Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

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mtuandrew
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by mtuandrew » Thu May 09, 2019 6:43 pm

JasW wrote:Historical comparisons may be inapt for a number of reasons -- here's another, in 1924, Seaboard, to compete with the FEC in South Florida, built a 200+ mile extension to West Palm Beach across central Florida wetlands in just nine months -- but such comparisons do underscore that where there's a will, there's a way, and a quick one at that.
True, but gators don’t pay taxes and palmettos don’t file EIS comments.
JasW wrote:As sad as it makes me as a railfan to admit it, there is much truth in this. The younger generation (or "younger generation," as the esteemed Mr. Norman might put it) has gravitated to the urban core, rather than West Podunk. People will not be lining up to commute to NYC from Blairstown or anywhere across the Delaware. Even Andover seems like a waste -- you might as well just drive to the station in Mt. Olive. NJT realizes this, I think, and while I'm not sure it has yet relegated the cutoff to white elephant status, it is instead more conscious of the real elephant in the room, that being the looming failure of the PRR tunnels. Priorities, priorities.
Exactly right - I was looking at the proximity of Mount Olive last night. With Cutoff levels of funding, you could fund a dedicated Andover-Mt Olive circulator for years, or an express bus to Newark. Also, Scranton just isn’t that much of a destination from New York - you can’t even get there from Philadelphia on a train. (Which is much more of a missed opportunity.)

If a non-Conrail freight operator had wrenched the Cutoff away before abandonment, or if the EL hadn’t abandoned the Boonton, this conversation would instead be about how Pennsylvania keeps threatening to cancel its share of funding for the single East Stroudsburg daily turn, how slow (CN or CP) runs, and how for the millionth time we wished that Amtrak would operate via the Southern Tier. I’m not even sure Andover would rate a station.

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Fri May 10, 2019 3:54 pm

mtuandrew wrote:I’m not even sure Andover would rate a station.
Andover has limited (one-seat) Lakeland service and Lakeland even uses the former Cranberry Lake station on the Sussex Branch as a commuter stop and park-ride.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.

JasW
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by JasW » Tue May 14, 2019 8:14 am

R36 Combine Coach wrote:
mtuandrew wrote:I’m not even sure Andover would rate a station.
Andover has limited (one-seat) Lakeland service and Lakeland even uses the former Cranberry Lake station on the Sussex Branch as a commuter stop and park-ride.
Just about a hundred feet farther north of the station site. My cue to post a vintage photo postcard of the Cranberry Lake station looking south.
Cranberry Lake Sussex Branch Station.jpg

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Tue May 14, 2019 11:07 pm

JasW wrote: The younger generation (or "younger generation," as the esteemed Mr. Norman might put it) has gravitated to the urban core, rather than West Podunk. People will not be lining up to commute to NYC from Blairstown or anywhere across the Delaware. Even Andover seems like a waste -- you might as well just drive to the station in Mt. Olive.
Mount Olive wasn't apparently built as a park-ride, unlike Mount Arlington station off I-80. Mount Olive only has 23 spaces, meaning if even each space was filled with a carpool of five, everyone could fit in a single Comet V coach.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by lensovet » Sat May 18, 2019 4:10 am

R36 Combine Coach wrote:
JasW wrote: The younger generation (or "younger generation," as the esteemed Mr. Norman might put it) has gravitated to the urban core, rather than West Podunk. People will not be lining up to commute to NYC from Blairstown or anywhere across the Delaware. Even Andover seems like a waste -- you might as well just drive to the station in Mt. Olive.
Mount Olive wasn't apparently built as a park-ride, unlike Mount Arlington station off I-80. Mount Olive only has 23 spaces, meaning if even each space was filled with a carpool of five, everyone could fit in a single Comet V coach.
and despite being built as a park-and-ride station, Arlington only got 110 average weekday riders in 2017. On a lot that has 274 parking spots.

Note that Wayne-Rt 23 does even worse with just 106 weekday riders. I guess the one seat ride (or lack thereof) really does kill ridership.
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Sat May 18, 2019 6:27 pm

lensovet wrote:and despite being built as a park-and-ride station, Arlington only got 110 average weekday riders in 2017. On a lot that has 274 parking spots. Note that Wayne-Rt 23 does even worse with just 106 weekday riders. I guess the one seat ride (or lack thereof) really does kill ridership.
From experience as a Boonton Line rider, most outbounds thin out west of Montclair and west of Wayne, only few remain on board. Most riders west of Boonton are likely for Dover and I believe the daily commuter traffic at Hackettstown is very low.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by NYS&W142Fan » Sat May 18, 2019 10:31 pm

Hackettstown is busier than most know. There are a lot of "drop off's" so don't let the cars in the parking lot fool you. Plus when College is in session, that adds to the ridership.

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by lensovet » Sun May 19, 2019 5:59 pm

NYS&W142Fan wrote:Hackettstown is busier than most know. There are a lot of "drop off's" so don't let the cars in the parking lot fool you. Plus when College is in session, that adds to the ridership.
actual ridership numbers from NJT (85 average weekday riders) seem to say otherwise…
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JasW
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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by JasW » Mon May 20, 2019 9:07 am

R36 Combine Coach wrote:
JasW wrote: The younger generation (or "younger generation," as the esteemed Mr. Norman might put it) has gravitated to the urban core, rather than West Podunk. People will not be lining up to commute to NYC from Blairstown or anywhere across the Delaware. Even Andover seems like a waste -- you might as well just drive to the station in Mt. Olive.
Mount Olive wasn't apparently built as a park-ride, unlike Mount Arlington station off I-80. Mount Olive only has 23 spaces, meaning if even each space was filled with a carpool of five, everyone could fit in a single Comet V coach.
They could expand that if there were need at Mt. Olive. But with an average of 16 riders per day -- the lowest of all NJT stations -- 23 parking places is more than enough.

I think all of this illustrates why Dover was the end of the line for the M&E for many years, at least when I was a kid/young adult. The top M&E station in terms of ridership is South Orange with an average of 4,131 riders per weekday. It trickles down to an average of 983 riders when you get to Dover. Then the numbers fall off a cliff.

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Mon May 20, 2019 10:12 am

Somehow, I think "we" participants at this topic are more concerned about the development of this route over the Cutoff than is the NJT Board.

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by kilroy » Mon May 20, 2019 1:43 pm

I think "we" participants are more concerned about NJT as an ongoing entity than the Board is.
Why do we drive on parkways and park in driveways?

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Mon May 20, 2019 5:19 pm

JasW wrote:I think all of this illustrates why Dover was the end of the line for the M&E for many years, at least when I was a kid/young adult. The top M&E station in terms of ridership is South Orange with an average of 4,131 riders per weekday. It trickles down to an average of 983 riders when you get to Dover. Then the numbers fall off a cliff.
When the Hackettstown extension opened in 1994, it was initially a trial. How did in last to date with low numbers? The Andover extension wouldn't be much higher either.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Mon May 20, 2019 6:49 pm

The train ride to Hackettstown takes too long, especially on a local. Express trains don't save you much time either. The further west you need to travel to along the M&E the slower your trip will be. After you are west of Morristown, the train begins to be slower than driving or taking the bus when you are traveling to NYC. I'm sure that there are times when the ridership at Hackettstown Station will be higher than usual but it doesn't surprise me that it's subpar in general. If NJT was able to provide more track capacity like MNR did, then more express trains could operate to outer zone regions. A general statement with commuter rail the further you go away from a major city, if you want people to use the train a lot, the ride should be time competitive with driving. The answer to that is providing express trains but first, you need as much track capacity as possible. Before the cutoff is restored, track capacity closer to NYC must be improved. We can't wait on Gateway.

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by TDowling » Tue May 21, 2019 1:55 am

Just my two cents: driving or taking the bus is generally going to be faster than the train, unless of course you hit traffic. And thats the rub: people like the convenience of not dealing with traffic. From what I understand about NJT, and someone correct me if im wrong, is that there is too much rail traffic in the gateway region especially along the NEC, which is the root cause of the commuter woes. As far as the cutoff is concerned, when traffic on I80 reaches the point where it begins to counteract the economic development of the region thats probably when the cutoff will begin to operate

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Re: Lackawanna Cutoff Passenger Service Restoration

Post by phoebesnow » Tue May 21, 2019 4:52 pm

As someone who lives about halfway between the Hackettstown station and the proposed Andover station, I use NJT about once a month for business trips into NYC or connecting there to Amtrak or the LIRR.

If I am going for a single meeting then I try to get to Dover or Denville because you really can't west of there until mid-afternoon, so a 10 am meeting in the city becomes all day out if I get on west of Dover. That being said, I-80 traffic becomes a real crap shoot east of Exit 30 - Mt. Arlington. I rarely get on west of there because the train takes longer than driving. And some trains don't go all the way to Hackettstown anyway. I have only used Mt. Olive once - I got off coming home after dark and was the only person at the "station" - to me I worried there is no one around if something were to happen. On other times I have seen people during the day "hanging out" and sitting on the hoods of the few cars parked there - not very comforting.

I will be willing to use Andover because I am assuming track speed from there to Lake Hopatcong will be 79 mph, much better than the 40 mph or so plus the extra stops at Mt. Olive and Netcong that the Hackettstown trains do.
JasW wrote:
R36 Combine Coach wrote:
JasW wrote: The younger generation (or "younger generation," as the esteemed Mr. Norman might put it) has gravitated to the urban core, rather than West Podunk. People will not be lining up to commute to NYC from Blairstown or anywhere across the Delaware. Even Andover seems like a waste -- you might as well just drive to the station in Mt. Olive.
Mount Olive wasn't apparently built as a park-ride, unlike Mount Arlington station off I-80. Mount Olive only has 23 spaces, meaning if even each space was filled with a carpool of five, everyone could fit in a single Comet V coach.
They could expand that if there were need at Mt. Olive. But with an average of 16 riders per day -- the lowest of all NJT stations -- 23 parking places is more than enough.

I think all of this illustrates why Dover was the end of the line for the M&E for many years, at least when I was a kid/young adult. The top M&E station in terms of ridership is South Orange with an average of 4,131 riders per weekday. It trickles down to an average of 983 riders when you get to Dover. Then the numbers fall off a cliff.
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