The Erie Lackawanna Railroad resulted from the merger of two companies in 1960 - the Erie Railroad and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad.
The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western was known as the "Road of Anthracite" and popularized the mythical Phoebe Snow. It also operated the Hoboken Ferry Company which carried passengers from Hoboken to Manhattan. The road ran from Northern New Jersey (Denville and Port Morris) to Scranton, PA. One branch went Southwest from Scranton to Northumberland, PA. North of Scranton the line continued to Binghamton and Buffalo, New York, with branches to Ithaca, Utica, and Syracuse/Oswego. Both the Erie and the DL&W; provided freight transshipment services from Northern New Jersey to Manhattan and Long Island through their marine divisions, which made use of harbor tugs, barges, and ferry boats.
Throughout its history, the Erie was bankrupted on five separate occasions. The railroad generally profited during wartime and suffered during economic downturns, like the panic of 1893 and the Great Depression. During the 1920's the road was controlled by the Van Sweringen brothers of Cleveland, who sought to merge the Pere Marquette and the Chesapeake & Ohio with the Erie. By 1937 the railroad sought reorganization, and during the process acquired the Cleveland and Mahoning Valley division (formerly the Nypano Railroad). Emerging from bankruptcy in 1941, the Erie paid dividends to shareholders during the prosperous war years. For a decade after the war the railroad made money and completed the shift to dieselization.
During the 1950's several factors changed the face of railroading in the Northeast and throughout the industry. This time the Erie sought relief via a merger with the DL&W.; The Delaware and Hudson was also included in the initial talks but later dropped out. The transportation consulting firm of Wyer, Dick, and Company was hired to study and prepare a report on the proposed merger. Following hearings before the Interstate Commerce Commission, the merger took place on October 17, 1960. The two railroads would be known henceforth as the Erie Lackawanna.
The new railroad was plagued by money problems throughout its history. President William White was able to upgrade rolling stock by bringing on line a new car repair shop at Meadville. The railroad also abandoned duplicate lines and aging facilities. Long distance passenger service was also phased out, with the last runs of the marquee trains Phoebe Snow in 1969 and The Lake Cities in the 1970's. The road also fought the ICC over the discontinuance of commuter service, long an unprofitable sector of company operations. While eliminating its passenger services, the EL expanded its piggybacking freight service. Nonetheless, the financial drain could not be stopped, and in 1968 the Erie Lackawanna became a part of Dereco, a holding company owned by the Norfolk and Western. This company included other Northeastern roads such as the Delaware and Hudson, Reading, and the Jersey Central.
In 1972 Hurricane Agnes did considerable damage to track and bridges in New York and Pennsylvania. On June 26, 1972 the EL again petitioned for bankruptcy. Judge Robert B. Krupansky of the U.S. District Court named Cleveland businessmen Ralph S. Tyler and Thomas F. Patton trustees during the reorganization proceedings. With the passage of the Rail Reorganization Act of 1973, the stage was set for the absorption of the EL into the Conrail System. This officially took place in April of 1976.
From 1977 thru 1992, the Conrail restructuring of the former EL took place. EL properties abandoned by Conrail were sold by the Erie Lackawanna trustees. Collapsing the estate of the former railroad into a corporation known as Erie Lackawanna Inc., the process of selling real estate, equipment, and even memorabilia continued in an effort to pay tax liabilities, creditors, and shareholders. Upon completion of the liquidation process, Erie Lackawanna Inc. dissolved itself, bringing the history of the Erie and Lackawanna Railroads to a close.
Common Stock Certificate, issued in the 1960’s
Printed by the American Bank Note Company
8” (h) x 12” (w)
This certificate has vertical fold lines, punch hole cancels in the signature area and body, and some toning and edge faults from age.