Montclair, NJ – It will not only be home to a future grocery store, anticipated to be the largest one in Montclair, but Lackawanna Plaza, site of the former historic Lackawanna Station, will also be home to a restored train that once served commuters at the station.
A former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western (DL&W) commuter coach — an electric Pullman M.U. that has been preserved as part of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum‘s collection for 37 years – has been returned to its home state of New Jersey to be restored and then permanently displayed in Lackawanna Plaza, as part of a community-oriented redevelopment project in Montclair, owned by BDP Holdings LLC.
The historic train – Car 2628 – was acquired by the museum in 1985 and was part of its collection of more than 40 pieces of historic railway equipment. But when galvanic corrosion began to compromise the train’s roof, the museum transferred the historic train to non-profit Tri-State Railway Historical Society, Inc. to be professionally restored. In a plan developed and orchestrated by Tri-State Railway Historical Society, Inc., David Placek, Managing Partner of BDP Holdings, acquired the train car and will fund its restoration which will be completed in the Morristown & Erie Railway shop in Morristown, NJ. The restoration project is estimated to take 12-24 months to complete. Once the train is fully restored, Placek plans to display the DL&W Car 2628 at Lackawanna Plaza, a former train terminal where the original car once served commuters for more than 50 years. Lackawanna Plaza is being redeveloped by BDP Holdings LLC and its anticipated completion is sometime in 2024. At that point, the train will be installed on the property.
“Bringing the restored DL&W 2628 to Lackawanna Plaza is going to take the project to a whole new level,” said Placek. “Once Lackawanna Plaza is redeveloped, it will be home to the township’s largest food market, as well as offer a wealth of affordable housing and environmentally friendly buildings and landscaping. And once we install the train car, it also becomes a place where people can see a piece of Montclair’s history as they climb aboard DL&W 2628. I want to thank everyone at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum and Tri-State Railway Historical Society for helping us bring this amazing piece of history back to the Montclair community.”
The DL&W 2628 has extensive historical significance and is arguably “the best surviving example of a Lackawanna motorcar,” according to Richard King, President of Tri-State Railway Historical Society, Inc. DL&W 2628 was built in 1930 by Pullman as part of an order of 141 electric multiple-unit commuter coaches that ran off a high-voltage direct current system designed by NJ resident Thomas Edison’s General Electric Company. The Railcar operated for more than five decades, passing through the ownership of Erie Lackawanna, Conrail, and eventually NJ Transit, finally retiring in August 1984.
“Dave Placek is the right person in the right place at the right time for all the right reasons,” says Mike Del Vecchio, Director and past president of the Tri-State Railway Historical Society, Inc., who also serves as the project leader, history consultant and coordinator for Tri-State. “In nearly 40 years, none of the surviving “Edison Electrics” have been restored until Dave came along. We look forward to installing the restored car in Lackawanna Plaza sometime in 2024 and celebrating this grand and famous fleet.”
“We feel so grateful to have had a significant piece of history – DL&W 2628 – in our collection for nearly four decades,” said Otto M. Vondrak, President of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. “We are deeply appreciative of our partners at the Tri-State Railway Historical Society for their collaboration in returning DL&W 2628 to New Jersey and providing the best possible setting for historic interpretation. We also thank the team at BDP Holdings for making the transportation and restoration possible.”
For more information on the historic train car, visit the dedicated webpage here.