More on NJTransit service restoration

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More on NJTransit service restoration
Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 5:33 AM
After more than eight months bus subsitution, trains are back on New Jersey Transit's (NJT) Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL) to Philadelphia, and on the Princeton Junction - Princeton Shuttle.

Restored service, Sunday, May 12. The agency had promised that service would return by May 24, and the 12-day advancement was welcome.  

Service reductions elsewhere continue, and lack a definite restoration date.  The ACRL and Dinky closed after Labor Day last year to permit the installation of Positive Train Control (PTC), but some local advocates and public officials questioned the need for a total shutdown.

The other service cuts, those continuing, include Raritan Valley “one-seat-ride” to New York Penn Station,  All trains on the line now run to and from Newark. Weekend trains on the Gladstone Branch between that town and Summit on the Morris & Essex Line has substitute buses. Morris & Essex, Montclair-Boonton and other trains are also mssing. Progess in meeting PTC deadlines was slow under Gov. Chris Christie, but current governor, Phil Murphy, has made PTC a top priority for NJT.

Memorial Day is the start of the summer tourist season and failure to restore Atlantic City service could have had serious political repercussions.  NJT Executive Director Kevin S. Corbett blamed the labor shortage, particularly the lack of engineers, and added that the first group of 12 new trainees had completed their classroom work and there are three more training classes in progress, so the engineer shortage should end.Installation of PTC equipment on the GP40 locomotives, with extra month to rebuild the floors and perform other repairs on some of the units, dating from an order by the Central Railroad of New Jersey in the 1960s.

NJT ran buses to substitute for the absent trains, not difficult on the Dinky—, the shuttle for the slightly more than two miles between the Northeast Corridor (NEC) at Princeton Junction, and Princeton University. Formerly it ran to downtown Princeton, but it has been shortened twice over the years, and one  bus could provide a schedule approximating the train's.  But the ACRL is longer. Riders used the Port Authority Transit Company (PATCO) between Philadelphia and Lindenwold and scheduled NJT buses the rest of the way to Atlantic City, or a regular scheduled NJT bus route between Philadelphia and Atlantic City. A temporary bus route, #340, ran between and the trains' stations, approximating trains' schedule. The reporter for this posting rode the final run of route 340 and was the only passenger on board.

The first Atlantic City - Philadelphia train, departing left at 4:43 a.m., had three passengers, including the reporter, at Atlantic City, with the fourth boarding at Lindenwold. After a problem-free run, the return trip, departing Philadelphia at 6:43 a.m. left with 16 passengers, plus NJT employees. Corbett was one, and another was Anthony Grieco, Assistant Executive Director for Communications and Customer Service.

Corbett talked to both the employees and passengers who rode on the train,  and said: “We’re trying to make up for lost time  But the new scheudle controversial.  On opening in 1989, there were two trains to Philadelphia for the morning commuter-peak. One was cut with other system service cuts, but now the second “commuter” train is restored.  But the last train now leaves Atlantic City every night at 10:44, not late enough for attending a show or for evening-shift casino workers, who were among the intended beneficiaries of the original 1989 schedule, when the last train left AC at 1:53 Friday and Saturday nights and 12:53 on other nights. At one time, there was a train almost two hours later than that. Corbett said that ridership on the last train, including casino employees, was insufficient to justify running a train that late.

A bill passed in December, while the Atlantic City trains were suspended, requires public notice and a hearing before implementing a service cuts that reduce the service day by more than 30 minutes, either or both start and. No such hearings were held, and service ends one minute short of two hours or one minute short of three hours earlier, depending on which night.

Two first train from Philadelphia riders countered Corbett’s assertion. Diana Crummie of Oaklyn and Rose DelVecchio of Colingswood, N.J., both casino employees, told the reporter that many casino workers used the late train. Longtime advocate and South Jersey Transportation Advisory Committee member Jeffrey B. Marinoff also complained about the lack of late-evening service from Atlantic City, saying: “It’s a mistake to remove the last two trains at night.” Regarding casino workers, tourists attending events in town and day-trip visitors, he said: “For those people, they can get to Atlantic City by train but can’t return home by train. That makes no sense. The bus is a very poor, slow, indirect substitute.”

Another first train rider, Ed Anderson of Stratford, N.J., complained about the new schedulet at the start of the service day. He does construction work at a casino and the first train to Atlantic City does not arrive early enough for construction workers to start their shifts.  Corbett pointed out the budget squeez that plagues NJT.

Other first-train-rider comments:  Louise Jagod of Collingswood expressed sympathy for rail riders who were forced to take the bus for several months while the trains did not run and said: “The taxpayers of South Jersey want service.” She had been skeptical that the trains would return and added: “I wanted to see it with my own eyes.” Her sister, Mary Frances, who was riding with her, remembered the old Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines (PRSL), which ran limited service until the early 1980s and said she was “ecstatic” to see the trains return. Jacqueline Robinson of Lebanon, Pa., and Florence Walker of New Castle, Del., were traveling together and did not know that they were on the first train from Philadelphia. Walker said: “You don’t want to be crowded up on a bus”; a sentiment expressed by other riders glad to have the trains again.

Marinoff, the campaigned for the restoration of the Atlantic City service in the 1980s and for the Pennsauken Transit Center, a transfer station for that line and the River Line, light rail between Trenton and Camden, stated on his blog: “Where are all of the people who insisted that trains would NEVER return to the Atlantic City Rail Line? They must be back in NEVER, NEVER LAND with all of the people who insisted that I would NEVER get the funds needed to build the Pennsauken Transit Center”  Marinoff also has been quotedthat getting the AC trains back “didn’t just happen. We had to work awfully hard to get them back;” and that getting them back is “a tough sell.”

The Dinky returned to service later because the weekend schedule starts at 9 a.m. In the early afternoon, when the reporter rode. Includign the reproter there were thirteen passengers from Princeton Junction to Princeton University, and only three to Princeton Junction.   Possibly weather and no Mother’s Day keeping people busy with other plans will see ridership increasing.  It was cold with heavy rain.

Corbett made no specific promises, but said other trains cut should start returning in Autum,.with more engineers available. Amtrak's track work at New York Penn Station will require other service cuts.. Overall, he said: “We are starting to turn around.”

Tags: NJ Transit
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Posted by daveklepper on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 7:14 AM
 
 
16 january 2019:  The new articulated buses that N. J. Transit unveiled on Friday should have been electric, not Diesel. It's time that NJT becomes a leader in vehicle technology, not a follower. For example, only now will new NJT city transit and suburban type buses purchased be low-floor with wheelchair ramps {not lifts}. NJT insisted on buying high-floor buses with lifts for years after the entire transit industry had switched to low-floor technology. Fact is that NJT was forced to finally buy low-floor buses because no bus builders would build high-floor transit buses anymore. NJT's excuse was the loss of a few seats with low-floor buses. But the advantages of low-floor buses far outweighed the loss of a few seats. About the only place that high-floor transit buses still operating in North America can be found are in New Jersey.

N. J. Transit will order a small batch of electric low-floor transit buses to be operated in the Camden area next year.

Jeff Marinoff
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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 8:11 AM

NJT's bus operations are radically different from NYC's, often with respect to range and relative economy of providing appropriate capacity rapid-charging points.  That to me makes pure-electric design a crapshoot at best; a logistic nightmare if anything out if the expected (specifically including any unanticipated degrade of battery capacity over time) occurs.  NJT had front boarding only, and the usual provision of front wheel wells for steering in an ELF bus makes for a bottleneck in that area as, unlike on existing buses, no longitudinal seating can be provided over the wells (or, sensibly, ahead of them unless there is excessive overhang length ahead of the front wheels, which will likely have poor effects on the non-beam-axle construction required by a suitable modern low-floor design.

In my opinion a good plug-in diesel hybrid is the only 'future' solution that makes practical sense as a general-fleet bus to replace, say, the MCIs.  The situation only becomes more tenable when you get well into the era of legal autonomous operation, where autonomous 'recharging vehicles' could be requested if a bus 'reports' low power problems and promptly go to an arranged 'interception' point for recharge either from a clean genset or a large battery/super cap array.

I do think, in the absence of a large angle-drive engine at the rear, that low-floor accommodation aft of the rear wheel wells makes far more 'sense' than wheelchair lifts or the fun in providing wheelchair access past the front wheel tubs when the bus is crowded.

 

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Posted by divebardave on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 6:52 PM

Trolletbuses anyone?-

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 8:41 PM

I think the questions are route lengths and miles possible between 20-80% charge. I doubt if  NJT is so unique among mass transit bus systems that it cannot move towards electric. 

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 9:48 PM

charlie hebdo
I doubt if  NJT is so unique among mass transit bus systems that it cannot move towards electric. 

They can, and I think they will; all I'm saying is that straight electric is not as good, or as flexible, a solution for what they need in a general fleet as plug-in hybrid.  (The combustion engines themselves can be comparatively small, but they need to be sized to provide continuous sustaining HEP as well as reasonable street-speed operation)

We had something of a 'dry run' in charger saturation with the Dutch taxis that were given 'free lifetime charging' by Tesla.  I think the chargers needed for these buses will be the high-current versions (Magnachargers, I think they're called?) that Tesla expects to be necessary for the class 8 trucks; I don't think that either prospective new-renewable generation or necessary distributed extension of the charging infrastructure has been either properly costed-out or arranged for implementation and maintenance.  We are already seeing instances in California where 'plug-in' drivers are vilified for using chargers that BEV people think should be 'reserved for their priority'.

As I mentioned, it is possible to distribute the charging architecture in interesting ways; this is not that much different from the infrastructure currently used to support practical electric bike and scooter rentals at correspondingly more capable scale.  The alarming part is, aside from me, who have you heard discussion of these issues from?

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 10:33 PM

My daughter in CA,  a professor in ee and nanotechnology/physics. She also drives the big Tesla. 

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