Frequently asked questions about the Lackawanna Terminal Railway  

Since the Lackawanna Terminal Railway web page first came on line many of you have had questions about the railroad, it's history, where we are going, and how we plan to get there. This page seeks to answer some of your most frequently asked questions. We hope this effort helps to sate your new found and insatiable lust for information about this growing regional railroad that is so vital to the economy of the state of New York. 

1. Where did the Lackawanna Terminal come from? Did I miss something? Was my back turned? Who are you people? 
The Lackawanna Terminal Railway was formed from what was left of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railway. During the formation of Conrail in the early seventies two enterprising businessmen, while researching commercial properties in Hudson County, New Jersey, found a loophole in a lease created in the eighteen hundreds which allowed them to form the Lackawanna Terminal Railway Corporation under the corporate umbrella of the Lackawanna Terminal Industries, LLC. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway is now a closely held corporation whose stock is controlled by the original owners (as the Lackawanna Terminal Industries, LLC) and on-line businesses which have a large financial interest in the long term viability of the Lackawanna Terminal. Some of these companies are the National Chemical and Refining Corporation in Depew, NY and the Stradivarius Steel Corporation, which is located near Corning, NY (Stradivarius Steel is a division of Athenia Steel Corp. of Clifton, NJ). The various companies which own stock in the LT are represented on the LT Board of Directors and set policy for the running of the railroad. The day to day operations of the railroad are run from the Corporate Headquarters in Scranton, PA by the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Management Team, a General Superintendent aided by an Assistant Superintendent, office staff, and several traveling trainmasters and roadforemen. Since the LT is small regional, management, by economic necessity, must be kept to a minimum and most of the responsibility for maintenance of the equipment and fixed plant is shouldered by the local track and mechanical supervisors. 

2. Are your employees non-union? The Lackawanna Terminal's mechanical and clerical employees are non-union. This is their choice since the railroad cannot interfere with the solicitation of members by any union. The Lackawanna Terminal Management Team continues to offer it's non-union, non-operating employees wages and benefits comparable to that earned by their counterparts on the class 1 railroads. An added benefit for the employees is that they save on the monthly dues paid by their counterparts on the unionized roads. Our operating crafts (engineers, conductors, and brakemen) belong to the Brotherhood Of Locomotive Employees. This is for several reasons: 1. Every employee entering train service must eventually take promotion to conductor and then to engineer. 2. This is the union with which the operating employees voted to be affiliated. 3. Having unionized crews helps when interfacing with crews from other railroads. Wages and benefits are comparable to those outlined in the national agreement except that pay is based on an hourly wage with no mileage or arbitraries. The company offers the addition of a 401 and 457 deferred payment program as a retirement plan. 

3. Are railfans welcome on the property of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway? The Lackawanna Terminal Railway has participated in various activities for railfans, on-line communities, businesses, and schools (such as Operation Lifesaver) and will continue to do so. We believe, that as a railroad vital to the communities we serve, that we need to be sensitive to the needs and desires of those who come in contact with the railroad. We are receptive to foliage excursions, Railroad Day Celebrations and other organized events when time allows the scheduling of crews and equipment. However, these are scheduled, controlled events subject to certain rules and regulations organized for the enjoyment and safety of those employees and guests participating.. Individuals or groups on the property without permission for whatever purpose, no matter how innocent, are considered trespassers and all employees are required to report these people to the proper authorities and the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's police forces will be summoned. Those persons or groups who wish to railfan the LT are encouraged to do so during our organized group events or watch and take photographs from public property adjacent to the railroad. This policy was instituted after several incidents of vandalism caused damage to our equipment and injury to our employees. 

4. Why is your paint scheme based on the Erie Lackawanna caboose paint scheme? I could go into all the proper reasons for selecting a color scheme for a railroad including safety (grade crossing visibility), cost (simple vs. three color), history (preserving the colors of  past railroads over which the Lackawanna Terminal railway runs) but the fact is that I like the colors and my friends like the colors (at least they haven't objected to my face and since I am the boss...). 

5. Who are your primary interchange partners? 
The Lackawanna Terminal interchanges with : 
◦ Conrail in Buffalo, Binghamton, NY and South Kearny, NJ.
◦ D&H at Binghamton, NY (The Lackawanna Terminal Railway also has trackage right over the D&H to Montreal in exchange for the D&H rights into Croxton Yard in Secaucus, NY)
◦ NS in Buffalo
◦ BN and UP through run through agreements for export coal from the Powder River coal fields through the Buffalo Gateway.
◦ CP and CN in Buffalo.
◦ CSX in Buffalo.

6. Do you connect with any shortlines?
The Lackawanna Terminal interchanges with:   
◦ The Rochester and Southern, Buffalo.
◦ Genesee and Wyoming, Greigsville, NY.
◦ Bath and Hammondsport, Bath, NY.
◦ Owego and Harford, Owego, NY.
◦ Delaware Lackawanna, Scranton, PA.
◦ Morristown and Erie, Lake Junction, NJ
◦ New York, Susquehanna and Western, Croxton Yard, NJ

7. Can you give a brief overview of your motive power policies? Why no modern power?
At startup, the Lackawanna Terminal Railway was in a poor position to demand the newest and best from the railroads that were being rolled over into Conrail (it was really a case of  "sit down kid and shut up"). The Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Management Team's primary motive power concern was reliability and a shopping list included those locomotives that have proven themselves over the years. The mechanical department was told to pick out the best of the choices we were given and the Lackawanna Terminal did well with the F-7s, GP-7s, GP-9s, GP-35s that were purchased. Later, C-424s, U-25Bs, C628s, and C-630s were picked up at bargain basement prices as Conrail dumped the oddballs. The big Alcos were retired from the LT when GP-40s and SD45s became available on the used locomotive market. Later, with the demise of the Milwaukee Road, SD-40s were purchased through lease companies. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway's mechanical department has looked at the new EMD and GE microprocessor controlled engines (a few were even demonstrated on the property) but cost, new parts inventory, training, plus the questionable reliability of the new, more complex technology, makes the modern behemoths a poor choice for the Lackawanna Terminal at this time. 

8. What are your primary commodities being shipped via LT (both outbound and inbound)? Inbound Lumber, Chemicals and plastic pellets, coal, paper, imported automobiles from Asia, and non-durable consumer gods, and scrap steel are the major inbound loads. "land bridge" and domestic containers from the west coast, as well as coal, provide an increasing percentage of the Lackawanna Terminal railway's traffic base. Outbound chemicals, steel structures, Asian imports, "land bridge" domestic containers, processed coal, and imported automobiles from Europe comprise the biggest percentage of the LT's outbound loads. 

9. Who are your biggest customers? National Chemical and Refining is by far the largest single customer on the property. The container ports at Elizabeth Port, NJ for international transit and the domestic container yards in New Jersey account for the second largest number of loads. The Central New York Power Authority's new coal fired power plant and coal for export has boosted coal loadings to third place for cars handled by the LT. Athenia Steel, and their subsidiary Stradivarius Steel Fabricators in West Corning, NY, provide a solid traffic base as well as the food warehouses in New Jersey and New York. Several customers such as the Amalgamated Processed Foods Corporation have come back to rail. Other new customers have recently come on line: Perfection Plastic Products, Calamari Brothers Frozen Foods Warehouse, and a building materials transfer company, both in Leicester, NY to name a few active consignees. 

10.  Are your crews as overworked as NJ Transit crews? Unlike other railroads, the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Management Team believes that all crews should be at their home or away terminals before the expiration of their hours of service. As you might know, many railroads will let their crews "die" on the road. Having run the train as far as permitted under the twelve hour rule, the company will require the crew to remain on the equipment until the railroad sends a relief crew. This could mean a crew will be out on the road for more than sixteen hours before they are picked up and transported to their home or away terminal. The crew is then given ten hours to get home or to a motel, eat, shower and sleep before they have to be available to run another train. After a short time working under these conditions, chronic fatigue can set in with the result that the crew is less attentive than they should be when in control of their train. The Lackawanna Terminal Management Team considers this to be a safety hazard and as such requires all crews that will not reach their destination terminals by the twelve hour limit set by the FRA  be relieved on the road and be in their terminals before the HOS expire. The Lackawanna Terminal management Team has also negotiated transit times for the operating employees so that the drive time from the terminal to the employee's home or motel will not be counted as rest. 

11.  What are the worst parts of the state that LT trains traverse? Urban areas generally pose the most hazardous conditions for operating trains. The population is more dense with an attendant increase in trespassers, debris on the track, and vandalism of stopped trains. This is not to say that the rural areas that the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's trains traverse are free of these hazards, it is just that the urban areas are, historically more likely to have incidents involving the local population. 

12.  Percentage-wise, how many LT trains are burglarized at stops? Not enough to worry about. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Police Force, under the leadership of Lt. Marcus Sade is aware of areas that present an opportunity for vandalism and "shadow" trains that run through these areas. We have found that by maintaining an active presence in high risk areas that vandalism is reduced to a point where revenue loss is not significant. 

13. Do you work on your railroad, or just your web page? Many of the Lackawanna Terminal's employees enjoy summer vacations and because of this, work on the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's right-of-way and environs reaches a low point during the summer months. 

14.  I hear your signal system switches from red to green randomly. True? Actually, this is not true. While all signal system have "glitches" (some more than others), the signal system (if there ever is one) on the Lackawanna Terminal Railway will be designed to be simple and therefore, inherently less gremlin occupied. 

15.  How many "fake" Harriman awards has the Lackawanna Terminal Railway won? Actually, the Lackawanna Terminal railway has won no Harriman Awards. The Harriman Award is won by the railroad with the least FRA reportable injuries. By it's nature the award encourages cheating in this respect. The Lackawanna Terminal railway reports all FRA reportable injuries as required by law therefore no Harriman Award for us. 

16. How many conductors does the LT employ? The Lackawanna Terminal employs about 40 full time conductors but this number fluctuates as brakemen are promoted and conductors who have been promoted to engineer bid engineer positions or are placed on the engineer/conductor/brakeman extra list. When an employee or new hire goes into train service they are employed as brakeman until such time as they can be promoted to conductor. This time varies with aptitude and is usually determined by the training department based on regular evaluations from the crews with whom the employee works. Promoted conductors are then required, after a certain amount of time, to go through the engineer's class. The operating department understands that the work the train crew does (and especially the engineer) is more a craft more than just a job classification and as such is learned more on the job rather than in the classroom.  The decisions the operating people make in the field are important to the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Management Team in terms of customer satisfaction, lose rates due to damage, and labor costs in lost time. Candidates for train service are screened and chosen based on this criteria. Our attrition rate is very low and candidates who fail to measure up are found suitable jobs in other areas of the company whenever possible. 

17. We see that the LT has in its possession some historical equipment. Are there any plans for saving the most significant examples of 1st and 2nd generation motive power? Yes, the Lackawanna Terminal has made arrangements to set aside all historically significant locomotives and rolling stock which the railroad has accumulated over the years. However, only those pieces which remain in an "as built" configuration are considered significant and will be donated to the Steamtown collection in Scranton upon their retirement In addition, the Lackawanna Terminal Railway is willing to do any restoration work, both cosmetic and mechanical to insure the equipment is operable before it is turned over to the museum. Other equipment will be offered for sale to any bidder as each piece reaches retirement age. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway will do cosmetic and mechanical work for the new owners at the LT's normal rates. If you have any questions, please write the FAQ MAN. 

Want to get to the truth about the Lackawanna Terminal's twisted Management Team? Investigative reporters have placed a mole deep within the bowels of the LT's headquarters and have finally revealed the rotting pillars beneath the LT's empire. Take a chance if you dare, read the Deep Fried FAQ!

Lackawanna Terminal Railway Quick Index:

Home Page Rolling Stock  Motive Power  Buffalo Division Map  Track Plans  System Operating Plan Links