We have lift off…to Suffern


As a commuter on the Port Jervis Line from Salisbury Mills there are some things I want. An earlier 7 o’clock hour train in the morning – right now the only one is 7:42 a.m. – would be nice. A nightly 8 o’clock hour train that is semi-express home would also be a bonus. The last connection to an express PJ train is at 7:43 p.m. from Penn Station. The next Port Jervis connection is not until almost 10 for a 20+ stop local. Fun times. Next stop, Delawanna!

It could be worse. Because, it was worse, much worse in 1982!

This 1982 schedule introduced the Middletown Shuttle service to Suffern, with connections to Hoboken. This was the start of MTA adding service on the line owned by Conrail. Strike up the Erie-Lackawanna marching band. Nothing like riding an old Budd RDC to Suffern to catch a train to take you to the PATH (another train) to get you to NYC. You probably weren’t going to Hoboken as it wasn’t really a hot spot back then. No Cake Boss. Yuppies. Eli Manning.


This schedule also offers you a glimpse at the level of service, other than the shuttle, with only three rush hour express trains each way. Sadly, three trains in 1982 may have been enough. The Orange County Planner in a 1980 Newburgh Evening News report said, “…ridership had jumped to 1050 persons a day” and Orange County was the “fastest growing” MTA service segment. It makes you wonder what the numbers were in 1979. Anecdotally, a friend’s mother told me in the 1970’s she used get the train mornings in Monroe (no longer a station) with two or three other people. I wonder if they all pitched in for gas diesel when the conductor came around.

In 2014, I want those two trains. But, I know what I do not want. 1982.