SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A trip to the Big Apple could soon be just a train ride away for those in Northeastern Pennsylvania, specifically those in Scranton and the Poconos.
Amtrak is currently studying a route from New York City to Scranton and is picking up steam.
The Great American Railroad transported goods and passengers for centuries.
“You just need accessibility everywhere,” said Kirk Mull of Birdsboro.
Amtrak launched a study over the summer with “Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority” to add more passenger rail service to the Keystone State.
“Having accessibility to cities like Scranton, Harrisburg all the way up to New York City would be awesome,” said Mull.
Kirk Mull tells Eyewitness News he is excited amtrak is looking at expanding its services in Pennsylvania. Three different lines one from New York City to Scranton making three stops in the Poconos. The second, outside of Newark heading to the Allentown area, third from Philadelphia to reading.
“The roads get quite congested and it’s a nightmare. Not everyone can just hop in a car and go. And a train would be a viable option,” said Mull
“I think for small businesses it’s a very good idea because it brings them the economy that they need. But we are forgetting about our average person,” said Nadine Gannon of Lake Wallenpaupack.
Gannon tells Eyewitness News she sees both sides. However, with access to rail service to the Big Apple, she adds New York City workers with big salaries will be able to move to Scranton while working in one of the largest cities.
“They will be able to have larger rent payments or mortgage payments and the locals who have been born and raised here will be lost in the shuffle because they will never be able to compete with those salaries,” said Gannon.
Amtrak’s study is looking to improve 25 existing routes and add 39, reaching 160 new communities in the country. Lawmakers touting job growth and a boost in the economy.
“87 million dollars a year, extra in economic activity will spring up if we get these three trains a day coming from New York City to Scranton,” said Representative Matt Cartwright.
Congressman Matt Cartwright has been fighting to get Amtrak to Scranton.
“Cody, it’s just a matter of pushing, pushing and pushing,” said Representative Cartwright.
It is estimated to pump two-point-nine billion dollars into the economy over five years for capital improvements.
“That comes about when you do the building of the train stations, and the tracks and upgrading the signal systems and all of that,” said Representative Cartwright.
The 125-mile trek from NYC to Scranton would be the first passenger rail service connecting the two since 1970.
The study is expected to be completed soon. Congress’ infrastructure bill would help get it going.
To learn more about the proposals you can visit the Amtrak website.