PORT MORRIS, N.J. — The effort to restore passenger service on the “Lackawanna Cutoff” across northwest New Jersey got a major boost this week when the New Jersey Transit Board of Directors approved a $32.5 million contract to rehabilitate Roseville Tunnel between Port Morris and Andover.
For years, NJT and Amtrak have wanted to expand passenger rail service northwest toward Andover and eventually Scranton, Pa. To do that, they want to reopen the shuttered Lackawanna Cutoff between Port Morris and Slateford Junction, Pa., where it will connect with the Delaware-Lackawanna into Scranton. Phase I calls for passenger service to resume between Port Morris and Andover and in some spots track is already down. One of the biggest hurdles now is the 1,024-foot Rooseville Tunnel.
The 28-mile Lackawanna Cutoff was built between 1908 and 1911 to shorten the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western’s main line between Hoboken, N.J, and Buffalo, N.Y. When it opened, it was considered an engineering marval, with high fills, deep cuts and two large bridges allowing for a straight shot through the mountains. Service on the cutoff was ended in 1979 by Conrail. The track was ripped up in the 1980s.
The contract awarded to Schiavone Construction Co. this month includes stabilization of rock slopes, construction of 8,000 feet of trackbed, drainage improvements, lighting and communication for the tunnel, and replacement of two culverts.
“The contract awarded today for the rehabilitation of the Roseville Tunnel demonstrates
NJT’s commitment to the residents of Sussex County in restoring rail service along the Lackawanna Cutoff” said NJT President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “As we work toward maximizing equitable access to public transportation throughout New Jersey, I’m pleased that we’re advancing this important project in the northwest portion of our state where transit options are more limited.”