The regional rail authority’s 2014 traffic rate expanded by three times the national growth average,
affirming its importance to industrial and commercial stability.
The Northeast Regional Rail Authority’s Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad experienced a 13.6 percent
increase in carloads. Nationally, the carload volume advanced by 4.5 percent, the largest growth rate
The local expansion in rail traffic illustrates the significance the authority plays in the area’s efforts to
regain footing economically from a severe recession.
Tracing its roots to the mid-1980s as the Lackawanna County Rail Authority, the agency got its start with
a $1.5 million acquisition of 23 miles of former Delaware & Hudson track between Scranton and
It expanded into Monroe County and now owns more than 100 miles of track. The Delaware-
Lackawanna, the system’s operator, employs 30 people.
Cost-efficiency provides part of the reason for regional and national rail growth. The average cost of
freight train shipments is down more than 40 percent from 1981, according to the Association of
Rail shipment costs compare very competitively to truck freight rates, especially over long distances.
Trains generate comparatively less air pollution compared to tractor-trailers and essentially improve
public safety by reducing traffic congestion and wear and tear on highways.
Prospects for the local rail service should expand this year as Norfolk Southern Corp., one of the nation’s
premier rail systems, is expected to acquire Canadian Pacific Railway’s remaining Delaware & Hudson
The formation of the rail authority more than 30 years ago helped preserve important infrastructure and
service and it continues to provide valuable contributions to economic development and commerce.