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Background
In the early part of the 20th century, the Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad constructed a level-graded route from Roxbury, NJ to just over the Delaware River to serve as a faster, more direct route between existing rail lines in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The Lackawanna Cutoff, as this route came to be known, includes a series of unique structural features, viaducts and massive fill embankments through the deep valleys of this region. In the 1970s, Conrail, the eventual receiver of this property, abandoned the right of way and the track was removed. The objective of the Lackawanna Cutoff project is to reinstitute passenger rail service on the abandoned rail right of way of the Lackawanna Cutoff and over existing freight right of way in Pennsylvania. The reinstituted rail line would provide service from Scranton to Hoboken, or to New York Penn Station via transfer to MidTown Direct service, by connecting to the existing NJ TRANSIT Montclair-Boonton and Morris & Essex Lines.

View a map of the system.

Project Scope
The project includes complete reconstruction of the line including track and signal improvements to approximately 88 miles of right of way, new stations, parking facilities, a train storage yard and additional rail rolling stock. It is assumed that NJ TRANSIT would operate the new service. Proposed stations would serve Blairstown and Andover in New Jersey and Scranton, Tobyhanna, Pocono Mountain, Analomink, East Stroudsburg, and Delaware Water Gap in Pennsylvania. The first phase of the project is a 7.3 mile segment from Port Morris Yard to a new passenger station at Andover, NJ.

Project Cost
$551 million (2006 Estimate). This estimate does not include property acquisition costs. The full project is not funded. The estimated cost of the first phase to Andover is approximately $37 million. The first phase is fully funded using a combination of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and state Transportation Trust Funds funds.

Current Status
NJ TRANSIT's Board of Directors authorized consultant work for conceptual design, completion of the environmental assessment (EA) and preparation of the documentation required by the Federal Transit Administration for new transit lines. The State of New Jersey completed the purchase of the Lackawanna Cutoff property in May 2001.

View the full EA report

You can view the Appendices to the EA Report by selecting the appropriate link from the listing below:

Appendix A: Land Use
Appendix B: Community Facilities and Parks
Appendix C: Historic Resources, Part 1
Appendix C: Historic Resources, Part 2
Appendix D: Archaeological Resources, Part 1
Appendix D: Archaeological Resources, Part 2
Appendix E: Traffic
Appendix F: Air Quality
Appendix G: Noise and Vibration
Appendix H: Geology, Soil, and Topography
Appendix I: Water Quality
Appendix J: Wetlands
Appendix K: Floodplains
Appendix L: Endangered Species
Appendix M: Hazardous Waste
Appendix N: Environmental Justice
Appendix O: Conceptual Plans
Appendix P: Public Involvement
Appendix Q: Correspondence, Part 1
Appendix Q: Correspondence, Part 2
Appendix R: Comments, Part 1
Appendix R: Comments, Part 2
Appendix R: Comments, Part 3

Public meetings were held to provide information on the content of the EA and comments were shared with the FTA.

On September 12, 2008, the FTA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the first phase of the project to Andover; identified in the EA as the "minimal operable segment" (MOS).

View the FONSI for the first phase to Andover

You can view the Appendices to the FONSI by selecting the appropriate link from the listing below:

FONSI Appendix A: Response to Comments, Part 1
FONSI Appendix A: Response to Comments, Part 2
FONSI Appendix A: Response to Comments, Part 3
FONSI Appendix B: Programmatic Agreement
FONSI Appendix C: Wetland Delineation
FONSI Appendix D: Supplemental Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment
FONSI Appendix E: Federal, State, and Local Correspondence

After the FONSI for the MOS was issued the FTA directed NJ TRANSIT to undertake a full field survey of wetlands and the potential habitats for endangered species, consistent with guidance received from the US Dept. of Interior, US Fish & Wildlife Service, along the remaining 80 mile, non-MOS portion of the project, from Andover, NJ to Scranton, Pennsylvania. FTA and NJ TRANSIT have finalized a Supplemental Environmental Assessment containing the results of this additional field surveying, consistent with the requirements of Federal regulations.

View the June 2009 Supplemental Lackawanna EA

You can view the Appendices to the Supplemental EA Report by selecting the appropriate link from the listing below:

Appendix S: Wetland Delineation Reports on the Non-MOS Portion of the Build Alternative
Appendix T: Supplemental Threatened and Endangered Species Assessment on the Non-MOS
Appendix U: Resource Agency Correspondence on the Non-MOS Portion of the Build Alternative
Appendix V: Revised Tobyhanna and Pocono Mountain Conceptual Plans
Appendix W: Summary of Comments and Response to Comments on the Non-MOS Portion of the EA

On October 2, 2009, the FTA issued a revised Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Supplemental EA. Taken together, the EA and Supplemental EA evaluated the full-length 133-mile corridor and this FONSI covers both the MOS and the non-MOS and supersedes and replaces the FONSI issued on September 12, 2008.

View the revised FONSI

You can view the Appendices to the revised FONSI by selecting the appropriate link from the listing below:

FONSI Appendix A: Response to Comments Regarding the Supplemental Environmental Assessment
FONSI Appendix B: Response to Comments Regarding the MOS portion of the Environmental Assessment, Part 1
FONSI Appendix B: Response to Comments Regarding the MOS portion of the Environmental Assessment, Part 2
FONSI Appendix B: Response to Comments Regarding the MOS portion of the Environmental Assessment, Part 3
FONSI Appendix C: Response to Comments Regarding the Non-MOS portion of the Environmental Assessment
FONSI Appendix D: Programmatic Agreement
FONSI Appendix E: Federal, State, and Local Correspondence
FONSI Appendix F: Environmental Commitments
Benefits
The project will provide passenger rail service from Northwestern New Jersey and Northeastern Pennsylvania to Hoboken and interim New Jersey points, with connection to New York City.

NJ TRANSIT Department of Capital Planning and Programs
October 2009