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The Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad (DL) will advance multiple track improvement and expansion projects as part of its 2023 capital program, the railroad announced this week.
Combined, the projects will reduce trip times and restore capacity on two Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority (PNRRA)-owned and DL-operated routes, DL officials said in a press release.
In 2022, the railroad reported a 27% increase in freight traffic on its three routes, followed by an additional 18% increase in carloads and revenue in first-quarter 2023. That growth primarily occurred among existing DL customers; new business accounted for 3% of growth in the first quarter.
This year, the railroad will focus on the DL Pocono mainline — the former Lackawanna Railroad mainline running from Scranton to the Delaware Water Gap — with additional work to occur on ancillary lines, railroad officials said. DL has received some state and federal grants with PNRRA related to bridges, culverts and other railroad structures, for which the railroad will provide matching funds.
Additionally, DL received a freight-rail grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to fund a project to relay a portion of what was the second main track in Pocono Summit. Nearing completion, the relayed track will add capacity for DL customers, including heavy-volume grain traffic to Ardent Mills in Mount Pocono and building material carload business for Bestway Products in Cresco.
Based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the 88-mile railroad is owned by Genesee Valley Transportation Co.
“It’s not just that traffic continues to increase — it’s also the commodities we haul that necessitate this work,” said Genesee Valley Vice President of Strategic Planning Charlie Monte Verde. “When you’re talking grain, sand and building materials, you’re talking high-weight commodities that arrive in significant quantities, and with that comes a significant maintenance obligation and, of course, a constant need for additional capacity."