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Erie Lackawanna Railroad-Anatomy of The Friendly Service Route
Development of the Lackawanna Railroad
Erie Railroad Company and its development.
Decline and Fall of the ELRY
Why the Erie Lackawanna Failed
Links to My Other Sites
Phoebe Snow's Thru Trains
Old Reliable Fast Freight Service
The Niagara Frontier Operations
The Erie's Speedway
Bread Basket of the Erie
Route of The Erie Limited
The Road of Anthracite
EL Commuter Country
Friendly Service Route Overview

Here, we will cover the long distance passenger trains of the Erie Lackawanna, including their consists, their schedules, facilities, and the people who tried to make it all work. Such trains as The Phoebe Snow, The Owl, The Twilight, The Lake Cities, The Pacific Express, Atlantic Express, Pocono Express, the Erie Limited, all are here in this section that tells the sad chapter of Erie Lackawanna long distance passenger service. Welcome aboard The Friendly Service Route.

On October 17,1960, both the Erie and the Lackawanna brought to their marriage, fleets of through line passenger trains that each railroad had a right to be proud of. On the Lackawanna side were such trains as The Phoebe Snow, The Westerner, The New Yorker, The Owl, The New York Mail, Pocono Express, and the Scrantonian, to name most of them. The Erie Railroad contributed Nos.1 and 2, The Erie Limited, Nos. 4 and 6, The Lake Cities, No.7 the Pacific Express and No.8 the Atlantic Express, along with a pair of seasonal mail and express only trains and a slate of trains on the Cleveland-Youngstown line, two of which continued to and from Pittsburgh and points east. Two of these trains, The Steel King, were operated in conjunction with the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad and Baltimore and OHio Railroad, with PLE Alco PAs being seen as often on these trains as Erie's own PAs were. With all these trains brought to the merger, one would think that the quality of system timetable for the through line service would reflect the quality of the train service. It was not to be. Although Erie Lackawanna's new Easy Read timetable, first issued on October 30,1960 was easier and more convenient to use and somewhat pleasing to the eye, it did not match the quality of the two system timetables it replaced. This turned out to be a symptom of things to come as far as passenger service on the Erie Lackawanna was concerned. Right from the beginning, the new railroad was in a fight for its life. A fight that would end on April 1,1976 when Conrail would take over.
At the time of the October 17,1960 merger, the new Erie Lackawanna Railroad made its debut with over nearly 1100passenger cars. Of these, 666 were coaches, roughly two thirds of them for commuter service. Of these, the Lackawanna contributed 141 MU motor cars and 141 trailers to its portion of the commuter fleet. The rest included more than 100 Stillwell coaches. The rest were through line cars for intercity service. The train consists to be presented later show how this equipment was deployed in through line passenger service and on which trains they ran. The rest of the passenger car fleet consisted of 31 sleeping cars,24 diners, and 399 headend cars used for mail,express and baggage. The Lackawanna's contribution included 25 lightweight coaches, two diners, and the two tavern lounge-observation cars that set the Phoebe Snow apart from other trains on the railroad. The Erie Railroad, on the otherhand, modernized a number of coaches, giving them a modern,streamlined look by covering up the clerestory roofs on these cars. Some Stilwells were equipped forlong distance service as well. To maintain daily service, each pair of trains needed two sets of equipment per train to maintain a daily service. When trains were split into Chicago and Buffalo sections, a considerable amount of switching was involved at either Binghamton,Elmira, or Hornell, depending on which train or trains were involved. Two trains that required a lot of work at Elmira were 1-31 and 2-32 The Phoebe Snow. In its final years of operation, the switching of these two trains was done at Hornell instead of Elmira as in the past. The most complex shuffling of cars involved trains 1,21, and 31,since there were three trains involved, of which two originated Hoboken and the third was made up out of components of the other two. Some cars were dropped and picked up enroute as well. Here are the workins for trains 1,21,31,2,32, and 22 for example:

Consist of Train 21-M&E-1
1 Mail (Sealed) Youngstown to Chicago Ex.Sun,Mon.
1Papers(Sealed) Elmira to Chicago, Off 1 from Hoboken,Tues. only.
1-4 Mail Hobokento Chicago(and via) Ex.Sun,Mon.
1-2 Express(Sealed) Hoboken to Huntington-Wab.(St.L)XMon.
1 Express (sealed)*Hoboken to Chicago Ex.Sun,Mon.
1 Mail&Baggage Hoboken to Chicago Daily
1 RPO(Dormitory) Hoboken to Chicago Ex.Sun.
1 RPO (Dormitory) Hoboken to Chicago, Sun.ONly off NO.2
1 Mail(sealed) Hoboken to Binghamton Daily

1 Mail (sealed) Hoboken to Elmira Daily
1 Coach Hoboken to Elmira Daily
2 Coaches Hoboken to Elmira Daily
1 Diner Elmira to Chicago Off No.1
1 Sleeper Elmira to Chicago off No.1
1 Tavern Lounge Elmira to Chicago Off No.1
1 sleeper Youngstown to Chicago Ex. Sat.
1 Express Akron to Chicago Ex. Mon.
*car is loaded into at Corry and manned by a messenger from Corry to Youngstown. Huntington-Wabash cars to be switched to rear of train at Youngstown
1 papers (sealed) Hoboken to Elmira (for No.1 to Chicago)Tues only.
1 Express(sealed) Hoboken to Buffalo(Chicago via NKP)ex Mon
1-4 Mail Hoboken to Buffalo NKP&NYC Ex. Mon.
1 Mail (sealed)* Hoboken to Buffalo Daily
1 RPO(30 ft.) Hoboken to Buffalo Ex. Sun.
2 Coaches Hoboken to Buffalo Daily
2 Coaches Hoboken to Elmira (for No.1 to Chicago)
1 Diner Hoboken to Elmira (For No.1 to Chicago)
1 Sleeper Hoboken to Elmira (For No.1 to Chicago)
1 Tavern Lounge Hoboken to Elmira (for No.1 to Youngstown)
*car used for baggage on Sundays.
THE PHOEBE SNOW Train2-ME22 Eastbound
1-3 Mail Chicago-Elmira for 32-2 to Hoboken as dev.
1-2 Milk Steamburg-Hoboken, Ex.Fri.,Sat.
1 Mail(work) Chicago-Hoboken Daily
1 Mail&Baggage Chicago-Hoboken Daily
1 RPO (30ft.) Youngstown-Hoboken Ex. Sun.
1 Milk Tank Binghamton-Hoboken(Oxford) Ex. Sun.
1 Milk P/B Binghamton-Hoboken (Homer) Ex. Sun.
1 Coach Elmira-Hoboken Daily
1 mail (sealed) Elmira-Hoboken Off 32-M&E Daily
2 Coaches Chicago-Elmira for 32-2 to Hoboken, dly
1 diner Chicago-Elmira for 32-2 to Hoboken dly.
1 sleeper Chicago-Elmira for 32-2 to Hoboken,dly.
1 Tavern-Lounge Youngstown-Elmira for 32-2 to Hoboken dly.
1 Express(sealed) Chicago-Akron Ex. Saturday
1 Mail (Work)* Buffalo-Hoboken Daily
1 RPO&Baggage Buffalo-Hoboken Ex. Sun.
2 Coaches Buffalo-Hoboken Daily
1 Mail(sealed) Buffalo-Elmira for#2 to Binghamton dly.
2 coaches Elmira Hoboken Off#2 from Chicago dly
1 diner Elmira-Hoboken, Off#2 from Chicago dly.
1 sleeper Elmira-Hoboken, Off #2 from Chicago dly.
1 Tavern Lounge Elmira-Hoboken,Off #2 from Youngstown
*Carries Baggage on sunday.
By looking at the consists for these trains, it may seem that a good deal of switching was done at Elmira and at Binghamton, when actually the Buffalo and Chicago sections were combined and split at Elmira, with Train No.1 out of Hoboken made up to permit a quick split into the Buffalo train No.31 and No.1 continuing on to Chicago. As we go along, we shall take a look at the consists for all the other through line trains Erie Lackawanna operated during the first half of the 1960s. In general, it was preferred, that when possible, the RPO car with postal clerks aboard, was separated from the locomotive by one or more cars when possible, to avoid the noise and the diesel fumes from blowing in on the postal clerks as they worked the mail enroute to or from Chicago or Buffalo.

Train No.5 Westbound Lake Cities
1 Papers (sealed) Hoboken -Elmira Sat. Only
1 Papeers (sealed) Hoboken-Binghamton Sat. Only
1 Mail(sealed) Scranton-Binghamton for No.7 to Youngstown,except Sat.,Sun.
1 Mail (sealed)Scranton-Chicago Ex. Sat.-Sun.
1 Mail (sealed)Scranton-Huntington Wabash(St.Louis)ExSaSu.
1-4Mail (sealed)Hoboken-Huntington and via/Chicago&via,Ex.Sa.,Su.
1 RPO (60ft.) Hoboken-Hornell, Ex. Sat.
1 Baggage-Mail, Hoboken-Chicago daily
1 Mail(sealed)*Hoboken-Youngstown for#7 to Chicago ExSaSu.
1 RPO (30ft)**Binghamton-Youngstown Ex. Sun.
1 RPO (30ft) Hornell-Youngstown(dh for No.2Tues.) Mon.only
1 Coach Hoboken-Youngstown, Friday
2 Coaches Hoboken-Youngstown, Sunday
2 Coaches Hoboken-Chicago, Daily
1 Diner Hoboken-Chicago, Daily
1 Sleeper Hoboken-Youngstown, daily
1 Coach Hoboken-Scranton, as required
1 Mail (Sealed) Mansfield-Chicago, Ex.Sun.,Mon.
*works west in No.7 so must be standard baggage car.
**works between Binghamton and Salamanca only.
Train No.6 The Lake Cities-Eastbound.
1-3 Mail (sealed) Chicago-Hoboken As develops
1 Baggage& Mail Chicago-Hoboken Daily
1 RPO (60ft.) Hornell-Hoboken Ex. Sun.
1 RPO (30 ft.) Chicago-Binghamton Mon.-Fri.
1 RPO (30 ft.) * Chicago-Hornell Sat. Only
1 RPO (30 ft.)** Youngstown-Binghamton Sun.Only
2 Coaches Chicago-Hoboken Daily
1 Diner Chicago-Hoboken Daily
1 Sleeper Youngstown-Hoboken Daily
1 Coach Youngstown-Hoboken Fri. & Sun.
*In SErvice to Salamanca only
** In service Salamanca to binghamton only.
Train No.7 THE PACIFIC EXPRESS(Replaced by No.3 8-31-65)
2 Unit Haul Express Hoboken-Chicago Ex.Sun.Mon.
1-2 Empty Milk Cars Hoboken-Jamestown Ex.Sun.Mon.-for Steamburg.
1 Empty P/B Milk Car Hoboken-Binghamton (for Homer) ExMo
1 Mail(sealed) Binghamton-Chicago (Off 15 fr.Scr. as Develop)
1 Express (Sealed) Binghamton-Chicago (Off 15 Fr.Scr.)XMo
1 Mail (sealed) Binghamton-Chicago(From Bing>)ExSuMo
1 Express (Sealed) Binghamton-Akron (From Bing.)ExSuMo.
1 Mail (Sealed) Binghamton-Youngstown (Fr.Bing>)ExMo.
1 Mail (work) Binghamton-Youngstown (Ex.SuMo)
3 Mail (Work) Hoboken-Chicago Daily
1 Mail (work) Youngstown-Chicago(Off #5)ExSuMo
1 RPO (30ft) Hoboken-Chicago ExSun
1 Coach Hoboken-Chicago Daily
1-2 Mail(Sealed) Hoboken-Huntington Wabash as devel.
1-4 Mail (sealed) Hoboken-Chicago and via as devel.
1-2 Express(Sealed) Hoboken-Chicago, ExSun
1 Express (Sealed) Hoboken-Akron Ex. Mon
1 Mail (Sealed) Hoboken-Akron Ex. Mon
1 Rider Hoboken-Chicago Ex. Mon.
1 Papers Hoboken-Port Jervis, Daily
This Train became No.3 by the removal of the coach for passengers and including the Rider for crew only. Train No.4 was done from No.8 the same way. The following is the consist for train No.8 THE ATLANTIC EXPRESS.
2 Unit Haul Express* Chicago-Hoboen ExSuMo
1 Express (Sealed) Chicago-Hoboken As required
1 Express (Sealed) Chicago-Binghamton As Develops
1 Mail (Sealed) Chicago-Binghamton As Develops
1 Mail (Sealed) Chicago-Binghamton As Develops
Empty Head End Cars Akron-Hoboken As develops
1 Express (Sealed) Akron-Hoboken ExMo
1 RPO Dormitory** Chicago-Hoboken ExSa
1 RPO Dormitory** Chicago-Hornell Sat. Only
1 Mail and Baggage Chicago-Hoboken Daily
2 Mail (work) Chicago-Hoboken Daily
1 Coach Chicago-Hoboken Daily
1 Sleeper Chicago-Youngstown ExSat
1 Mail (Sealed) Chicago-Mansfield,ExSaSu
1 Mail (Sealed) Youngstown-Hoboken, ExSunMon
Empty Head End CarsYoungstonw-Hoboken & Bing. as develops
1 Rider Chicago-Hoboken When Available.
Notes: 2 unit Haul Express cars to be switched to rear of train at Binghamton. Dormitory end not in service.
Train No.10 THE NEW YORK MAIL Consist
1 Mail (sealed) Elmira-Binghamton As Develops
1 Mail (Sealed) Buffalo-Binghamton
1 Mail (Work) Buffalo-Hoboken
1 Mail&Baggage Buffalo-Hoboken
1 60ft RPO Buffalo-Hoboken
1 Coach Buffalo-Hoboken
1-6 Empty Head Ends Buffalo-Hoboken As Develops
Consist of Train No.15 THE OWL
1 Papers (Sealed) Hoboken-Elmira Thursday Only
1 Mail(Sealed) Binghamton-Buffalo Ex. Mon.
1 Express (Sealed) Scranton-Binghamton (For #7 to Chicago)
1 Mail (Sealed) Scranton-Binghamton (For #7 to Chicago as develop)
1 Mail (Sealed) Scranton-Buffalo
1 Mail (Sealed) Scranton-Buffalo NYC Detroit
1 Mail (Sealed) Hoboken-Buffalo NYC Cleveland
1 RPO (60ft) Hoboken-Buffalo
1 Mail (Work) Hoboken-Buffalo
1 Mail & Baggage Hoboken-Buffalo
1 coach Hoboken-Buffalo
1 Papers Hoboken-Scranton
1 Papers (Sealed) Hoboken-Stroudsburg
1 Papers (Sealed) Hoboken-Scranton
1 Mail (Sealed) Sccranton-Binghamton for #7 to Chicago
1 Mail (Sealed) Scranton-Buffalo NYC Detroit
1 Mail (Sealed) Hoboken-Buffalo NYC Cleveland
1 Mail (Sealed) Hoboken-Buffalo
1 Mail (Work) Hoboken-Buffalo
1 Mail and Baggage Hoboken-Buffalo
1 Coach Hoboken-Buffalo
These consists were how these passenger trains were expected to be made up for departure from each end terminal.
The following pieces of equipment werre available for through line  service in 1969,  the final year of operation for Trains 5 and 6 The Lake Cities:
1.46 Through Line Coaches
2.6 Diners
3.1 Tavern Lounge
4.20 Baggage-express
5.6 Express boxcars
6.4  mail storage
7.3 milk cars
8.8 rider cars
9.6 sleepers
10.4 business
Total  through line  passenger cars: 106.

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