The Lead

Federal designation could finally bring back passenger rail between Scranton and NYC

By: - December 5, 2023 3:06 pm
View of an Amtrak train (Capital-Star photo by Patrick Abdalla).

(Capital-Star photo by Patrick Abdalla).

U.S. Sen Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-8th District) announced that reestablishing direct passenger rail between Scranton and New York City moved one step closer on Tuesday, as the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is including Northeastern Pennsylvania in its Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) Program.

The Corridor ID Program was established by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) to assist with the development of intercity passenger rail corridors, and create a pipeline of intercity passenger rail projects.

“For generations, passenger rail service helped Northeastern Pennsylvanians connect with loved ones, get to school and work, and access economic opportunity and recreation. In turn, residents of other states helped to stimulate our economy and visited our region to see the best of what we have to offer,” Casey said in a statement. “I have fought to restore Scranton rail service for my entire career as a United States Senator, including voting to pass the infrastructure law, because bringing passenger rail service back to my hometown and to our region will be a game-changing force for our economy, our families, and our communities.”

Rail service previously ran on the Lackawanna Cut-Off directly between Scranton and New York, Casey’s office said in a news release, but was discontinued in 1970. The tracks fell into disrepair and will require significant investment before train service is restored.

“This is a significant milestone and represents years of dedicated efforts to restore passenger rail service, which will contribute to our region’s economic growth and vitality,” Cartwright, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee said in a statement. “This proposed rail line will create jobs, improve quality of life, and offer convenient travel options for commuters, college students and tourists, alike. It will also connect those of us living in Northeast Pennsylvania to a wider selection of health care services, sporting events, cultural activities and vacation spots.”

A March study by Amtrak found that direct rail service between Scranton and New York could generate as much as a$84 million in economic activity and serve nearly 475,000 riders annually, 

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Kim Lyons
Kim Lyons

Kim Lyons is a veteran western Pennsylvania journalist who has covered people and trends in politics and business for local and national publications. Follow her on Threads @social_kimly