EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Scranton to Wilkes-Barre is a quick trip on Interstate 81. From the early 1900s to the early 1950s ‘The Laurel Line’ was the way to go in this week’s Eyewitness to History.
In 1982 former WYOU reporter Sue miller reported on The Laurel Line and the people attached to it.
“Believe it or not between 1902 and 1953 a fourth rail system took passengers from Scranton to Wilkes-barre. It wasn’t the D & H, and it wasn’t the Erie Lackawanna. It was called the Laurel Line and Ed Miller was the line’s biggest fan. He saved all the memorabilia in his attic and in his memory,” Sue Miller reported.
“The Laurel Line started in 1900 and the idea here was a new high-speed railroad designed to be operated by both electricity and steam for freight service. And one that would better serve the passengers. New passengers that they hoped to attract from the existing steam railroads which were already very busy with freight traffic. They served Rocky Glen Park, Moosic, and a park at Inkerman, known as Valley View. And then after they opened the Dunmore branch in 1904, which at first only went as far as Petersburg (East Scranton), and the following year to Dunmore. We serve Nay Aug Park,” Ed Miller said.
But Miller says that it wasn’t the other railroads that drove the Laurel Lines out of business.
The only reason the railroad came to a halt, like so many other cases was the growth of the automobile. And the development of hard service pilings. The people deserted the Laurel Line, rather than the Laurel Line deserting the people,” Ed Miller explained.
“It’s here in south Scranton where the Laurel Line went underground near Crown Avenue. In the olden days, thousands of people used to pass this way every day. But now as you can see (in 1981) it is deserted. But train buffs like Ed miller says ‘if you listen really hard, you can still hear the train a-comin,’,” Sue Miller Reported.
Like many things that come to an end, a portion of the Laurel Line has been resurrected.
During excursion season you can retrace the line from Scranton to PNC Field in Moosic.