Dieseliners Coaches

Dieseliners Coaches

Dieseliners 1700 and 1705

ELDCPS received three commuter coaches from NJ Transit in October 2010. Built from 1970-1973, these were the last new cars ordered for Erie Lackawanna passenger service, purchased by the New Jersey Department of Transportation for Hoboken-based commuter service.

ELDCPS will eventually repaint the cars to their as-delivered EL/NJDOT livery, but in the meantime, they will be used for excursion service based out of Scranton. ELDCPS remains committed to the ongoing restoration of our dining cars, Erie Lackawanna 741, Lackawanna 469, and Erie Lackawanna 770, and the excursions that will be run using the Dieseliners will fund that restoration work. While the Dieseliners were not long-distance cars, and were never owned outright by the Erie Lackawanna, they are still very significant to the history of passenger operations on the Erie Lackawanna. They were the newest cars on the railroad at the end of operations, and they proudly wore the Erie Lackawanna logo for over 10 years, outlasting the Erie Lackawanna railroad itself.

The cars acquired by ELDCPS are trailers NJT 5711 (EL/NJDOT 1705), which was in the consist of the final revenue train, and NJT 5718 (1700). Both cars feature the high-level platform doors and traps.

Work Updates

After some minor maintenance, Dieseliners 1700 and 1705 entered service on October 2, 2011 on an Erie Lackawanna Historical Society charter excursion. Because the cars were not hooked up to a Head End Power source, only functions powered by the onboard batteries were used, including lighting and door operation. Once we have secured a power supply for the cars, we will be able to use the climate control systems.

Removing the NJ Transit markings have proven to be a time-consuming process, but the original roadnumbers have already been restored on the cars. To recreate the original NJDOT/EL livery, the windowband will eventually have to be repainted, with new pinstriping applied. In the meantime, however, as funds are required on our Dining Cars, we will be applying temporary decals to complete the windowband where the NJT stripes were, which will also restore the EL logo to the cars. In lieu of the original NJ Department of Transportation logo, we have designed an ELDCPS logo to take its place.

The temporary decals, while significantly cheaper than a total repaint, will still cost a couple thousand dollars for printing and installation. We are now accepting donations to cover this cost. Donations can be made online using PayPal, by credit card through our online store, or by mail to P.O. Box 5821, Parsippany, NJ 07054.

For the latest updates on work being performed on these cars, look for new posts on our homepage or see our past posts under the Equipment Update category


History of the Dieseliners

By the mid-1960s, the Hoboken, N.J. based commuter operations of the Erie Lackawanna, as well as other operators in the northeast corridor, were losing millions of dollars each year. As a consequence, older equipment, some built in the first decade of the 20th century, remained in service. Maintenance on the equipment was also cut back, and ridership levels dropped considerably. In an effort to modernize equipment, state governments began subsidizing commuter operations, upgrading equipment and facilities. The New Jersey Department of Transportation subsidized operations on the Erie Lackawanna, Penn Central, Central RR of New Jersey, Reading and Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines. New equipment was purchased for each railroad’s operations, with the Erie Lackawanna receiving 155 new Pullman-Standard commuter cars and 32 General Electric U34CH locomotives.

The brushed-aluminum Pullman-Standard commuter cars were designed as “Push-Pull” cars, with 35 of the cars equipped with operator cabs on the end of the car. Typically, the locomotive would remain on the west end of the consist, with the operating cab “leading” on inbound trains (push) to Hoboken, N.J. and the locomotives leading on outbound trains (pull). This method of operation eliminated the time-consuming practice of turning trains at their endpoints, swapping power, or moving the locomotive to the opposite end of the train. Promoted in timetables as Dieseliners, the first run of the new cars was on Jan. 21, 1971.

In 1976, Conrail assumed all operations from the Erie Lackawanna and several other bankrupt railroads in the northeast. However, not much changed on the former-Erie Lackawanna commuter lines. The P-S cars continued to wear their attractive paint scheme featuring the EL diamond logo and the NJ DOT arrow logo. With a 1982 order of additional cars from Bombardier, which were based off the Pullman-Standard design, the term Comet I was used to distinguish the older Pullman-Standard cars from their newer cousins, the Comet II.


In 1983, the federal government ordered Conrail out of the passenger business, and NJ Transit assumed ownership for commuter equipment and operations in New Jersey. The cars eventually received NJT’s disco stripes in place of their previous logos.

In 1987, the Comet I fleet was sent to Bombardier for refurbishing. They returned from Vermont with updated seating, climate control, windows, and on all but 71 cars, new high-level platform traps and doors.

By 2006, the Comet I cars were surplus, having been replaced by newer Comet II, III, IV, V and Multilevel cars. Several cars were sold or leased and continue to operate on other commuter operations in Philadelphia, Montreal, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City. Others were sold or donated to museums and historical groups.

NJT Train 1169 departed Hoboken at 5:45 p.m. on Mar. 27, 2009 with six Comet I trailers and a Comet I cab car. The Bergen County Line train arrived at Suffern, N.Y. at 6:46 p.m, and after almost 40 years of service, the Comet I fleet was officially retired from the Erie Lackawanna commuter lines.

NJ Transit donated two cars to ELDCPS in October 2010.

Leave a Reply