When looking for a quick getaway from NYC, you can always rely on Amtrak to offer some incredible scenic rides, and they’re now adding one more to the list. (pssst–listen up “The Office” fans, this one’s for you.
After conducting a two-year analysis, Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority (PNRRA) found that creating a rail service between Scranton and New York would result in major economic benefits, and there’s a strong potential for ridership in doing so.
Anyone fancy a visit to Dunder Mifflin?
“Passenger rail service in and out of Scranton was discontinued in 1970, only one year before Amtrak was created,” said Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner. “Restoring and expanding this corridor with daily multi-frequency service would dramatically boost mobility and economic development for residents of Scranton and Northeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and the broader Northeast region.”
The proposed service would utilize existing tracks in Pennsylvania between Scranton and the Delaware Water Gap, 20 miles of restored tracks on the “Lackawanna Cutoff” between Delaware Water Gap and Andover, New Jersey, and existing tracks owned and operated by NJ TRANSIT and Amtrak between Andover and NYC.
The route’s outlined vision plan includes:
- 3 roundtrips/day between New York and Scranton, approximately 2 hours and 50 minutes long
- Trains traveling at a maximum speed of up to 110 mph
- Trains transporting an estimated 470,000 riders/year
- Stations in Scranton, Mt. Pocono, East Stroudsburg, Blairstown, Dover, Morristown, Montclair, Newark, and NYC
The project is expected to cost a pretty hefty amount of money–track improvements will cost between $100M – $175M, while acquisition of trains is estimated to cost approximately $70M – 90M, and these two items are anticipated to only account for about 30-45% of the total project cost.
Further design work, such as fully restoring the Lackawanna Cutoff, building stations, and creating an equipment service facility, will also weigh into the total cost.
Though with a hefty price tag comes the opportunity for the service to generate significant annual economic benefits.
The new rail service is projected to generate:
- $84M in economic activity (increased tourism and local economic activity)
- $20M in benefits to passengers (being able to be productive on the train)
- $7M in society benefits (diverting travel from highways can reduce traffic crashes and pollution)
Next steps include completing the Federal Corridor ID application by March 27 of this year in order to receive funding. Service could potentially begin as early as 2028.
You know what that means? You may want to get your staplers and Jell-O ready!!! (If you don’t get that reference go watch “The Office.”)
If “The Office” isn’t really your jam (or your slice of cake) don’t fret–hop on a scenic ride to Vermont or to the Mid-Hudson Valley instead!
You can learn more about the Amtrak New York to Scranton vision here.