On October 10th, 1960, the Erie Railroad officially merged with the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western creating 3000 mile newly merged railraod. Many fans of The Erie, Lackawanna and Erie Lackawanna have special or favorite memories of their favorite railroad. Below are some of them.

Charles Walsh-My favorite memory---and there are many--was watching the detour of a 150+ car freight over the Morristown Linesometime during the mid- to late-1960s. (This was a rare event.) From where I stood trackside in South Orange, NJ, when the lead units (probably Geeps) had made it past South Orange station (about a 1/2 mile to the west) the end of the caboose was somewhere upgrade past Mountain Station (1/4 mile east) and probably past Highland Avenue (another 1/2 mile east). The train was so long, and the signal blocks so short on the M&E, that the train was occupying four and maybe five blocks simultaneously.

J. Henry Priebe Jr.-I most remember the Black Rock Yard operations which were switched either by EL or CN depending on the year. One time I was there (I was 14 or 15) just poking around in my Osh Kosh overalls and a train of auto-racks was coming off the bridge and through the yard. One of the guys on the head end tossed 4 or 5 torpedos to me and said "Keep the kids off the train!" I was sort of baffled as I was probably one of the kids who was supposed to be kept off the train. I dutifully manned my post until the train had passed and then I wandered off toward home down the NYC Belt Line wondering what exactly these strange little squares with the lead strips on the side did. Close to home I decided to strap one to a rail and let a train run it over. In a few minutes a PC westbound came rumbling down the tracks and of course the darned thing exploded with a thunderous report, scaring the hell out of me and no doubt startling the crew. Of course the train dumped its brakes and I took off running like a scared rabbit! I had no idea it would explode with that much force, I had suspected it might go off like a firecracker, but I really didn't know what it was or what it was used for. Surprise! The crew never saw me thanks to the tall weeds on the embankment and no doubt were mystified as to why they were stopped at the Delaware Ave bridge. Maybe they thought it was a rules test, but I didn't stick around to find out. I may still have one or two of those torpedos from that day somewhere down in the basement. They're probably dangerous being 30 years old by now. Happy Birthday E-L! Henry

Rick Fleischer-I don't really remember E-L day per se. I was just about eight years old at the time. Living in Warren, Oh. we used to travel to my grandmother's house in Cleveland. This was often on the Ohio Turnpike or SR 82. On the way we would always pass over top of SN tower on the Ohio SR 5 bridge. This was a pretty busy place at the time with through trains and a switcher or two stationed at Leavittsburg. It seemed to take a while before I even noticed the Erie Lackawanna. The transition to the Lackawanna's colors took some time, especially on yard engines. I was used to the Erie's yellow & black, and the two tone green paint schemes. Finally, I noticed that maroon and grey Lackawanna paint and thought , gee, this is a really nice paint job. So, it wasn't very long until I really got to admire that paint scheme. Anyone remember when Athearn first produced the Erie Lackawanna GP-35's in HO scale? Until that time you couldn't buy any locomotives factory painted for EL. I just had to have one of those! That was back in the 70's. At any rate, I sure miss that EL paint scheme. It had to be one of the prettiest and classiest paint schemes, ever.

Tony Horn-To this east end guy, Marion!!!! Not only the terrific trainwatching, but being able to go over to the diesel house, sign a release, and walk all around the facilities! (Not to mention visiting Joe Slanser's layout.)

Jim Rowland-Though I was never alive to see the real EL, I'd have to say the west end, in this case covering the line west of Hornell. I say this as I had the chance to follow the line closely from Hornell to Rochester, IN in July, 2000. This seemed like the most exciting part of the EL, though most of it was inactive/gone. I took along several books to try to find the locations and places where the photographers stood. Didn't take much to "see" C425, PA, E8, and other locomotives in GMY at the ponds at Andover, NY, or the B&LE crossing at Shenango, PA, or pacing along the empty ROW around Kingsland, IN. I recall standing alongside the Fulton COunty C420 at Rochester, IN and facing west to see part of the ROW covered by an interstate. Wondered what it was liket o face the same way and see a hotshot coming at me. I only wish I could have seen the real thing. Thanks for the memories EL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul Tupaczewski-Oddly enough, mine isn't the sight of a giant freight train, but getting stopped (almost every time) at the grade crossing on Division Street in Boonton, NJ by an EL GP7 switching out tank cars of vegetable oil at the massive Drew Chemical (well, it was PVO International by that point, but old names die hard!) facility. The bright GMY diesel really stood out among strings of black tank cars, and it certainly seems the Boonton Drill (1st Boonton, that is) kept busy around the Drew plant for most of the afternoon.

Walt Fles-Mine is the 12 diamond interchange in Griffith, IN where it crossed the EJE and the GTW, and the C&O branching off onto its own mainline. When the crossing was not maintained (as usual unfortunately) it was sure to bend or misalign a car's front end or two.
I also remember a side effect of the EL disappearing being that the C&O of Indiana essentially ceased to exist. This was because the EL was shared with the C&O between State Line and Griffith, and with Conrail abandoning the EL in most of Indiana, there was no where for the C&O to go. The trains were re-routed along the PM and the B&O across northern Indiana and could tie into the C&O from Lacross to North Judson. This is the only leg that is still running, as the Chesapeake and Indiana railroad

Art P, LI NY-My introduction to the EL occurred in its last years when my family purchased property in Chenango county. Sightings of moving trains were rare, but I enjoyed exploring Sherburne and Norwich. Sometimes it's the little things that stand out in ones mind- the piggyback ramp in norwich made from a flat car, the cast concrete bumpers that looked strong enough to stop a speeding locomotive. The passenger depot that was not there when I went to take a picture of it. The RS3 with 'Eire Lackawanna' scratched out in spray paint and 'Conrail' scrawled below.

Oxyjock-mine would be going to olean ny each year on el from cleveland

Fred Stratton- Growing up in Wayne, NJ, I remember hearing the RS3's throttling out of Mt. View Station and then cutting back as they coasted westbound by my house on the Boonton Line

Phil/ greatest EL memory (memories) came after the EL was over, and it was sitting with my grandmother on the bench in the small park across from Packard's in Hackensack. We would go to watch the parade of commuter trains headed to Spring Valley for the evening rush and the U34CHs that headed each one. Their unique four-cycle GE sound and very brutish look made a profound impression on me. Somehow I don't think a PL42AC or GP40FH-2 can match that.

Jeff Larson-Like Rick Fleischer, I grew up near Warren, Ohio, in Leavittsburg specifically. I'd have to say my EL memory is crossing the tracks on Leavitt Road, which I did many times. From the north, it was two tracks (2nd Sub), the TOFC ramp off to the left, then 3 tracks (1st Sub), then almost as an afterthought, one track on a slightly lower grade (B&O line to Newton Falls). Although most of the trains I saw were freight trains, the ones that stick in my mind the most were the passenger trains...they seemed to go so fast and be so short. For some reason, I only remember Westbounds, and only on the 2nd Sub. And I'd like to echo Rick's comments on GMY. All the black-and-yellow Erie stuff seemed old and small, and the GMY equipment all shiny and modern and BIG. And does anyone remember when the trim on SN tower was repainted from Erie green to red? It seemed to be too red to be maroon, and I can't imagine CR doing that.

Tom Beckett -I missed the EL freight era-though many times I have imagined various GMY units pacing me as I drove along the Canisteo River. My exposure to the EL was on the commuter lines in Jersey. I was fortunate to have ridden the DLW MU's, and I can recall riding them on summer days with the windows open, taking in the aroma of brake shoe smoke as we sat in a station, then the grinding of the motors as we started and picked up speed. Mundane, to be sure, but an experience you won't repeat today.

Rick- My remembrance is two-fold. As kids in Scranton, three of us had scrapbooks that were comprised of newspaper articles of anything that was about the then roads that served Scranton, Erie, DL&W, D&H, CNJ, etc. NYO&W had passed on a few years before. When the merger came, we as kids decided that we should "merge" our scrapbooks. It took many hours of negotiation to combine what we had and we weren't happy about it. We did it in the end. I still have the "merged" scrapbooks at my house up in Scranton. We were kids then and emotions ran high. The other side of this two-fold remembrance is when the three of us went downtown and saw Erie SWs for the first time in our lives (we had Geeps on the Scranton Branch) in the Lackawanna Yard. We saw Erie and Lackawanna side by side in their independent paint. What a sight that was. We knew then that times had changed and that we had to change with the times. To see both roads, side by side in independent paint was extremely special. It really made a statement. Our combined Erie Lackawanna had a somewhat short life as we know. But for us three friends in Scranton, as we went our separate ways in life, we had our Erie Lackawanna. On that, we finally agreed.

Rich Behrendt-Like many of you from North Jersey, my first recollections are of the Caldwell Branch while living in Verona in the late 1960's/early 1970's - I remember the wig-way on Fairview Ave. and the Silver Lake drills delivering boxcars to Bahr Lumber and West Essex Lumber in Verona, which towards the end were the only regular consignees on the branch - 'The Erie Lackawanna Story' was my first big book purchase which familiarized me to the rest of the EL system via photos - after a few years of practicing on the Caldwell Branch, early photography shifted to Great Notch in conjunction w/acquisition of a driver's license and the discovery of long-haul freights on the Boonton Line/Greenwood Lake line. After high school graduation in '76, it was off to Ohio for college, which I looked forward to, since this was Alco country. By then, CR was starting out, but alot of EL still existed through the late 1970's, and I was fortunate to be able to see and photograph EL Alco's still in action at Brier Hill, Akron and Cleveland before consolidation and elimination of CR assets starting taking hold in the early 1980's...

George Mason-Mine was 70-76. I grew up on Manor Road in Denville near the end and our house was about 150 feet from the tracks of the Boonton line. I think this was the time of the Hot Shot fast freights because they really seemed to move through there. (I could be wrong there) Each shelf in our home had a lip on it. When when a train went by the entire house shook and the lip kept the glassware on the shelves. I remember if I would have a sleepover as a child the terror in those kids eyes when a train would come through at night and it would feel like an earthquake to them! It was awesome!

Mike Del Vecchio-My fondest recalls of EL: Little league games at Water Works Park almost a mile west of Dover, NJ, station along the main line in the early 1970s. The Saturday games would almost stop as the afternoon freight would go by, usually with two units. I was on the Henry O. Baker Insurance team, and we had one kid named Jerry Lycowski who we called "Mole." He was huge for his age, and much bigger and heavier than all of us 10-12 year olds. And he could hit, and often. He was our version of Babe Ruth; not the best behaved, but he made up for it by hitting balls higher and longer than anyone had ever seen. He would hit balls over the big brick-and-mortar Water Works Park sign in right-center field, and twice he was able to hit the ball onto the railroad tracks. I'd like to claim that I remember what the diesels were, but I don't. I do remember the gray and stripes and strings of boxcars. But the trains passing by as we played ball was an indelible part of that era for me. Born in 1960, I lived through EL's entire existence near the top of Madison Street in Dover, which was above and looked over Crescent Field. The trees obscured the vew of the railroad, but we could hear a lot of the action on the EL. As kids we played ball games and ice skated all year in Crescent Field, the site of the DL&W's old watering pond in Dover, and saw a lot of trains as we played. I do recall one crew with a striped Geep switching gondolas in the freight yard, and they were scooting about and banging into cars -- I remember thinking that these guys were rougher with the real thing than I was with with the models in the basement. My first recollection of Conrail happened shortly after merger day, when I walked through the Dover station breezeway from town to find a giant-looking Reading C630-something leading a PennCentral GP30-something on a long freight just sitting there in front of the tower -- the crew might have been in the tower. The Reading unit looked huge -- I'd seen nothing like it before. Yep, things were gonna change. October 17th for me, though, is memorial day. It is the last day of DL&W and its long and rich history. How many of you know that DL&W was the only railroad in the nine original companies that made up what would eventually become the Dow Jones Industrial Average listed in what would grow to become the Wall Street Journal? It is also the last day of service on the Rockaway Loop. After getting home about 9:00 p.m. that on 10/17 this week I popped in the Mark I Lackawanna video that featured the moves of the 10/17/48 excursion over the line during dinner.

Jim G-And while you've got me thinking here about bridges, there was one more nice EL moment I will mention: riding NY-74 out of Port Jervis at night (back in 72, pre-Scranton diversion), up with the engineer. I'll never forget the slightly queezy feeling I got as we approached Moodna Creek, rolling along at around 45 mph, looking out where the ground drops away. Couldn't help but ask myself, "we're really gonna get over on that skinny little strip of metal?" Obviously we did. Wonder if any young, just-hired crew guys had a similar feeling on their first trips over Belfast or Portage?

Tim Souders-Originally from Huntington, Indiana, which was a terrific place to watch the Erie/EL…spent a couple weeks each summer with my grandparents who lived on Stults Road, more or less across from westward semaphore 845-1….loved hanging out at the old depot and watching the crews change and the old RS-3 kick cars around the yard….watching strings of RS-3’s (and later PA’s) drag long freights past my grandparents farm on their way to Chicago (and one summer in about 1961, seeing one of those RS-3’s in a sharp looking combination of gray/maroon/yellow with a ‘Lackawanna’ added to the Erie; hmm; never heard of the DL&W until I read more about it!! Being able to sit out in front of my grandparents farm under the maple tree with a jug of Koolaid and wait for both east and westbound Lake Cities in the afternoon, all the while being able to hear that RS-3 wind up when kicking cars around in the yard, shut off….wait a few seconds….then hear a ‘boom!!’ when the cars coupled!!! Staying awake in the wee hours and watching out the window as (NY100?) stopped to change crews and watching and listening to the refrigerator cars’ compressors kicking on and off as the train sat….lightning bugs glowing…crickets chirping… Starting and ending several trips between Huntington and Wichita, KS on the EL and Santa Fe; admiring those handsome EL E units parked beside Santa Fe F units at the bumper posts in Dearborn Station…imagine that would’ve been the closest to heaven anyone could have gotten to!! I could go on and on….those were very happy times for me; thank God we’re blessed with an ability to remember….

Last Updated 12/20/11

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