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Celebration honors the past and future of rail service in NEPA


In the 1980s, members of what would become the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority (PNRRA) started meeting with people in church basements, fire halls and garages.

That was the early days of the grassroots movement to bring rail service back to Northeastern Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people, including many local elected officials, gathered at Kalahari Resort in the Poconos to celebrate restoring rail service in the region.

"To see the culmination of it all here tonight is really, really something astounding," said Larry Malski, president of PNRRA.

The Lackawanna Cut-off — a route between Scranton and New York City with stops in the Poconos — was accepted into the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Corridor ID Program. The program identifies rail projects that will be first in line for funding from the historic federal infrastructure bill.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey were instrumental in progressing the train project to this point. During the celebration, Cartwright answered some frequently asked questions, including when the project will be completed.

"The end of 2028 is my best estimate," he said.

As far as cost of a train ticket, Cartwright said a similar rail service runs between Boston and Portland, Maine. It costs $42 round trip. Amtrak also offers a monthly pass for $349.

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