To support its freight service operations, the facilities of the Erie Lackawanna consisted of three major classification yards:
Marion,Ohio, Buffalo(Bison),NY, and Croxton,NJ, which were supplemented by smaller yards at Binghamton,Scranton,Salamanca,
Meadville, Cleveland-East 55th Street,19 piggyback ramps, interchange points at 22 locations,behind which stood 40 traffic
offices, which were responsible for obtaining the traffic to fill Erie Lackawanna's fast freight trains. For Finished vehicles,
the railroad maintained auto ramps at Bowlusville, Ohio,Pocono,Pennsylvania, and Mahwah and Jersey City, New Jersey. Finished
vehicles moved in bi or trilevel auto rack cars in either general freight or intermodal trains to destination ramp. Like most
railroads, Erie Lackawanna freight trains were of several types: 1. Local wayfreight, which performed set off and pick up
service at all stations along the train's entire run. This train often departed the originating yard at the same time each
day. 2. Through Freight-Manifest train, this type of train handled freight of all kinds and performed pick up and delivery
service at limited stations along its route,3.Solid Intermodal Train, which carried solid consists of piggyback trailers and
intermodal containers. When run at up to 60 mph, was the nearest thing to a passenger train. 4. There was the unit train,
on the EL, this was mostly loaded coal trains delivering coal to power plants as well as grain trains. This was the least
common type of train on the Erie Lackawanna system. Who did these trains serve? That will be covered in the next section before
we get to the trains themselves.
ERIE LACKAWANNA'S TOP FREIGHT CUSTOMERS-1.TOFC SERVICE
Since Piggyback service brought in 40 percent of the freight revenues in the railroad's final years of independent operation,
this is where we will start with who the freight customers were. The following are the top 20 TOFC customers and their 1974
cars in and out by location:
1.UPS-Croxton, 12,634 cars in,23,238 cars out, total,35872
2.UPS-Chicago, 12,360 cars in,6959 cars out,total;19214
3.RCJ Agency,Chicago;4929 cars in,3106 cars out,total8035
4.Midwest Emery,Chicago; 900 cars in;3325 cars out;total;4225.
5.Trailer Train,Chicago;601 cars in,3432 cars out;total4033
6.Charter Oaks,Croxton;105 cars in,3090 cars out;3195 total
7.Nabsico,Chicago;1071 cars in,2075 cars out,3146 total.
8.Clipper Exxpress;Chicago;1644 in,875 out,2549 total.
9.Crouch Brothers,Chicago;1018 in,1430 out, total 2448
10.Clipper Carloading,Croxton;650 in,1691 0ut,2346 total
11.RCJ Agency,Croxton,1795 in,427 out, 2222 total.
12.Lifschultz,Chicago,1604 in,316 out,1920 total
13.Midwest Haulers,Chicago;1805 in,316 out, 1921 total
14.Charter Oaks, Chicago,1486 in,197 out, total,1683
15.Lifschultz,Croxton, 270 In, 1406 out, total1676
16.RCA,Dunmore,PA; out;1558,total 1558.
17.Nabisco,Fairlawn,NJ; 407 In,1104 out, total 1511.
18.Universal Carloading,Chicago;604 in,687 out,total 1291.
19.Eastcoast Shippers,Chicago;1275 in out; NA,total 1275
20.REA Express,Chicago, 954 in,166 out, total;1120. It should be noted that of these top 20 TOFC customers of the Erie
Lackawnna, REA Express was on its last legs and in its final full year of operation. It tied up for the last time in November,1975.
ERIE LACKAWANNA RAILWAY'S TOP FREIGHT CUSTOMERS-2.CARLOAD
Carload freight traffic made up most of the freight revenues of the railroad. The following are the top 23 customers and
their 1974 cars handled, both in and out, where available by location.
1.Republic Steel;Cleveland,Warren,Youngstown,and Niles;
15,581 in,7044 out, total 22,625. Total is all for locations.
2.Youngstown Sheet & Tube,Youngstown;15581 in,7044 out,total22635.
3.Ford Motor Company,Mahwah,NJ;14011 in,8075 out,total;22086.
4.Allied Chemical,Solvay,NY;19288 in,out-total 19288.
6.US Steel, Youngstown; 3785 in,2707 out,total;6492.
7.Republic Steel,Buffalo,NY;631 in,4533 out,total;5164.
8.Sharon Steel,Sharon,PA; 2748 in,1727 out;total;4475.
9.Fisher Foods,Cleveland;3873 in,6 out;total;3879.
10.Greenville Steel & Car Co.,Greenville;1387 in,2368 out,total;3755.
11.Whippany Paperboard,Whippany,NJ;2533 in,1035 out;3568.
12.General Foods,Clifton,NJ;2867 in,274 out;3141 total.
13.Valley Mould & Iron;1644 in,1104 out,2748 total.
14.Shenango,Inc.,Sharpsville,PA;1807 in;875 out;2682 total.
15.International Multifoods,Baldwinsville,NY;931 in,1693 out;2624 total.
16.Chevy Gear& Axle,Buffalo,NY;356 in,2163 out,2519 total.
17.PPG Ind.,Stony Point,PA,1573 in,647 out;2220 total.
18.Owens-Illinois;N.Bergen,NJ;2162 in,5 out; total 2167.
19.Sherwin Williams,Hubbard,OH;27 in,2033 out,2060 total.
20.Packard Electric,Warren,OH;659 in,1819 out,2578.
21.American Seaway,Cleveland;1970 in,7 out;total 1977.
22.Pacific Veg.&Ml.,Boonton,NJ;293 in;1670 out;1963 total.
23.GATX,Sharon,PA;731 in,1219 out;1950 total.
Together with the top 20 TOFC customers, these carload customers provided the bulk of Erie Lackawanna's freight traffic.
Additional freight traffic came from feedmill firms such as Agway, Lumber companies,utilities, cold storage companies, thus
further diversifying the railroad's traffic base.Whether all this freight traffic would have been enough to keep the railroad
alive had the trustees decided to stay out of Conrail is highly questionable at best, and doubtful at worst as the railroad's
service area was in a state of decline and its traffic base was slowly drying up,though the east end commuter traffic was
growing. However, it was the freight NOT the commuter traffic that paid the bills. As part of the effort to survive, the Erie
Lackawanna, in conjunction with Norfolk and Western and the Atchison,Topeka and Santa Fe Railway developed a couple of innovative
run through freight services that they hoped would help turn the railroad's declining fortunes around. The joint Santa Fe-EL
service was called The Excellerator and the pair of trains in this service ran through between Santa Fe's Argentine Yard in
Kansas City,Kansas, and EL's Croxton,NJ yard. The other pair of trains made up a joint EL-N&W Cannonball service with
the New York Cannonball delivered to EL at Huntington,IN for its eastbound run,while the westbound St.Louis Cannonball was
delivered to N&W at Huntington,IN. These two trains could often be seen with N&W power mixed with EL units. The 1972
bankruptcy filing by Erie Lackawanna after Hurricane Agnes did her dirty work put an end to the Cannonballs. The Excellerator
trains lasted a bit longer,then these, too disappeared from the rails. Once Trustees Ralph Tyler and Thomas Patton made the
commitment to Conrail in late 1975, the railroad simply kept running its slate of through freight trains, though on relaxed
schedules to buy time until Conrail was ready to assume operation of the portions of EL designated to Conrail after Chessie
System refused to take it. By then, the orphaned Cleveland-Youngstown passenger train was on borrowed time as was the rest
of the railroad. More on that in passenger operations. Around midnight, March 31,1976, all Erie Lackawanna trains already
enroute were stopped in mid run so the dispatchers could issue them the first Conrail train orders and designations for those
EL trains to be continued in operation. Interestingly, a number of EL train symbols were continued by Conrail into its first
full year of operation.