Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Thu Jul 21, 2016 9:43 pm

The Port Jervis Line and Hudson Line will never be the same in terms of service levels and ridership. I think the standard should be to have a maximum of 2 hour gaps between trains off peak that go west of Suffern. The exception is of course with reverse peak service. Running 49's return train as a revenue run instead of a deadhead would be a good start to filling in that gap. If that second track is added east of Salisbury Mills, there could be frequent reverse peak and midday trains from there, and it would be possible to time the trains to have 51's set do an extra round trip on the entire line. It would have to depart Port Jervis around 6:45ish, meet 55 at Otisville, 57 at Campbell Hall, and 59 and 61 in the new double track section. Times on the opposing trains would need to adjusted a few minutes on each to allow for it. After Suffern, it would stop at Ramsey Route 17 and Ridgewood and arrive Hoboken at about 8:00. These two additions could mostly fill the gap in reverse peak service, meaning that 67, and 41 get more riders for people going back, warranting them being made into express trains. The set that came in as the new reverse peak train needs to go back to Port Jervis, so it can return as an express train leaving Hoboken at 11-11:30, filling in that 3 hour gap between 67 and 41. With the double track section, semi express runs could be made as far as that extends, which could run every 2 hours, on the hours the Port Jervis express trains were not running.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby EuroStar » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:49 am

I was not suggesting abandoning Hoboken as a terminal if/when the loop gets build. My opinion that the loop is the only major way in which to substantially increase ridership is supported by (1) the history of the Morris&Essex line where MidtownDirect service caused ridership to explode and (2) the observation that most current riders go to Downtown (of the rest probably the majority go to the West Side), but if you need to be at the East Side that is a subway ride or two on top of the Secaucus transfer so you are better off with the Hudson Line. The lack of transfer at Secaucus should make the line competitive for destinations other than the West Side of Manhattan. Morris&Essex and Montclair Lines still have substantial ridership to Hoboken and I would expect that to remain true for the former Erie Lines if the loop materializes.

SecaucusJunction wrote:The new yard design and extra track west of Suffern is on MTA"s budget from 2016 to 2019. It should be progressing sooner rather than later. I'm sure they will attempt to schedule so they can keep only 2 tracks west of WC.

I am not trying to be picky, but do you have the reference for the extra track? I recall seeing in the budget document the yard design (not the money for construction), but I do not recall anything in there about the second track. The problem with the second track is that you need to build second platforms on it, but the second platforms probably mean that you exceed the threshold to trigger full ADA compliance, so that means the existing platforms need to be high level. That is probably $15 million per station total. That is the reason why the double track portion ends exactly before Sloatsburg station. You could probably put the track at a few million per mile, but the stations are the budget buster. I could see them trying to get away with another long siding. Two extra switches are probably cheaper than a station, but sidings do not give the full flexibility double tracking does.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:07 pm

The issue remains that there are not enough trains outside of rush hour to provide effective service to both terminals, so service at Hoboken would be decimated, or the infrastructure added to bring trains to Penn would be unused most of the time.

For example, with the Morris/Essex Line, nothing goes to Hoboken on weekends. If you want to go there, you've got to transfer at Newark to the Montclair line train that only runs every 2 hours. Even Gladstone Branch trains which all but 2 round trips on weekdays go to Hoboken are run as shuttles to Summit. If you want to get to Hoboken, you've got to transfer twice.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby EuroStar » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:32 am

My understanding is that the Gladstone trains on weekend used to go to Hoboken, but were cut during the service reductions. The problem there is that Cristie has not funded NJTransit properly for almost a decade and it shows. Money is the only reason why the Montclair train on weekends is not every hour going to MSU. Last time I was on it on a weekend the demand was there.

Back to the PJ Line: I suspect that you are overestimating the demand for Hoboken as a destination on weekends. While I see that more companies are establishing Hoboken and Jersey City offices and thus create weekday commuter demand, these are not exactly great weekend destinations. There is Liberty State Park, but unless one is bar-hopping in Hoboken I cannot think of many comparable attractions there. Downtown Manhattan is also not a great weekend destination. Based on that I would argue that on weekends changing at Secaucus to reach Hoboken while letting the trains go to Penn would be the better way of doing things. On weekdays you won't decimate the Hoboken schedule because induced demand will force the additions of at least 2-3 round trips during peak hour. I personally cannot venture to guess what might happen during off-peak hour though. You might be correct and the service might be redirected to Penn.

As for the infrastructure, I won't worry that it will be underutilized. The Loop will see plenty of NJ trains from the Erie lines. The tunnels and Penn South (if ever built) will see enough expansion from the other NJ lines that they will not be underutilized. Even Amtrak might add a few trains.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:42 pm

Keep in mind that both the closest light rail stations to the Hudson River waterfront in LSP is Liberty State Park, and Jersey Ave, but thanks to that shortcut past the boats leading to the park, you would save time by getting off at Jersey Ave if you were coming from the financial district. Both Jersey Ave and LSP stations are about a mile walk from the old CNJRR terminal and waterfront. Other than waterfront walks, restaurants, the hotels, and Newport Centre, JC's financial district isn't the best in term of a weekend destination. Many people on the weekends come to Hoboken to either go to restaurants, bars, and stroll along the waterfront so that isn't the best weekend destination either. I am not saying that the trains run empty from HOB to and from Pt. Jervis line stations. When many people say that they are taking the train to NYC, they mean it. Even though you have to change at SEC, it still beats having to stay on the train to HOB and then switching to the Path and then taking a NYCMTA subway where you need to go from the Path. Remember, that if you are taking the Path 33rd Street Line, you are limited to where you are going. Once passengers leave the train at NYP, they are within walking distance of an unlimited number of shops, restaurants, and theaters.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Tue Jul 26, 2016 1:05 pm

One of the issues with Hoboken on weekends is that Path doesn't run the direct route to the World Trade Center. It used to run on weekends, but hasn't for years because of construction at the WTC station, according to Wikipedia. Hopefully it will be reinstated when the new WTC station is complete. They wouldn't want their multi billion dollar station being underutilized on weekends. Right now, if you want to take the Path from Hoboken to Manhattan on a weekend, you're forced to do an extra transfer at Grove Street, and it's often better, even if going to Lower Manhattan to transfer at SEC and take the Subway down there.

I disagree that Lower Mahattan isn't a good weekend destination. There is Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, World Trade Center, Staten Island Ferry, and probably some things that I'm forgetting too. If you want to get to any of those on a weekday, you take the Path from Hoboken and you can arrive at a station that's within walking distance of where you're going. If Path were to step up weekend service and run the Hoboken to WTC route, you'd see more people stay on the train to Hoboken rather than transfer at SEC. It's not just Lower Manhattan either, if you are going anywhere basically below 23rd Street, it's better to take the Path from Hoboken than to go through SEC and transfer to the Subway.

Obviously the extra transfer at SEC is eliminated if trains are going directly to Penn, but it doesn't help you at all if you're going anywhere in Brooklyn, or below 23rd Street in Manhattan, as you still have to transfer to the Subway at Penn (which is always slow and delayed on weekends). The one seat ride to Penn would be great for those going to Manhattan above 23rd Street, Queens, or even The Bronx.

I have ridden the Port Jervis Line many times on weekends, always transferring at SEC. There were times that I would've stayed on to Hoboken, but the extra Path transfer kept me from doing that. If I was going somewhere within walking distance of a Path station, I'd rather take the Path from Hoboken than transfer to the Subway at Penn Station to get there.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby GirlOnTheTrain » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:05 pm

You'll get your HOB-WTC wish even sooner...they'll be doing that shortly when they close the tube to 33rd Street on weekends.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:38 pm

I don't think it'll happen, but I'm holding out hope for that addition to be made permanent.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby TDowling » Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:59 pm

So am I. I'd also like to see the gap closed for inbound trains on the PJL between 4 and 10...
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:34 pm

Not possible without double tracking, or seriously reducing rush hour service. Making train 49's deadhead return into a revenue run would close that gap a little.

Weekend Path service to both lower and midtown Manhattan, and running all Port Jervis trains express are the low hanging fruit for improving off peak utilization of the line. Peak hour ridership is pretty good (shown by the utilization of 7 car trains), and the only thing that's going to help that grow more is when Gateway is finally built and trains can run directly to NYC. The addition of Secaucus already cut 15 minutes out of the trip from any Port Jervis Line station to midtown (vs staying on the train to Hoboken and going through all the Path stops to 33rd), and I'd think a one seat ride would be able to cut another 5-10 minutes out of the trip with the Secaucus transfer. It takes 15 minutes to get from SEC to NYP on a NEC train, but you also need 5-10 minutes to do the transfer, which the one seat ride eliminates.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:54 pm

Don't believe MN/MTA will ever buy AL45DP's,so forget that 1 seat ride dream,as it is now,
there's NO ROOM for them at NY Penn,before or after the Gateway Tunnels are built.
In the past there was a 4 track mainline from Ridgewood Jct to Suffern, the "take" I'm getting is NJT ripped up 2 main tracks
to save $$$$$$,that is the BIG mistake NJT made,nor should MN pay for the replacement of 1 of them.

For better or worse WOH service is run by NJT as MN's contractor,they call the shots south of Suffern(state line)
MN can ask for some things,NJT may/may not grant their wishes.
MN will do what it can from Suffern to Port Jervis for track improvements,then suggest a schedule to NJT,
but in the end,NJT still is in control, so don't expect much.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Sat Jul 30, 2016 6:53 pm

While I think a one seat ride to Penn Station during rush hours would definitely be a good thing, it's not the cure-all for attracting more riders. Also, I thought that part of Gateway was to add more platforms and tracks at Penn Station.

When Wesmont Station opened on the Bergen Line, they interviewed some of the users on the first day it was open. A few of the people they interviewed said that because of the new station they were going to start using the train to get to NYC (which requires a transfer to reach NYC) instead of the bus (which goes directly to PABT). Those people worked in midtown and lower Manhattan. There's a lot of stuff within walking distance of the Path stations within NYC. Much more than is within walking distance of Penn Station.

It'll be interesting to see how service is operated when the new yard is built at Salisbury Mills. I don't think that there is enough ridership at those stations to make the newly added trains express like the current ones are. I'm guessing they will mostly be semi express runs that make some stops between Suffern and Ridgewood, and then skip every stop once the lines split. I think some of the midday Suffern locals will begin short turning at Waldwick, and will be replaced by semi express runs between Ridgewood and Suffern, turning at the new yard. I could also see an additional Harriman express getting added, but I think that most of the trains going all the way to Port Jervis will continue to stop at Tuxedo, Sloatsburg, Suffern, and Route 17 as they do now. Suffern and Route 17 are definintely the heavy hitters for ridership on the express trains, and outside of rush hours, there isn't the ridership further out to justify bypassing them.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby SecaucusJunction » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:39 am

The minute you add NJ stops to any new Port Jervis Line trains means NJT is going to have to pay for part of their runs, which they are terribly reluctant to do. So even without great ridership, you might see first stop Suffern on any new trains.

Also, Salisbury Mills has not yet been chosen for the midpoint yard. Many locations are being evaluated.
I think it may be possible that NJ Transit might not be the perfect, infallible organization that most people assume it is.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby trainbrain » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:52 am

In that case, I'm guessing the short turn runs will be express to Route 17, as most trains are now, and the trains still going all the way to Port Jervis will be nonstop to Suffern, and an extra train going nonstop to Harriman. The trains going further should be the ones with no NJ stops. I wonder if a super express train going nonstop after Middletown would be possible (like the Hudson Line has after Beacon). It would probably shorten the travel time from Port Jervis to Hoboken to under 2 hours. The Suffern express trains do it in 2:15 and the Harriman express does it in 2:05. However, there probably isn't enough ridership that far out to make it practical.
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Re: Scheduling question for Port Jervis Line

Postby rr503 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:14 am

Is there even excess capacity for service expansion at HOB? Whenever I go there, it's pretty full...
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