On Saturday, August 24, 2013, the Morristown & Erie Railway successfully operated a 175-mile round-trip passenger excursion over the tracks of four railroads (NJ Transit, Amtrak, Conrail Shared Assets, and Norfolk Southern). Named the Lehigh Limited, the 16-car train was operated in celebration of the M&E’s 110th year of operation since its inception in 1903.
Motive power for the trip was Morristown & Erie C424 #18, Norfolk Southern GP40-2 #3031, and NJ Transit P40BH #4802. Norfolk Southern also supplied three coaches for its employees and guests, and the M&E leased three NJ Transit Comet V coaches. The remainder of the equipment was comprised of ten privately-owned historic passenger cars that have been upgraded to current Amtrak and FRA standards. These cars came from as far away as Maine and West Virginia. NS #3031 led the westbound trip over the CR/NS Lehigh Line, while M&E #18 led the eastbound return trip over the NS Washington Secondary and the NJT Morristown Line.
The 9.5-hour round-trip from Hoboken, NJ to Bethlehem, PA and back included on-board food services provided by the M&E and a catered lunch provided by That’s Amore restaurant in Bethlehem. Tents, tables, chairs, and serving stations were set up to facilitate serving almost 700 passengers, crew, and staff in under 30 minutes, allowing another hour for everyone to eat and enjoy the beautiful weather before boarding the train again. Police and EMTs were on hand to ensure the safety and security of all passengers and personnel as the locomotives changed ends of the trains while lunch was served.
The entire operation of the Lehigh Limited went on without incident, due to the diligent preparation by the M&E staff as well as the attentiveness and professionalism of M&E, NS, and NJT personnel and crews. Its success is a testament to the cooperation, safety, and dedication to service within the railroading industry, a combination that made the Morristown & Erie’s 110th anniversary a celebration that was truly remarkable and memorable.
Thanks to all who participated!