22.8.12

YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE.

That's the punchline to jokes about New England's convoluted roads.  It may also be the reality for transit-dependent travelers headed to Scranton or the Pocono Mountains.

We're worshipping at the Church of the Lackawanna in Hoboken.  There are a lot of advertisements for Pocono Tourism.


Lackawanna Terminal, 19 July 2012.

But, thanks to Conrail tearing up the Lackawanna Cutoff (some people allege that the railroad also damaged the drains on those marvelous concrete viaducts, making service restoration more difficult) you can no longer get to the Delaware Water Gap on a train.


Lackawanna Terminal reminds me of British main stations, with a lot of pedestrian access, and minimal waiting room facilities.  With Lackawanna's long-distance passenger trains originating in New Jersey, and service beyond Buffalo interlined with the Nickel Plate, taking about six hours longer than The Pennsylvania Railroad or the New York Central system, perhaps a lounge and an oyster bar were a bit much, even if Phoebe Snow claimed the Road of Anthracite was the way to go to Buffalo.

With some recent construction at Secaucus, it's possible to take a train to Newark Airport, a new stop on the Pennsylvania.  But from Newark, you might not be able to fly to Scranton.  That's the fiscal cliff at work: with the Federal Aviation Administration having to cut its spending, controllers at some 106 regional airports face a furlough at the New Year.  But the Scranton airport, like so much else in that part of Pennsylvania, operates on a tight budget and may have to offer subsidies to regional air carriers to call there.

Putting the Lackawanna Cutoff back in place will be costly.  Competing air service, such as it is, requires public moneys as well.

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