SCRANTON, Pa. — Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority have reached agreement on a study to assess a potential route between Scranton and New York City.
The Pocono Record reports Amtrak will look at the route’s infrastructure and estimate possible ridership and revenue, with the authority covering the $400,000 cost of the study.
The route is one of 39 first suggested in a map released by Amtrak in March [see “Amtrak unveils ‘Connect US’ map …,” Trains News Wire, March 31, 2021], and included in a more detailed report released in May [see “Amtrak ‘Corridor Vision’ report addresses expansion plans …,” Trains News Wire, May 27, 2021].
Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority President Larry Malski notes the potential Scranton route has one advantage over many others: it would not require dealing with a freight host railroad. The right-of-way is all owned by public agencies: the PNRRA, NJ Transit, and Amtrak. It would require rebuilding of the 28-mile Lackawanna Cutoff between Slateford, Pa., and Port Morris, N.J.; 7 miles of that route is currently being restored.
Amtrak’s “Corridor Vision” report estimates the 136-mile trip between Scranton and New York City would take 3 hours, 25 minutes, and projected three daily round trips.
The Amtrak study is expected to take about a year.