300 Stillwell coaches, some of them semi-streamlined, Pullman 10-6s including American Unity, American Life, American Sailor, American Way, Charles Minot, Eleazor Lord, Daniel Craig McCallum, Pride of Youngstown, and Spirit of Youngstown. Some of Erie's Stillwell coaches were so equipped that they could be used in either suburban or through service. This pool of passenger equipment gave the Erie Lackawanna Railroad the necessary two sets of equipment per train to protect 11 schedules on the through service runs. Available to power all these trains were E8s 809-833, Alco PAs 850-863, GP7s 1400-1409, Alco RS3s 901-917, 934-954, and ex Lackawanna F3s 8411-8454 (15 units), usually run in sets of three. In addition 10 of the 12 ex-Lackawanna Trainmaster roadswitchers could also be used in passenger service, though these twelve locomotives were in ore service by this time. The F3s were the first units removed from the passenger pool, this being done in 1963. The RS3s and GP7s worked mostly suburban runs and were joined by the Alco PAs before those were put in freight service on EL's west end.
The EMd E8s held down most through passenger assignments, while Alco RS2s, PAs, and EMD GP7s of the 1400 series powered various commuter runs. Right up to the merger, the Erie Railroad generally operated its E8s in consecutively numbered pairs; 820-821, 822-823, 824-825, 826-827, 828-829, 830-831, and 832-833, with the odd numbered unit pointed west, even numbered unit pointed east, coupled back to back. While the Lackawanna Railroad, on the other hand, paired its E8s up randomly as needed into five pairs. The Eleventh unit worked other trains singly or in combination with two-thirds of an F3 set. Shortly before the merger, both railroads began installing nose-multiple unit connections on all their passenger power so that the E8s, PAs could be run in sets of three or more units on a given train as needed. Expected loadings for a given train usually determined if a third unit would be needed. Trains 7, The Pacific Express, and 8, Atlantic Express, being heavy on head end traffic, would often get three E8s for power as would Nos. 1 and 2 The Phoebe Snow during peak travel periods. Some trains even ran in at least two sections as well. A typical consist for Nos. 1 and 2 usually ran as follows: 2 or three E8s (817-818-820), 1 baggage, 1 RPO car, 1 Express, Diner 769 or 770, 1 10-6 sleeper, 4 68 seat coaches, Tavern-Lounge car (789 or 790) plus 1 or 2 sealed express cars behind the diesels. Nos. 7 and 8 usually consisted of a through coach, a Salamanca-New York/Marion sleeper, and a Youngstown-Marion Diner as the passenger accomodations. Balance of each train (11-14 cars) consisted of a baggage/express car, a Railway Post Office, two piggyback flatcars with trailers loaded with express/and or storage mail. In 1961, Erie Lackawanna bacame one of the first, if not the first, railroads to convey piggyback service in mainline passenger trains.
Before the merger, the typical operating cycles for what later became a 25 unit E8 fleet ran something like this; for Erie units, engine changes would be made at Hornell and a set, say, 833-832 would work a complete Hornell-Chicago-New York-Hornell cycle before these units came off the train for routine shopping, being replaced by a fresh set of untis. If one unit of a set could not continue in service, an Alco PA was often substituted. On the Lackawanna, the E8 operating cycle was roughly Scranton-Hoboken-Buffalo-Scranton for the eleven unit fleet as well as for the passenger F3s, which were used on secondary trains as well as second sections of The Phoebe Snow and other feature trains. The merged railroad eventually adapted the Erie's operating pattern for these units as well, with engines changes at Hornell after 1962.
If one were to review Erie Lackawanna's Form 1 through service timetables closely, one would find that most of the service cuts prior to August 1, 1965 involved ex-Lackawanna trains, while the railroad tried to keep ex-Erie services intact as long as possible. The former Erie mainline kept three through passenger trains each way west of Binghamton from October 30. 1960 until August 1, 1965, when Nos. 7 and 8, the Pacific and Atlantic Expresses were replaced by pure mail and express trains 3 and 4, operating on approximately the same schedules, but no passengers carried on these two trains. Between Binghamton and Port Jervis, just Nos. 21 and 22 remained to accomodate Delaware Division passengers, while the through trains with which these two trains connected, ran via the ex-Lackawanna Scranton Division.
In the fall of 1966, the end came for Nos. 1 and 2, The Phoebe and Delaware Division locals Nos 21 and 22 between Port Jervis and Binghamton; last passenger service between those points. On November 27, 1966, Phoebe Snow's final westbound consist looked like this:
It should be kept in mind that this train was only the first section of the final westbound Phoebe Snow, for the numerous rail enthusiasts and college students returning to campus swelled the ridership to such volume that a second section in each direction was necessary to handle the unusually large passenger volume for this train's final run. Other than the Tavern-Lounge coming off at Meadville and Business car coming off at Youngstown, the train continued on to Chiago pretty much intact. Since the final No.2 was already enroute from Chicago, while No. 5 The Lake Cities was enroute to Chiago, the extra headend cars, not needed on No. 6 would be deadheaded east in the first available freight train designated to handle this equipment lined into the train ahead of the caboose, while No. 6 would handle the extra passenger cars off the final No. 1.
While the Fhoebe Snow's consist was running its final miles, Nos. 21 and 22, Phoebe Snow's Delaware Division connection, was running with extra cars with ex-Erie 833 providing the power in both directions. No.22 conveyed Business car 300 to Hoboken on its final run. By the next day, the Delaware Division would be freight only and Phoebe Snow gone forever. By this time, the Alco PAs had alredy been placed in freight service and the E8s not needed for through Passenger service became available for commuter service on the New York Division. These began joining the Alco RS3s and 1400 series GP7s in this service at the time.
The only through passenger train of consequence was Nos. 5 and 6, The Lake Cities, while No. 15 The Owl, and No. 10 The New York Mail, continued hauling mail, express, and an occasional passenger until May 30, 1969 when they made their final runs. Leaving No. 5 and 6 the final through service passenger train on the railroad. There still was the Cleveland-Youngstown local, Nos. 28 and 29, which received five of the ex Phoebe Snow coaches to upgrade that train. The surplus through line equipment became available to operate various special excursion trains, which the EL came to operate over the years, including a 1968 Binghamton-Hoboken trip, which became the last passenger run the Alco PAs would ever see. This used E8 No. 833 to provide steam heat as all the PAs had been stripped of their boilers when they were placed into freight service out of Marion. Cleveland-Youngstown trains 28 and 29, which had once been a prime PA assignment, were the last of a once extensive through line service between Cleveland, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, Washington, and Baltimore, operated in concert with the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie and Baltimore & Ohio railroads. These two trains continued until January 17,1977, when they were discontinued by Conrail. Prior to this, on January 4-5, 1970, through passenger service on the Erie Lackawanna, reached the end of the line with the final runs of Nos. 5 and 6, The Lake Cities, which appeared in Chicago as just headend cars and coaches, a discouragement to business on the railroad's west end. What killed Erie Lackawanna's through passenger service? Well, there were many factor, of which government subsidy of nonrail competitors was a main culprit. Another factor was the Postal Service's irrational decision to remove the mail from the trains, depriving the EL and other railroads of dearly needed revenue, and resulting in a decline of the quality of mail service. Still another factor that aided the demise of Erie Lackawannas through passenger service, was the railroad's own management, which seemed not to do all the could be done to promote the fine trains the EL had. The railroad's chronic financial problems did not help either. About the only management person who tried to stem the negative tide was William White who was very familiar with the railroad and both its predecessors. For awhile though, it seemed that Bill White's efforts to preserve good train service on the Erie Lackawanna had some chance of success. The Febnuary 1, 1968 merger of the New York Central and Pennsylvania Railroads into Penn Central may have added to Erie Lackawanna's troubles and that railroad's predatory behaviour was in the end, a good part of Erie Lackawanna's undoing.
Perhaps some sort of passenger service will return to former Erie Lackawanna rails outside of the commuter zone. Most likely is commuter service to Stroudsburg, PA proposed by NJ Transit, which will use push-pull equipment on the line. Portions of the line will have to be reinstalled before this can happen and that includes the Lackawanna Cutoff, removed by Conrail in the 1980s. Even though commuter service was an adjunct of the total passenger operation, it is a separate chapter unto itself and our next topic.
The east end of the Erie Lackawanna Railway was best charaterized by extensive, expensive commuter train service operated on most of the New York Division's trackage. At the time of the merger, these consisted of the following lines:
|1.||New York-Port Jervis||88.2 miles||Erie|
|2.||Bergen County Line||5.3 miles||Erie|
|3.||Newark Branch||12.4 miles||Erie|
|4.||Northern Branch||29.0 miles||Erie|
|5.||NJ & NY Railroad||31.5 miles||Erie|
|6.||Greenwood Lake Line||32.3 miles||Erie|
|7.||Caldwell Branch||5.8 miles||Erie|
|8.||Morristown Line||41.5 miles||DL&W|
|9.||Gladstone Line||20.5 miles||DL&W|
|10.||Montclair Line||4.1 miles||DL&W|
|11.||Boonton Line||59.0 miles||DL&W|
|12.||Sussex Branch||21.5 miles||DL&W|
This encompased a total of 55 route miles of which 205 miles, or two-thirds was Erie Railroad operated and the other 146.6, or one-third, Lackawanna Railroad operated. Those 146.6 miles comprised the Lackawanna's Morris and Essex Diviigion, while Erie Railroad's New York Division comprised the rest. Equipment used on the trains that serviced these lines was well-maintained, but beginning to, to put it mildly, was showing its age. The Erie Railroad employed approximately 150 of its renown Stillwell coaches in this service, while the Lackawanna Railroad relied on 141 married pairs of electric multiple unit motor and trailer cars and open vestibuled Boonton coaches for its portion of the commuter service. All were classic heavyweight coaches dating from the early part of the 20th Century. The roster of the Lackawanna electrics, which were retired in 1984 follows.
|Car Numbers||Kind of car||Qty.||Date||Mfr.|
|3200-3249||Low roof trailer coach||50||1925||Pullman|
|4300-4357||High roof trailer||38||1917-20||Pullman|
|4338-4367||Low roof trailer||30||1917-20||Pullman|
|3405-3414||L.R. trailer combine||10||1925||Bethlehem|
|H.R. Trailer combine||5||1921||Pullman|
|3450-3454||Club trailer car||5||1912||Barney & Smith|
|3455||Club Trailer car||1||1917||Pullman|
The majority of the trailer coaches were converted from locomotive hauled stock by American Car & Foundry. Through the years, Erie Lackawanna and successors Conrail and NJ Transit managed to keep the vast majority of these cars in service by taking, the worst ones out of service and cannabalizing them for parts. Unlike the other equipment that transformed the commuter service, it was the Lackawanna electrics that gave the Morris & Essex lines the flavor of an interurban trolley line. By 1965, the Erie Lackawanna was able to pursuade the state of New Jersey to fund the commuter service, as due to its financial condition, the railroad was no longer able to continue absorbin the losses on the commuter service, which constituted the lion's share of Erie Lackawanna's total passenger operations.
The contract that the Erie Lackawanna signed with the State of New Jersey led to the infusion of Budd built coaches purchase from the Santa Fe Railroad and modified for commuter service. These allowed the railroad to junk worst of the Stillwell cars, which were beginning to noticeably show their age. The 26 El Caoitan cars, as these stainless steel coaches were called, gave an Erie Lacakawanna train equipped them, the appearance of an intercity train. These cars arrived in 1969 and went to work the Pascack Valley Line, these cars looked especially majestic pulled by a pair of E8s coupled back to back.
With the 26 El Capitan coaches, the reequipping of the diesel powered commuter service on Erie Lackawanna had begun. The next step came in 1971, when the first of the push-pull equipment, comprising 105 coaches and 25 GE U34CH diesel locomotives of 3430 hp each arrived. These resembled the freight service U33s in appearance, other than paint scheme, but were equipped an engine-driven alternator for train ligthing, heating, and air conditionining. These locomotives were the precursor of the 3600 hp U36C's, of which Erie Lackawanna would receive 13. Prior to this, commuter service on the Sussex, Northern, Caldwell, Carlton Hill, and Newark branches ended in 1966, with Sussex branch completely abandoned north of Andover Junction.
On February 25, 1971, effective with the new timetables issued on that date, the push-pull trains officially went into service on the Pascack Valley, Booton, Main and Berge County Lines between Hoboken and Suffern, thus bumping most of the E8s then in use, into freight service on the railroad's west end. This left just the Port Jervis trains still commanding E8s and Stillwell coaches, for the State of New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority had to reach agreement with the State of New Jersey before NJDOT equipment could be used on the Port Jervis trains. Besides 833, the passenger pool of E8s had dwindled to 816, 817, 824, 826, and 832.
In 1974, a second order of 40 coaches and five more U34CH locomotives had been delivered, spelling the beginning of the end for the conventional trains, which still operated the Port Jervis service. This came on Saturday, September 14, when train 70 left Port Jervis for Hoboken with Three E8s and fifteen Stillwells, while the new equipment deadheaded to Port Jervis to await the Monday morning crowd. Train 77 returned to Port Jervis with just one E8 and three Stillwells, making these final runs very well photographed trains indeed. On Monday, September 16, 1974, the new order had finally taken over. The E8s to the Youngstown passenger pool and most went into freight service, thus ending an era when commuter trains in New Jersey imitiated the dearly departed intecity trains in appearance, if not total operation. This left Cleveland-Youngtown trains 28-29, with Phoebe Snow coaches as the last of the breed. As such, this train was Erie lackawanna's last passenger train service outside of the New Jersey commuter zone. As such, there was and end for this, too, for this train would carry on for three more years until Conrail discontinued it on January 17, 1977, after which the E8s and coaches were used in Chicago for a time. E8 #825 ar CR 4014 wound up finishing its days in commuter service on New York and Long Branch North Jersey Coast commuter service, while 833, as CR 4022, is the last survivor of a once proud fleet of 25 such units stabled by the Erie and Lackawanna railroads. The U34CHs were numbered 3351-3382 and the cab cars, etc. numbered as follows:
|Cab Cars||1500-1534||104 seats|
|Bar trailer cars||1600-1609||96 seats|
|trailer cars||1700-1898||108 seats|
All these cars are still in service on New Jersey Transit. The GE U34CHs have since been replaced by passenger-modified EMD GP40s in several variations, including some of the F40PH's. In addition, NJ transit has expanded service on several Erie Lackawanna Lines, including, the Pascack Vallev, Boonton, and Main Line. In concert with Metro North Railroad, not only has Port Jervis service expanded, but there is even Sunday service as well, something Erie Lackawanna dropped in 1966.
Even the Morris & Essex name has reappeared on public timetables after an absence of more than 30 years. These service improvements, along with revitalization of the Hoboken Terminal, which now also sees some ex CNJ and North Jersey Coast trains, has revititalized a part of the railroad that is vital i@or so for so many people.
With such projects as rebuilding the Lackawanna cutofff for renewed passenger service into Pennsylvania, melding the Montclair branch into the Boonton line, and other projects planned by New Jersey Transit, the future for the Erie Lackawanna commuter service does in deed look bright. That, the possibility of Amtrak service down from Buffalo, whatever that may be, and the recent return of trans-Hudson ferryboat service, the old New York Division of the Erie Lackawanna has never looked so good.
Even as the Erie Lackawanna's through passenger operations wound down, the depot agencies remained as important part of the railroad's overall operation as much as the trains themeselves. This remained true right up to the railroad's last day of independent operation before inclusion in Conrail the Conrail the next day. Conrail continued a number of these agencies for some time, recognizing the fact that Erie Lackawanna's station agencies were usually the first contacts customers had with the railroad.
The station agents were responsible for filling shippers' orders for cars, waybilling of loads, weighing, processing shippers' claims in case of damage to lading.
The paperwork used to do the job included waybills, bills of lading, switch lists, yard checks, freight bills, station revenue reports, and so on. Where commuter service was operated, station agents also attended to ticket sales, posting of timetables and announcements pertaining to service changes and/or disruptions. In addition, station agents were responsible for handling of train orders as transmitted by the dispatcher. A station agent was also responsible for the billings of freight cars and loads to and from adjacent nonagency stations assigned to his territory. On the Erie Lackawanna, like most railroads, the nonagency stations were growing in number as the railroad, sought to cut costs wherever possible.
|BUFFALO DIVISION||SCRANTON DIVISION||MAHONING DIVISION||MARION DIVISION|
|Silver Springs||Brisben||South Dayton||Eglin|
On these divisions, each of these stations also had charge of several nonagency stations and did all freight billings for them. In later years, and on the Groveland Branch; Mt. Morris handled freight billings for that entire branch as it was the last open station on that line.
Erie Lackawanna's New York Division had 59 agency passenger station and 50 nonagency passenger stations, plus 7 freight agency stations. The agency passenger stations handled both passenger ticketing and freight billing for the adjacent nonagency stations under their jurisdiction. Toward the end, Erie Lackawanna did not quite have a zone fare system in effect, but the railroad, under NJDOT guidance was working toward one. The start of the transition was shown in the EL's last public timetables of February 1976. Most of these stations doubled as freight agencies and train order offices, while Hoboken Terminal was and is strictly all passenger, though some freight offfices used some office space. The Hoboken Division dispatchers' office is located here. Recent changes by Jersey Transit have brought trains from ex Pennsylvania, Central of New Jersey, and NY&LB lines into the terminal via recently installed track connections in strategic locations.
Thus, Hoboken Terminal is no longer strictly an Erie Lackawanna terminal, now that ex PRR and CNJ trains on certain runs make their presence known. Erie Lackawanna's remaining ticket agents did't have to worry about interline ticketing or connections, for all their passenger traffic was strictly on line commuter traffic. Freight agents, on the other hand, had to keep abreast of car interchange rules, traffic embargoes, changes in routines, transit priveleges, dermmurage charges, and the like.
This was particularly important at a station located at a junction of one or more railroads. Examples of such interchange locations included: Corning, Elmira, Binghamton, Scranton, Waverly, Phillipsburg, Olean, Salamanca, Bath NY, Meadville, Corry, and Youngstown, to name a few of EL's interchange points.
At Silver Springs, for example, Erie Lackawanna interchanged some cars with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, which had a freight station of its own less than a block away. Both railroads served Morton Salt and each had its own its station agenct. Agents at the time were Messrs. Bob Pfister (EL) and Bob Poyldock (B&O), in whose highly capable hands the freight business of their respective railroads was entrusted. Quite often, both these station agents would have cars for each other's railroad and would exchange waybills and other shipping papers with each other while the train crews exchanged the cars themselves. On a typical shipment from Silver Springs, Mr. Pfister would phone the shipper at Morton Salt for instructions on how his shipment was to be routed and handled. In addition, Mr. Pfister would inquire as to what types of cars would be needed for loading, when, and how the cars were to be spotted. Is a rule, Morton used covered hopper cars for bulk loads and boxcars for package loads, which still holds true today. Once Mr. Pfister had all the information he needed to ship the loaded cars, the first paperwork he filled out was a 3 part bill of lading for each load. This consisted of 1-Bill of lading. 2-Shipping Order. 3-Memorandum, all of which were essentially duplicate copies. Copy 1accompanied the load and waybill, Ccopy 2 went to the shipper, and copy 3. the Memorandum, went into the station records. The next form Bob Pfister had to fill out was the waybill which specified, in detail, routing and handling instructions, initials, number, and weight of car, junction point of each connecting railroad, etc. In instances, a single waybill could be used for multiple carloads headed for the same receiver via the same routing. Such shipments are quite common at Morton Salt.
In its continuing efforts to cut costs, the Erie Lackawanna consolidated a number of agrency stations and tried not to compromise the service in any way. On the Groveland Branch, for example, all the stations closed one by one, until all were prepay stations. Bob Pfister closed Greigsville, while agent, Carl Howell closed both Groveland and Mt. Morris.
Mr. Plfister closed out his railroading career by closing, the Silver Springs agency, Conrail's last agency station in the area in 1981. Today, the train crews switching at a customer perform many of the agency functions with the aid of ZTS spotting maps and work orders. Central locations, such as Binghamton, Elmira, and Gang Mills handle the functions that previously took several dozen stations to perform. The typical work order issued to a switching crew specified the following items: Customer name, industry contact, customer location, cars to be spotted, spots cars are to be placed on, loaded cars to be pulled, and person who received the order. Under this set up, Buffalo Frontier covers the Southern Tier line from Euffalo to Castile, inclusive, Gang Mills covers Corning and stations west to Silver Springs, overlapping with Buffalo. Elmira covers all stations between that point and East Corning, while Binghamton covers that station and those between it and Waverly, plus the Delaware Division east to Deposit, while Port Jervis handles the rest. Had this set up been implemented in Erie Lackawanna's last years, the railroad's attempt at reorganization might have had a fighting chance to succeed.
Between October 17, 1960 and March 31, 1975, the Erie Lackawanna Railroad, unlike the New York, Ontario and Western has left behind a considerable paper trail of timetables, books, and other publications not only of the EL, itself, but of its two predecessor companies, the Erie and the Lackawanna. Not only has a fairly large volume of public timetable material been left behind, but a considerable amount of employee timetable material as well.
Form 1. System through service passenger timetable, first issue, October 30, 1960, last issue June 15, 1969.
Form 2. Joint Delaware Division, Scranton Division timetable for passenger trains between Hoboken and Binghamton on both routes. First issue, October 30,1960, last issue April 28, 1963
Form 7. Mainline/Bergen County Line/Newark Branch, first issue, October 30,1960, last with Newark Branch, 4-24-66, Final EL Form 7, February 25, 1976.
Form 8. Greenwood Lake/Boonton Line; First issue Oct. 20, 1960, last issue, February 25, 1976
Form 9 Northern Branch, first issue, Oct. 30,1960, last issue, April 24, 1966
Form 10, NJ&NY Pascack Valley Line, First issue, October 30, 1960 last issue February 25, 1976
Form 10A Morristown Line, Gladstone Branch, Montclair Branch, first issue; October 30, 1960, last issue, February 25, 1976.
Form CPW Cleveland-Pittsburgh-Washington via EL-P&LE-B&O, first issue published in 10-30-60 Form 1 timetable, last issue as CWY-Cleveland-Warren-Youngstown, March 15, 1974
As can be seen, timetable forms 2, 7, 8, 10 and 9 were continuations of former 7, Erie Railroad public timetable forms, while 10A was a continuation of that Lackawanna form.
The 10A timetable continued to be published in essentially the Lackawanna format until late 1970, after which the timetable was completely overhauled. The public timetables of the Erie Lackawanna told the passenrer and commuter story more graphically than any history book possibly could.
Behind the public timetables, were the employee timetables that made the schedules in the public forms possible. On October 30, 1960, six of these were issued, one for the ex Lackawanna Railroad's sysem, the others for Erie's New York, Susquehanna, Mahoning, Kent, and Marion divisions. Erie forms on other parts of the railroad remained in effect. April 30, 1961 saw new divisional timetables issued for the New York, Scranton, Susquehanna, and Buffalo Divisions for the Eastern District, and Allepheny-Meadville, Mahoning, Kent and Marion division timetables for the pure Erie Western District. The last Western District timetables were all issued October 28, 1962 and updated into 1963 by sticker supplements. That year, the districts were abolished, Allegany-Meadville Division merged into Mahoning Division and Kent Division merged into Marion Division. In the east, Scranton Division absorbed the remains of Erie's Wyoming, Division. The Delaware Division was merged into the Susquehanna Division and the Buffalo Division saw the rerouting of the ex Lackawanna passenger service via Erie rails to Buffalo instead of their traditional routing. The six divisional timetables issued on October 27, 1963 turned out to be the last individual issues to be produced. On April 26, 1964, the Erie Lackawanna placed the Buffalo. Susquehanna, Mahoning, and Marion divisons into a single timetable, of which eight more such timetables would be issued until the Scranton Division was placed in the timetable in 1971, making it the closest thing to a single system timetable the Erie Lackawanna could ever have. The Scranton and New York Divisions were in a single timetable from October 26, 1964 to April 27, 1969.
Since the Erie Lackawanna, like the Penn Central Railroad, which was part of E-L's undoing, had a relatively short, closed ended history, it may still be possible to assemble a nearly if not complete set of all the public and employee timetables put out by this beloved railroad in its 15 1/4 year history. It is in the pages of these timetables that one can get a good picture of the workings of this railroad, its early and declining years. One can get a picture of the through line passenger service that vanished from EL's rails in a short ten year span.
Not only can Erie Lackawanna timetables of one type or the other be met with with some frequency, but those of the railroad's two predecessor companies, the Erie and the Lackawanna as well. One couldn't ask for a better legacy than the considerable paper trail left behind by Erie Lackawanna and its predecessors. And what a legacy that is!
As to what killed the Erie Lackawanna in its 15 1/2 year history, one can point to a number of factors that played parts in the destruction of this beloved railroad, a railroaders railroad, if you will. One was the federal government's policy of subsidizing the railroads' competition, using many of the very same tax dollars the railroads themselves paid in. Excessively high property taxation, particularly in the state of New Jersey was another. Still another, but a minior factor, much like on Penn Central, was the chronic infighting among management personnel from both former railroads, much like the Red and Green Team feuding that helped destroy Penn Central, which had a major part in Erie Lackawanna's destruction, which came from destroying E-L's Maybrook connection with the New Haven Railroad, the move which began right after New York Central and Pennsy merged in early 1968. Then there was the Postal Service's lame brained decision to remove mail from the passenger trains, which helped destroy, what might still be viable passenger service had the mail stayed on and the service been better managed than it had been. Bill White did his best. Government's screwed up transportation policy or lack thereof helped kill ELs passenger service.
It seems that too many communities through which Erie Lackawanna's lines passed, used the railroad for such a cash cow, that as its traffic base was being eroded, much as a result of Federal policy, it is no wonder that the Erie Lackawanna Railroad had such big trouble making a go of it. The deck was stacked against it, so much so that the railroad could have had the finest management team in the industry and it still would not have made enough difference to prevent the railroad's eventual collapse, postpone it perhaps.
Another factor that contributed to Erie Lackawanna's troubles was the fact that after merger, the railroad hung onto too many outdated traditions. There wasn't or didn't seen, to be much in the way of service innovations to speak of. However one item that did play big in the railroad's favor was Bill White's successful effort to get the east end commuter service under the state of Jersey sponsorship at the time he did. This not only saved this vital service, but laid the foundation for the numerous service expansions that NJ Transit has accomplished in recent years. Perhaps if Amtrak had come along several years sooner than it did, at least one pair of Erie Lackawanna trains might be part of the system.
The difference between Erie Lackawanna's merger and that of Penn Central was that the Erie Lackawanna's was well thought out and put together over several years, with the first step being combining passenger terminals, which was done in 1956-57, the combining of mainlines between Elmira and Binghamton was another. These are two of the examples that the merging railroads two managements took their time in putting the new railroad together, while Penn Central people essentially through their railroad together overnight with an operational disaster as the result. Erie Lackawanna did not suffer the operational problems PC did, but the railroad did have its problems nevertheless, the biggest one, the top people fueding instead of working together like they should have was one big problem the railroad never really delt with until late in the game. By then, the damage had already been done.
It is a wonder the Erie Lackawanna Railroad held together as long as it did, hang in there E-L did, once the to p people got their heads screwed on stright. That is precisely where Conrail has succeeded where EL and PC had both-failed. And that's the name of THAT tune!