Prospects for restored passenger rail service from Scranton to the New York City area have dimmed with
project delays, rising cost projections and use of passenger estimates that seem unduly low.
An idea to locate storage and maintenance operations for the service in Scranton, however; could help
to hold down the development costs, establish service in Scranton and, ultimately, allow local riders to
prove the estimates wrong.
New Jersey Transit, which would operate the trains, projects that by 2030, just 40 riders per weekday
would board the trains in Scranton. It does not require a great deal of imagination, however, to envision
the degree of congestion from the Delaware Water Gap to New York City by 2030, and additional costs
in terms of fuel prices and tolls-especially if tolls are established on Interstate 80 in addition to the river
crossing. Ridership could well be far beyond New Jersey Transit’s projection.
Meanwhile, Larry Malski, of the Northeast Pennsylvania Regional Railroad Authority, has voiced an idea
that could help to mitigate the passenger line’s developmental and operating costs.
Maintenance and service centers usually are placed at the ends of rail lines in order to preclude the
costs of sending empty trains to starting points each day. A site in Scranton envisioned for such an
operation is included in existing environmental assessments. Changing that plan would require a new
environmental review, meaning further delays and costs. Moreover; the site is an existing industrial site
that was created over a century ago for train maintenance. That means it is the lowest-cost potential
site for the work.
Travel costs, environmental issues, fuel costs, congestion and convenience all argue for the restoration
of passenger rail service from Scranton. Establishing service operations here is a wise move.