From: Dlw1el2 AT aol DOT com
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2012 12:32:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday
"Last_Train_off_the_Cut_Off_at_Port_Morris_With_Eric001.jpg" - image/jpeg, 1200x1847 (24bit)
I was recently going through a tiny wooden box that has followed me for 45
years. It contained some high school newspaper clippings and other various
scribbling's, and I came across some writings I had done eons ago, some of
which dealt with the NJ Cut Off. For those of Christian faith, Christmas is
the birthday of Christ. Christmas Eve also happens to be the birthday for
the opening of the Lackawanna's NJ Cut Off. So, I took a little time
yesterday to add some lines to the beginning and some to the end, and came up
with the following. Also attached is a photo of my self and my now 32 year
old son Eric who I'm happy to say, arrived yesterday from NC to spend
Christmas week with Mom and Dad.
A big thanks to John Sobotka for the sign on the engine, that dates the
picture as Oct 5, 1984.
So to all, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy Birthday.
The Lackawanna’s New Jersey Cut Off is one hundred and two tonight, so I
feel this little poem is just about right. J
When money and profit was the normal thing, the Lackawanna thought they
could alter just about anything.
Across New Jersey it had a long and winding route, so it told its
engineers to straighten it out.
They made a glorious Railroad for all to see and ride, it was something
the railroad flaunted with a great deal of pride.
For fifty years it delivered the rights of passage in a way that it was
meant, but in the late 50s single tracking was the first crack in the cement.
And then in 1960 came the EL merger, and everything went downhill, even
Where great speeds were once achieved by steam and diesel alike , the New
Jersey Cut Off was now calm and tranquil most of the day and night.
Only two trains a day keep the rails from going brown, and on long holiday
weekend the rustle of leaves became the only sound.
The Poconos and Hudsons had vanished for over twenty years with only 759
briefly returning that sound to our ears.
And then there was a surge in traffic and trains, for management came
about, as if they suddenly used their brains.
We as photographers now had trains that numbered more than two, so there
was so much more we could see and do.
For several years the country side heard the roar of trains both day and
night, but soon came Conrail and then the end was in sight.
Big blue wanted it gone, and there seemed nothing any one could do, and
even worse yet, I always seemed to be on the crew.
As I worked the trains that sealed the Cut Off’s fait, they would be
remembered as jobs I would both love and hate.
As the summer of 84 was fading out, the last rail train was nearing
completion or just about.
But that was then and we are today, the surges and then silence, have
found their way.
The trains and the track have been gone now for many a year, and only a
dirt bike will catch one’s ear.
NJT has tried to restore, but oh my, what a debacle that has been for many
a year or more.
At a hundred and two you can never tell, but I fear the cement work will
continue to not fare well.
To the men that built, maintained, and rode upon her majestic right of
way, they are the ones who have the true memories that no one can take away.
So today at One Hundred and Two, I simply say, Happy Birthday to you!