A question was poised on The News Eagle Facebook page to gauge the interest level in the proposal to reestablish a regular passenger train service between Honesdale and Hawley, with New York City. The result of the poll showed a great amount of support.

HAWLEY - A question was poised on The News Eagle Facebook page to gauge the interest level in the proposal to reestablish a regular passenger train service between Honesdale and Hawley, with New York City. The result of the poll showed a great amount of support.

The question, as stated, was, “If a commuter rail service was restored between Honesdale and New York City, with additional boarding at Hawley, Lackawaxen and Shohola, would this benefit you or your family?”

There were 714 responses, with 612 stating “yes” and 102 stating “no.” This came to 86% who would support a passenger line and 14% who would not stand to benefit from the service.

Results of the poll were passed on to the Delaware Lackawaxen & Stourbridge (DL&S) Railroad, which made the proposal to the press October 23rd aboard a fall foliage train excursion.
Numerous comments were received.

“Yes, most definitely in favor of commuter rail w/connections throughout Hawley, Honesdale etc.,” wrote Carol Guerrieri. “I will utilize two to three times per week personally. Further, the Lincoln Tunnel entrance will be a traffic backup as never seen before renovation/repair of that area which is estimated to take years.  The Holland and GW will backup due to overflow. Yes yes yes to commuter rail.”

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Annette Young. We have a house in Lakeville but live near Washington so that would be a great incentive to move here.”

Some were not optimistic. “I moved here 25 years ago and was told when my house was being built that we would have trains to NYC within a couple of years. Supposedly they were working on it. Twenty five years later and I’m still waiting,” said Carmen Esther Muniz Berrios.

Tom Myles, owner of the DL&S, was assisted by Orlando Marrera of Hawley in outlining the vision for the plan, which would supplement rather than replace the current use of the tracks between Honesdale and Lackawaxen, for excursion train rides.

DL&S is exploring options to add a commuter line to New York City. One alternative presented was to bring a DL&S train to Port Jervis where passengers would transfer to a New Jersey Transit train, which goes to Secaucus for transfer to Metro North trains which strive Manhattan.

The other possibility would be to arrange for New Jersey Transit to travel here, to pick up Pennsylvania passengers.

In either case, approval will be needed from New York Southern & Western Railroad (NYS&W), which owns the trackage that meets the DL&S junction at Lackawaxen, with New Jersey Transit at Port Jervis. An agreement would also be needed with New Jersey Transit.

Substantial upgrades would be needed to the 25 mile DL&S line. Myles said he would expect to use modern, light rail coaches rather than the vintage coaches used for the excursions.

Train stops, with parking areas, were proposed for Lackawaxen and Shohola, as well as a new commuter parking area near the Hawley train depot. Park and ride spots serviced by buses in other spots were recommended, to mitigate traffic and parking at the train stops.

Myles stated that he has a meeting arranged for November 12 with NYS&W officials to begin discussions.

A commuter rail line between Honesdale and Hawley with New York has not existed since the 1940’s. The advantages cited include a potentially quicker mode of transportation to the Big Apple, benefitting those commuting to jobs in the City; an easier way to commute to Wayne and Pike Counties which could stimulate the local economy; and a new path for tourism.

The News Eagle poll reached 5,175 people with 1,408 engagements. There were 40 “likes,” 49 “shares” and 23 comments posted.

There were numerous comments seeing a train route as much better than taking the bus; a boon for real estate values here; nice option to take in a show or concert in New York; and a good incentive to move to Wayne County. There more positive comments than negative.

Some people complained about the reliability of service that New Jersey Transit is said to provide; bringing more “inner city” problems here; ongoing maintenance problems of tracks and concern that would be passed on to taxpayers; and the potential three hour commute when one counts getting from the train station to the job, taking subways and buses.