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"Lackawanna Legacy - The DL&W Electrics" (Video)

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By the early 1920’s, the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad was experiencing rapid growth in volume. Its Morris & Essex Division had become choked with passenger trains. Management began searching for ways to increase capacity of its suburban service. Lack of available real estate prohibited widening existing rights of way. Electrification was chosen as the most attractive plan to increase volume while maintaining the necessary schedules via the current track layout. Actual construction began in 1928 and the first scheduled train consisting of electric multiple unit cars departed Hoboken Terminal with Thomas Edison at the throttle in 1931. Three lines were electrified: the Morristown Line to Dover, the Montclair Branch and the Gladstone Line also known as the Passaic and Delaware Branch. DL&W’s roster of electric traction equipment consisted of 282 cars, including powered cars built new by General Electric and trailers, many of which were converted from existing steam hauled stock. With the exception of the addition of “Erie” to their letter boards following the 1960 union of the Lackawanna and Erie Railroads and a limited number of cars which received experimental paint schemes over the years, the Lackawanna MU’s provided exemplary service wearing their original dress until NJ Transit retired them in 1984.


In 1985, Mark 1 Video released “Lackawanna Legacy – The DL&W Electrics” as a video tribute to the DL&W MU's decades of service. The program begins with an historical overview and circumstances which led to the DL&W electrification project. Delightful black and white photographs enhance the informative narration and provide a visual image of the operating environment into which the MU’s were introduced. Seen are Lackawanna Camelbacks, Pacifics and Poconos. The bulk of the program consists of broadcast quality footage of the electrics during their last two months of service. Scenes of all lines at a plethora of individual locations are included. Sounds of classic electric cars are music to the ears and this program does not disappoint with its thumping compressors and growling traction motors. Fans of modern equipment will be pleased as views of U34CH’s, F7’s and GP40PH’s are interspersed throughout the program. It closes with scenes of new Arrow III cars in operation following modernization of the catenary system. This upgrade actually doomed the old equipment as it was not suitable for conversion.


Mark 1 is renowned for outstanding video images and this program lives up to the company’s high standards. It is sixty minutes in length with a list price of $29.95 for DVD and $31.95 for VHS. The Mark 1 website is http://www.mark1video.com.


Happy railroading,



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