Friday, May 28, 2010

The Great Train Robbery- Part 1

In 1903 there was a film called The Great Train Robbery. It was the first narrative film in film history. The film was originally advertised as "a faithful duplication of the genuine 'Hold Ups' made famous by various outlaw bands in the far West."

Rolled the "film forward" to 2005 in Luzerne County. There was a proposed rail line between Scranton and the greater New York. Congress approved a $286 billion transportation bill that includes authorization for $120 million for the project. According to a Times Leader article from 2005 Paul Kanjorski had this to say about the project.

But the passenger line remains years away, said U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke.

"This is not a high priority for the New Jersey transit authority,"
Kanjorski said.

An environmental study for the rail project is nearly completed, he
said, and the type of rail service -- either regular or high-speed -- is
still being discussed.

The rail link between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, however, is not
included in the language of the transportation bill.
It seems like someone was in a big hurry to purchase property when the prediction from the funding source is that reality is a long way off.

Why do I bring all of this up? More from that same article.

The Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority is buying a historic train station downtown with the hope it will someday serve again as a terminus on a passenger rail line connecting Northeastern Pennsylvania to Hoboken, N.J.

Authority officials authorized an agreement of sale with Thom Greco,
the owner of the 6.5-acre Market Street Square property on Monday. The
authority will pay $5.8 million for the land, which includes the vacant train station along Wilkes-Barre Boulevard.

"It's going to tie into all the downtown projects," said Allen Bellas, authority executive director. "It's obviously going to help out the passenger rail service."

Mr. Bellas was charged by the feds with accepting a $2,000 kickback in 2009 for an unrelated matter. However, his arrest demonstrates the intertwining of the players by the charges filed yesterday against Thom Greco.

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