Pequest Fill

The Pequest Fill is the most incredible feature of the Great Lackawanna Cutoff. This fill is the single largest man-made railroad fill in the world! The Pequest Fill is 3.12 miles long stretching from one mile east of Andover to one mile east of Greendel, spanning the Pequest Valley. It contains 6,625,000 cubic yards of fill. The average height of the fill is 110 feet. The entire fill was double tracked and rated for 70mph! The fill crossed over both the Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad and the Sussex Branch. There is as much earth and rock in this fill than all of the other fills on the Cut-Off. Many of the borrow pits in the surrounding area where fill material was excavated are today lakes and ponds.

West end of Pequest Fill in 1914

The Lackawanna Limited comes off the west end of the Pequest Fill in 1914 shortly after the Cut-Off was opened. This location marks the beginning of the Greendel siding. After the Erie-Lackawanna merger when the Cutoff was reduced to single track, this was the only passing siding on the line. To the right, you can see one of the large borrow pits from which fill was obtained.

Photo from The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad in the Twentieth Century, Volume 1, by Thomas T. Taber III, Copyright 1980.
The photograper is unknown.

West end of Pequest Fill in 1984

In 1984, all that remains are the ties of one track, the signal box, and the signal bridge the photographer has climbed.

Side view near the east end of the Pequest Fill in 1998

The Pequest Fill was one of the Lackawanna Cutoff’s greatest engineering marvels. As the Cutoff was constructed before World-War One, it was done only with the assistance of a small quarry railway and a few steam shovels – the remainder was done by hand. Today it creates an unmistakable skyline in the Pequest Valley.

L&HR Culvert under the Cutoff in 2005

The Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad crossed under the Cutoff in the middle of the Pequest Fill. We are looking north with Andover to the right and Greendel to the left. Note the angle of the L&HR. On the far side of the culvert, the railroad turned more northeastward en route to Andover Junction where it crossed the Lackawanna’s Sussex Branch.