Resuming Rail Service In East Stroudsburg
The resumption of passenger rail service represents a great opportunity for East Stroudsburg. From the time of the Civil War, through the 1950s East Stroudsburg served as the hub of Monroe County, largly because of the access to the outside world provided by the rails. Today, East Stroudsburg sits poised to recapture that role because of the impending resumption of service.
The purpose od this page is to inform interested parties about the process to restore passenger rail service, and the progress that is being made.
Passenger rail service will be an extension of the existing New Jersey Transit rail system. It will provide 8 trips each way, each weekday, with limited weekend service. Upon completion of the full project, service will run from Scranton (near the Steamtown museum) to Hoboken, NJ (direct trips into Manhattan from the Poconos will be possible after a second tunnel is completed into NY from NJ in 2017). The trip from East Stroudsburg to Hoboken is scheduled to take about 2 hours.
Click Here for a system map
Click here for the NJT project page
When will it happen?
First it is important to note that the entire project received a "Finding of no Signifigant Impact" or FONSI in October 2009. That means that the federal government has determined that the project will not have any negative side effects that would prevent it from being built, it also means that Pennsylvania and New Jersey may begin building this project as soon as funds are raised. In fact, New Jersey has begun to build the first 7.3 miles of the project to Andover, NJ.
When will this project be funded?
There are two funding streams that will likley be used to build this project.
The first possibility is the "American Reinvestment and Recovery Act" commonly reffered to as stimulus money. This winter the federal government will be awarding eight billion dollars to passenger rail projects accross the country through a competative grant process. The grants are divided into 4 catagories (or tracks), and the Lackawanna Cutoff project is seeking funding under track 3. Click here for an explination of the four tracks from Washington State, track information is at the bottom half of the page.
Pennsylvania has applied for about $401 million dollars for the Lackawanna Cutoff Project under track 3. This application is also sponsored by the State of New Jersey. If PA is awarded this grant it will be used to resore passenger rail service up to East Stroudsburg, with the remaining portion to Scranton to be built as phase 3.
The other funding stream that may be used for the Lackawanna Cutoff Project is traditional "TIP" or transportation Improvment Program money that is alowcated at the regional level through our Rural Planning Organization, or RPO. If our RPO chooses to make the Lackawanna Cutoff a priority our region can spend some of it's annual federal transportation dollars on the project. That money would then likley be suplimented by the Federal Transit Administrations "New Starts" program. Typically "New Starts" funding will cover 80% of the capital cost for expanding or resuming service.
How long will the project take to build once funding is secured?
Since the entire cutoff was already a railroad, much of the most difficult work in re-establishing service is already done. The bridges and embankments are already built, so relativly little earth moving will need to be done. Relaying track, upgrading signals, and building stations will be the bulk of this project, and this work, once funded can be completed in as little as 2 years.
Will Passenger Rail Service lead to increased Crime?
While no one can predict the future, we can all learn from the past. In the early part of this decade New Jersey Transit opened the River Line train system as a commuter line from South Jersey into Philadelphia. Since the line opened, a local newspaper, the Glouchester Times, compared crime statistics in the neighbrohoods that got new stations before and after the stations opened, here is what they found.
Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority
The Penn Jersey Rail Coalition
Lackawanna Cutoff on Wikipedia
Letter to Ray LaHood (Secretary of Transportation) from US Senators Specter and Casey in response to ARRA Rail Grant Decisions
Pennsylvania Applies for $28.2 Million for High-Speed Rail Projects (
High-speed rail advocates say $8B is just a start (AP)
Is there more you'd like to know about passenger rail service to the Poconos? Is there something else you think should be explained on this page? If so, please email ECA, and tell us about it.
Thanks to PP&L for the grant to develop the ECA's Website