DL&W Railroad Station

UPDATE: Work is now underway! The platform has been removed and the interior is being gutted. Check out the photos:

In late September, the Nicholson Heritage Association (NHA) announced that renovations will commence on the Nicholson Tourism Center at the Historic Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W) Railroad Station. In late 2014, this historic transportation facility preservation and community economic revitalization project received a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant for preservation and rehabilitation of the historic train station. Thank you to the Wyoming County Commissioners for agreeing to be the sponsor of the project, a TAP grant requirement.

The bids received in response to the call for June 2018 call for bids, were reviewed by PennDOT, and Perry’s General Contracting, Dunmore, base bid of $1,154,000 was accepted. While this is more than the original grant amount awarded, PennDOT is fully funding the work to complete the project. The TAP grant program requires that NHA provide a match to cover inspection costs.

We purchased the station in June 2012, with donations from individuals, businesses, and a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh Project grant. In 2014, we held two public meetings, to present and discuss the results of the feasibility study, funded mainly in part by a grant from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region with PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources funds. The designs are complete and possible in part to a Tom E. Dailey Foundation grant. Reuther+Bowen, a highly accomplished and diverse engineering, design, and construction services firm in Dunmore, PA, has been working with the Nicholson Heritage Association on the project, including the designs.

The Nicholson Tourism Center at the Historic DL&W Railroad Station will revitalize the region by attracting tourists to the station, the Tunkhannock Creek Viaduct (also known as the Tunkhannock Viaduct or the Nicholson Bridge), Nicholson, Historic Tunkhannock, Wyoming County, and the Endless Mountains. The station also will attract visitors to the region by linking to the area’s railroading and transportation attractions, including the Martins Creek Viaduct, Viaduct Valley Way Scenic Byway, Starrucca Viaduct, Steamtown, Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces, Electric City Trolley Museum, Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour, D&H Gravity Railroad Depot Museum, and Honesdale: the birthplace of American Railroad. It will also be used for community events.

Keep in mind, we have already purchased the station. Renovations are our next step (the building is not yet open to the public) and donations are needed for long-term stability of the project. You can make a tax-deductible donation by mailing us a check (to P.O. Box 496, Nicholson, PA  18446) or even via PayPal (by clicking on PayPal button on right/below).  Thank you!

We’ve received the following letters of support: Nicholson Borough, State Representative Sandy Major, State Senator Lisa BakerU.S. Representative Lou BarlettaEndless Mountains Heritage RegionPreservation Pennsylvania, Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission, and Steamtown.

The Nicholson Heritage Association is working to rehabilitate the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad’s (DL&W) Nicholson Station, located right off Route 11. This landmark has been a virtually unchanged fixture in Nicholson for 165 years. In August 2011, we won a $25,000 Pepsi Refresh (thanks to all of our supporters voting and collecting yellow Pepsi caps with codes) grant that was used, in conjunction with donations from individuals and businesses, towards the purchase of the station, finalized on June 27, 2012. We also applied and received a PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant through the Endless Mountains Heritage Region to help defray the costs of a feasibility study, which was completed and presented in January 2014.  

On Thursday, August 14, 2014, at 2:00 p.m., we held our second public meeting on our railroad station project at the Nicholson Fire Company Hall (thank you Nicholson Fire Company!) at Main and Walnut Streets in Nicholson. Light refreshments were available, thanks to the Inn the Beginning.  Click here for a summary. On January 23, 2014, we held our first public meeting on the renovation of the historic Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad Station in Nicholson, where the results of the feasibility study, funded mainly in part by a grant from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region with PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources funds, were presented and discussed. Working with The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development, of Scranton, the study looked at rehabilitating the station into a visitor’s center to promote tourism and attract visitors to the region, as well as a place for community events. Here is the study, a fact sheet on the results of the study, the PowerPoint that was presented, and a meeting summary.

In addition to the many individual donations that we’ve received, we would also like to thank the following for their generosity of donations to this project:

Airline Petroleum
Canadian Pacific (match for the EMHR/DCNR grant for feasibility study)
Facet Cycling LLC
First National Bank
First Presbyterian Church (Nicholson, PA)
Geisinger Medical Group
Golf Tournaments – Craig Smith of F. Smith & Sons
Golf Tournament – Matthew Lochen
H & D Waste
Lech’s Pharmacy (match for the EMHR/DCNR grant for feasibility study)
M&R Trucking
Nicholson Alumni Association
Nicholson Women’s Club (match for the EMHR/DCNR grant for feasibility study)
Pepsi – Refresh Project (Made Station Purchase Possible)
Peoples Neighborhood Bank, now Peoples Security Bank and Trust (Made Designs Possible)
Pump n Pantry (Made Designs Possible)
Southwestern Energy (Made Designs Possible)
The Tom E. Dailey Foundation (Made Designs Possible)
Union Grange #152
United Methodist Church Mission Group (Nicholson, PA)
United Methodist Women

Members of the Association have met or discussed this project with representatives from Preservation Pennsylvania, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development, Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation, the Endless Mountains Heritage Region, the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau, the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority, and the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission to garner technical and financial support. We’ll continue to foster these relationships, as well as continue to garner support within the community and region. We are excited about spearheading this initiative and want to encourage innovative partnerships and approaches to the historic preservation of this station with local, state, and federal partners, individuals, and other organizations. By working together, we can preserve this historical, cultural building and promote economic revitalization within our town and region.

History of the Railroad Station:

The Nicholson Station was the first, and largest, station built by the Liggett’s Gap Railroad on its line from Scranton, PA to Great Bend, PA in 1849/1850. Initially, the wood station was used to board transient workers before being used to handle freight and passengers. As many as one hundred workmen slept on the second floor of the station during construction. The north section of the first floor, the freight room, was the big dining hall and the south portion of the first floor was a kitchen, living room, and bedroom for family.

The Liggett’s Gap Railroad was a predecessor to the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad (DL&W), which was the one of the earliest railroads in the region. Railroads were crucial in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, the Industrial Age of the United States, to changing how goods, people, and services moved, especially by, literally, opening small rural communities like Nicholson to the “rest of the world.” Railroads like the DL&W moved coal, iron and steel out of Scranton through towns including Nicholson to where it was needed outside the region. They fueled our nation’s economy.

Additionally, all along the DL&W from Scranton to Binghamton, stations to receive milk were built at places most convenient to area dairy farmers. The largest milk station was at Nicholson, just north of the Nicholson station. Milk was then shipped on the lines to Scranton and Binghamton.

Nicholson was the most important stop between Scranton and Binghamton as it sent and received more passengers and freight and brought more profit to the DL&W than any other station along the line, and for some years it was more than all the other stations combined.  Reverend Garford Williams reported in the January 15, 1954 edition of the Nicholson Examiner that “in 1854, the Nicholson station received 3,459 passengers who paid $1,741.32 in fares from all DL&W railroad points to Nicholson. The same year, Nicholson sent out 2,562 passengers on the Lackawanna Railroad, who paid $1,778.79 in fares to all railroad points.” It’s interesting to note that the 1880 U.S. Census records that there were 586 residents in Nicholson.

In 1855, the local Post Office moved from the edge of the settlement to the station, at which time the name was changed from Baconville (sometimes also referred to as Bacontown), after the town’s second Postmaster (Nathan Bacon), to Nicholson, named after John Nicholson, the former comptroller general of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 1782 to 1794 who greatly influenced our early Nation. For some time, the station agent, Albert King, was also the postmaster. For fifty years, the Nicholson station employed a passenger agent, a freight agent, telegrapher, and several assistants.

Between the years 1870 and 1883, all trains had to be switched at the Nicholson station; requiring a switch man to be on duty at all times day and night. About this time there were five stage coach routes out of Nicholson that made connections with the DL&W. Also, with Nicholson being the low spot on the rail line, all trains out of Nicholson needed a push up and out of the town. The “Nicholson Pusher” was a helper engine, with two engines added later, used to push or pull long freight trains either way out of Nicholson. Because of this, there was a turntable in Nicholson, with three siding tracks and one switch track, all that were connected to the main line.

In May 1878, the first telephone service in the area was installed when service was opened between the Nicholson and Scranton Stations, about 21 miles south. The station was THE center of the community.

After the DL&W built the Cut-Off that was opened in 1915, the original wood station only handled freight while passenger service was provided by the newly built concrete station on the hill next to the also newly constructed largest reinforced concrete bridge in the world, the Tunkhannock Viaduct, known as the Nicholson Bridge to local residents. The old main line was eventually sold to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to become State Route 11. In 1941, Route 11 was widened, and the ticket bay window and part of the roof on the Route 11 side were removed.

The wood station continued to handle freight after the DL&W merger with the Erie Railroad (becoming the Erie Lackawanna Railroad) in 1960. From the October 16, 1970, Nicholson Examiner article about the Nicholson station agent, it’s stated that the station “is the last station between Scranton (PA) and Binghamton (NY) to remain open.” This further illustrates the importance of the Nicholson station not just to the community, but to the region as well.

Due to financial hardship, the Erie Lackawanna Railroad closed the station in 1971. The building was then sold in 1983 to a local business and in private use until bought by the Nicholson Heritage Association in June 2012.

News/Newsletters about our efforts:

WNEP 16 (ABC) – 1/9/19 – Renovations Underway on Historic Nicholson Train Station

Wyoming County Press Examiner – 1/9/19 – Nicholson Tourism Center renovations begin

EndlessMtnLifestyles.com – 9/28/18 – Renovations to Begin on the Nicholson Tourism Center at Railroad Station

Wyoming County Press Examiner – September 26, 2018 – Nicholson visitor center a go

Wyoming County Press Examiner – September 9, 2015 – Nicholson RR station renovations still pending

Preservation Pennsylvania E-News Update – November 18, 2014 – Nicholson Train Station to become visitor center

Endless Mountains Lifestyles – November 18, 2014 – Historic DL&W Railroad Station Receives PennDOT Grant for Rehabilitation

Times Leader – November 14, 2014 – Historic Nicholson train station gets grant for rehabilitation

Wyoming County Press Examiner – November 12, 2014 – Nicholson RR station gets big boost

Scranton Times Tribune – November 12, 2014 – Nicholson RR station gets big boost

Gant Daily – November 11, 2014 – Fifty-Six Projects Receive Federal Funds to Improve Transportation Alternatives

biz570.com – November 10, 2014 – Local projects receive federal funds to improve transportation alternatives

WBRE WYOU TV – November 10, 2014 – Fifty-six Projects Receive Federal Funds to Improve Transportation Alternatives

PennDOT – November 10, 2014 – Fifty-six Projects Receive Federal Funds to Improve Transportation Alternatives

Wyoming County Press Examiner – August 25, 2014 – Public gets earful at station

Scranton Times Tribune – August 15, 2014 – Public gets earful on railroad station plans

WBRE WYOU TV – August 14, 2014 – Renovations to Historic Railroad Station on Track

The Carbondale News – August 13, 2014 – Local historical group to hold public meeting on historic railroad station effort

Times Leader – August 12, 2014 – Meeting set to discuss Nicholson railroad station

Scranton Times Tribune – August 11, 2014 – Community Events List

Times Leader – August 11, 2014 – Group plans public meeting on historic rail station rehab

Wyoming County Press Examiner – March 12, 2014 – Commissioners address Nicholson RR station

Endless Mountains Lifestyles – March 12, 2014 – Commissioners Address Colon Cancer, Mental Health, and Nicholson Rail Station

Wyoming County Press Examiner – March 5, 2014 – Nicholson explores bringing the past forward

Wyoming County Press Examiner – January 29, 2014 – Nicholson RR station plans unveiled

Wyoming County Press Examiner – January 22, 2014 – Local group hopes to revive RR station

Endless Mountains Lifestyles – January 7, 2014 – Nicholson Heritage Association to Share Feasibility Study at Public Meeting

Wyoming County Press Examiner – July 31, 2013 – Historical group takes first step to revive RR station

Times Leader – July 27, 2013 – In Brief – Group looks into station restoration

Susquehanna Independent Weekender – July 3, 2012 – Heritage Association acquires old RR station

The Abington Journal – July 27, 2011

WBRE Eyewitness News – February 11, 2011

Wyoming County Press Examiner – January 26, 2011

Voices of the Past – January 20, 2011

The Abington Journal – January 19, 2011

Times Tribune – January 17, 2011

Wyoming County Press Examiner – July 7, 2010