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Funding application submitted and study released examining restoring train service in the region

Officials have taken the next step to restoring train service between Scranton and New York City.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, along with the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority and New Jersey Transit Authority, have officially submitted an application for funding to the Federal Railroad Authority’s (FRA) corridor I.D. program. U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright announced the application was submitted in a press release. The application was due by Monday, March 27.

The November 2021 federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Act included $66 billion in funding for passenger rail service. The FRA determines which routes will be funded by the act.

Last week, Amtrak and the local railroad authority released the findings of a two-year analysis examining the potential for rail service on the Lackawanna Cut-off line.

The study suggests the route could accommodate three daily round trips. It would take around three hours to get to New York City with multiple stops in PA and New Jersey.

The study suggests tracks on the route would need to be rebuilt or upgraded to allow for faster passenger speeds. Track improvements are estimated to cost between $99 and $176 million, according to the document.

Amtrak estimates that the train would bring in $84 million annually in economic activity, including tourism.

The authorities should know by the end of May if the application was accepted into the corridor ID program.

If the funding is approved, the train could be in service no sooner than 2028.