Port Jervis Line - Graham Line changeover

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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby PullmanCo » Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:39 pm

Erie-Lackawanna wrote:
PullmanCo wrote:It can be argued that "ridership" back then was directly related to service levels.

It could be, but that would be a grossly incomplete argument. The population of Orange County has grown explosively in the past 15-20 years, and it is that growth that is largely responsible for the level of service that is operated on the Port Jervis Line.

Obviously, service levels and ridership are the chicken and the egg of commuter rail service planning. Without one, you don't get the other. But you need both - preferably each growing alongside the other - in order for the service to sustain itself.

Jim

Orange County NY and Burlington County NJ currently have similar population densities. Yet the latter has a rail service operating every 15 minutes that travels through the population centers, while the Metro-North service operates on the peripheries and far less frequently. Sounds like an argument to reopen the Old Main, especially when you take into account average population densities of towns (e.g. Goshen at 1,695 people per square mile, Chester at 1,628 people per square mile). Also, Rockland County has an average population density of 1,646 people per square mile.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby Erie-Lackawanna » Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:10 pm

PullmanCo wrote:Orange County NY and Burlington County NJ currently have similar population densities.

And that's where the similarity ends. The demographics are different, and the market is vastly different: the trip length from the (time-based) half-way point on the RiverLine to Center City Philadelphia is roughly 45 minutes. The trip length from the (time-based) half-way point in Orange County to midtown Manhattan is an hour longer. The kind of people making that commute are very different. I can't compare demographical information of the Metro-North Port Jervis Line commuter market to the RiverLine commuter market, but anecdotally, I'm sure they're very different. Finally, light rail service is very different from heavy rail commuter service. I'm sorry, but you just can't compare the two, especially when the point of comparing them is to spend millions of dollars to reactivate a rail line that nobody is clamoring to reactivate.

And let's never forget the NIMBY factor: I'm sure the residents of Goshen and Chester who have forgotten what it's like to have trains running in their back yards - or those that never experienced it - would balk at the idea.

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ONE OF THE THINGS AIR SERVICES TAUGHT US.....vis Line)

Postby henry6 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:10 pm

One of the things air services taught us...sort of...is that we will travel so far to a point to get the service. Thus Amtrak began downsizing terminals and moveing out of inner city. Some say it was "airline mentality" that was prominant at the time, others say it was sound (marketing) reasoning. NJT/MNRR or whoever, thought the same way about using the Graham Line rather than the old main. In some cases I disagree...the PVL is a good example of how the downtown depot works...while in other cases I have to agree...the current Middletown station is a good example. But going back to my opening sentence, such "travel to a point" to get a commuter train has always been common. Not this line, but I remember as a kid at the Denville station seeing people come to the trains in cars and taxis from all points in the town...up to two or three miles. And on a more recent trip, we overheard a conversation between a family and Conductor; the family had driven almost 40 miles to get take the train from Dover to New York city. So, I don't think that rebuilding the old Erie main line is as important as good marketing: plenty and safe parking; frequent, fast, reliable schedules; priced right for the value.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby PullmanCo » Tue Jul 29, 2008 4:13 pm

Erie-Lackawanna wrote:
PullmanCo wrote:Orange County NY and Burlington County NJ currently have similar population densities.

And that's where the similarity ends. The demographics are different, and the market is vastly different: the trip length from the (time-based) half-way point on the RiverLine to Center City Philadelphia is roughly 45 minutes. The trip length from the (time-based) half-way point in Orange County to midtown Manhattan is an hour longer. The kind of people making that commute are very different. I can't compare demographical information of the Metro-North Port Jervis Line commuter market to the RiverLine commuter market, but anecdotally, I'm sure they're very different. Finally, light rail service is very different from heavy rail commuter service. I'm sorry, but you just can't compare the two, especially when the point of comparing them is to spend millions of dollars to reactivate a rail line that nobody is clamoring to reactivate

Yes, you can compare the two, since the "River Line" is light rail running on what is essentially a FRA-rail (not "heavy-rail", since that refers to FTA subways) corridor. That corridor had its share of NIMBYs, and had over a billion spent on it. The similarity to Orange County NY is closer than one might realize (e.g. Middletown NY has a higher population density than most of the towns around the River Line; you also have Harriman, with 2296 people per square mile). Also, like the Port Jervis Line, a lot of people use the River Line to commute to New York (and not just Philly).

People are people. "Demographics" are just a pseudoscience in order to throw up barriers; if "demographics" were a factor, then Route 17 and I-86 (generally the Southern Tier Expressway) would not exist going through the selfsame towns that the Erie Main used to go through. The old maxim "frequency sells" cannot be ignored readily.
And let's never forget the NIMBY factor: I'm sure the residents of Goshen and Chester who have forgotten what it's like to have trains running in their back yards - or those that never experienced it - would balk at the idea

The "NIMBY factor" does not exist, unless you actually want to hear it. And it's not even a factor when the political will is there to do something.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby henry6 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:07 pm

The differences between Orange Co. NY and BUrlington Co. NJ are immense and except for town sizes and overall population size there is no sense comparing the two for transportation needs.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby Port Jervis » Tue Jul 29, 2008 7:17 pm

Erie-Lackawanna wrote:
Port Jervis wrote:Didn't the people in Chester and Goshen put up any fight to keep the old line intact? These two towns don't have any nearby stations on the Graham line.

Nothing organized or loud enough to be heard. Were they unhappy? yes. But it wasn't enough to stop the switch.

In 1984 ridership from Orange County was 1/10th what it is today. The number of riders who would have complained just couldn't have the numbers needed to be heard.

Jim


Too bad. The entire line outside Port Jervis and Tuxedo is pedestrian-unfriendly. I'd be nice to take the train to a destination without the need for a car or cab.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby henry6 » Tue Jul 29, 2008 8:13 pm

[quote="Port Jervis
Too bad. The entire line outside Port Jervis and Tuxedo is pedestrian-unfriendly. I'd be nice to take the train to a destination without the need for a car or cab.[/quote]

If you look back at what I said earlier, PJ, about commuters going to and from stations. Today, your statement holds up less than ever. There is an excellent road and highway system in Orange and Rockland Counties and a population that is accustomed to "going to a point" to get a service be it an ice cream cone or a train ride to work. There is a good chance here for the revival of taxi services or local bus jitneys to bring people from neighborhoods to the train station(s). Maybe Tuxedo is a good example of a single in town customers base, but everywhere else you have people driving miles and miles to the train station.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby Erie-Lackawanna » Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:30 pm

OK, a little digging in the archive found me this single-sided sheet:

Image

Service via the Graham Line, which had begun accidentally for one day on April 4, 1983, was formally and permanently inaugurated effective April 18, 1983. Note the Middletown shuttle service continued to turn at Middletown, but the October 30, 1983 timetable has the runs extended to Port Jervis, and the number of trains almost doubled, to 9 trains each way on weekdays, and three each way on Saturdays.

Interestingly, the April 24, 1983 Main Line/Bergen County Line NJ Transit timetable shows service via the Main Line to Port Jervis. The sheet shown above superseded the full Main/Bergen timetable for Port Jervis service until the October 30, 1983 timetable took effect.

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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby Harriman Station » Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:41 pm

Erie-Lackawanna wrote:
PullmanCo wrote:Orange County NY and Burlington County NJ currently have similar population densities.

And that's where the similarity ends. The demographics are different, and the market is vastly different: the trip length from the (time-based) half-way point on the RiverLine to Center City Philadelphia is roughly 45 minutes. The trip length from the (time-based) half-way point in Orange County to midtown Manhattan is an hour longer. The kind of people making that commute are very different. I can't compare demographical information of the Metro-North Port Jervis Line commuter market to the RiverLine commuter market, but anecdotally, I'm sure they're very different. Finally, light rail service is very different from heavy rail commuter service. I'm sorry, but you just can't compare the two, especially when the point of comparing them is to spend millions of dollars to reactivate a rail line that nobody is clamoring to reactivate.

And let's never forget the NIMBY factor: I'm sure the residents of Goshen and Chester who have forgotten what it's like to have trains running in their back yards - or those that never experienced it - would balk at the idea.

Jim


This resident of Chester would love to see train service back in town (saving me a drive to, you guessed it, Harriman station), but many of my fellow residents might not agree. This thread has gone everywhere, from people implying all service save a couple of peak-trains should be shuttles in a massive cut-back (very bad idea), to implying that Orange County should have service every 15 minutes. There is nowhere near enough demand for that kind of service. Many commuters in Orange County are going to Westchester county or other locations besides NYC. While some increase in service is welcome, and it looks like Metro-North might be adding one or two trains in the somewhat near future as ridership has increased, in my opinion, no drastic change like what some people are proposing is necessary or a good idea.

Thanks, Jim, for posting the old schedule. Very interesting to see.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:42 am

I would bet Westchester (White Plains, Platinum Mile (West. Av.), Tarrytown are huge destinations for Orange and Rockland. That's why I don't understand the talk of commuter rail proposed for the TZB to connect to the North-South lines into NY. If you want increased service on the PJ, that's where it's at IMHO. I think MNRR could get out of the Bergen/Main service (using a transfer to NJT at Suffern, which they would need to continue serving) if this were to happen.

Fascinating stuff, and as usual, thanks to Jim, whose alias is indeed deserved.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby Harriman Station » Wed Jul 30, 2008 3:51 pm

Sarge wrote:I would bet Westchester (White Plains, Platinum Mile (West. Av.), Tarrytown are huge destinations for Orange and Rockland. That's why I don't understand the talk of commuter rail proposed for the TZB to connect to the North-South lines into NY. If you want increased service on the PJ, that's where it's at IMHO. I think MNRR could get out of the Bergen/Main service (using a transfer to NJT at Suffern, which they would need to continue serving) if this were to happen.

Fascinating stuff, and as usual, thanks to Jim, whose alias is indeed deserved.


It would be a very big mistake for Metro-North to get out of Bergen/Main service. A transfer at Suffern would not suffice for the thousands of people commuting to the NYC area. While many Orange/Rockland county commuters are going to Westchester county, many others are going to NYC. There are enough people in the two counties to commute to two seperate areas in significant numbers. The Metro-North peak trains can already be somewhat crowded, as evidenced my Metro-North addding cars recently to several peak-trains, creating two 7-car trains in both directions. There is no way a transfer could handle this kind of traffic (and this traffic would still be going to NYC, as a line only going to Westchester wouldn't affect the NYC traffic), not to mention the inconvenience of making all these people, some of whom have been travelling for an hour and a half already, transfer to get on another local, which would have to be even longer than 7-cars to handle the Port Jervis line traffic and the local traffic that NJT would be picking up on the way to Hoboken.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:13 am

You're right, I didn't think that through. Of course they'd need to keep the Main/Bergen service.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby TDowling » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:51 pm

The 900-lb. (more like half-ton) gorilla in the room in reinstituting the old Main is the money to rebuild the tracks, since the original row was paved over. Not to mention the need to knock down whatever is standing in its way. The MTA won't go through all this trouble to serve towns that are already well-served by express bus transportation.

Still, what I wouldn't do to have ridden that line....
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby TDowling » Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:57 pm

Erie-Lackawanna wrote:
Service via the Graham Line, which had begun accidentally for one day on April 4, 1983, was formally and permanently inaugurated effective April 18, 1983. Note the Middletown shuttle service continued to turn at Middletown, but the October 30, 1983 timetable has the runs extended to Port Jervis, and the number of trains almost doubled, to 9 trains each way on weekdays, and three each way on Saturdays.

Jim

Jim,

OK, this has been bugging me....

What do you mean when you say that the shuttles "continued to turn at Middletown?" Are you saying that the Erie station in downtown Middletown on Depot Street was still being serviced by the RDC shuttles even after April 1983?
Last edited by TDowling on Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Original Erie Main in Orange County NY (Port Jervis Line)

Postby PullmanCo » Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:28 pm

Harriman Station wrote:It would be a very big mistake for Metro-North to get out of Bergen/Main service. A transfer at Suffern would not suffice for the thousands of people commuting to the NYC area. While many Orange/Rockland county commuters are going to Westchester county, many others are going to NYC

Hmm? The Tappan Zee crossing proposal was all about direct rail service to Grand Central, IINM. A few odd sources are looking for cross-county (i.e. crossing Rockland and Westchester east-west) light rail, but that's not related to commuter rail going to GCT that I can see.
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