The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

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The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby CentralValleyRail » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:46 pm

I did a check and as far back to 2011 (didn't bother checking further I think 6 years is long enough to start a new thread) there was no thread for the Montclair/Boonton Line.

I live in Wayne (in a community just across from Route 23 Transit Center, so I hear the trains all the time) and figured we could start a thread with all things Montclair/Boonton Line related... And as someone who sees those tracks almost everyday I think starting one isn't a bad idea.

I'll start with something from yesterday, I heard a train go by sounded like it was heading Westbound around 5 or so... Was this an equipment move or fuel move? (since there is not SAT/SUN service). I have an old employee timetable from 2012 but there is no mention of a X train in that series.
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby EuroStar » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:39 am

OK, I will bite with a service improvement idea. NJT first tested the ALP45s on this line switching from diesel to electric mode and back at MSU. For a second year now the dual modes are used to Bay Head on the Coast Line -- 3 trains in the morning and 3 in the evening go to/from NYP. However, direct NYP service has not been extended beyond MSU. Let's for a moment ignore the fact that NJT has no money for this, but how much extra ridership are one or two direct NYP train likely to attract especially given the very high bus ridership from the Wayne Transit Center to the Bus Terminal?

It appears that extending one or two trains that currently start at MSU to to start in Dover or even beyond is relatively easy logistically (compared to many other possible service improvements). First, no new equipment is needed because the train set would be the same as the one that already starts at MSU in the morning. The only requirement is that it needs to have an ALP45 pushing/pulling it. Managing that does not appear that difficult -- it is done successfully for the Coast And Raritan Lines. After its first run into NYP the set can shuttle back and forth during the day the same way that the current electric set does and then at the end of the day its last run can be extended beyond MSU back to the starting point (Dover or beyond). The beauty as with the Coast Line is that no new slots are required into the tunnels under the Hudson or NYP. The crew shift management is somewhat less obvious how to do, so I will leave it blank for now, but there are certainly some options. The trip from the Boonton line diesel only stops will be long -- no question about that because skipping any stop in Monclair that is currently made is out of question (at least politically). Nevertheless it will be a one seat ride into New York and direct one seat rides are preferred by the vast majority of commuters.

So the question really is, will the additional ridership be tiny (<25) or will it be a respectable number (>250)? Is it worth it to extend one or two trains to start in Dover or beyond in the morning and to end back there on their last run in the evening? I would say that at current level of ridership extending more than 2 trains is not worth it, but how about 1 or 2?
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby CentralValleyRail » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:54 am

EuroStar wrote:OK, I will bite with a service improvement idea. NJT first tested the ALP45s on this line switching from diesel to electric mode and back at MSU. For a second year now the dual modes are used to Bay Head on the Coast Line -- 3 trains in the morning and 3 in the evening go to/from NYP. However, direct NYP service has not been extended beyond MSU. Let's for a moment ignore the fact that NJT has no money for this, but how much extra ridership are one or two direct NYP train likely to attract especially given the very high bus ridership from the Wayne Transit Center to the Bus Terminal?

It appears that extending one or two trains that currently start at MSU to to start in Dover or even beyond is relatively easy logistically (compared to many other possible service improvements). First, no new equipment is needed because the train set would be the same as the one that already starts at MSU in the morning. The only requirement is that it needs to have an ALP45 pushing/pulling it. Managing that does not appear that difficult -- it is done successfully for the Coast And Raritan Lines. After its first run into NYP the set can shuttle back and forth during the day the same way that the current electric set does and then at the end of the day its last run can be extended beyond MSU back to the starting point (Dover or beyond). The beauty as with the Coast Line is that no new slots are required into the tunnels under the Hudson or NYP. The crew shift management is somewhat less obvious how to do, so I will leave it blank for now, but there are certainly some options. The trip from the Boonton line diesel only stops will be long -- no question about that because skipping any stop in Monclair that is currently made is out of question (at least politically). Nevertheless it will be a one seat ride into New York and direct one seat rides are preferred by the vast majority of commuters.

So the question really is, will the additional ridership be tiny (<25) or will it be a respectable number (>250)? Is it worth it to extend one or two trains to start in Dover or beyond in the morning and to end back there on their last run in the evening? I would say that at current level of ridership extending more than 2 trains is not worth it, but how about 1 or 2?



I've been saying for years that they should extend a dual mode to Wayne Route 23... From the yard at Great Notch to Wayne Rt.23 is 4 miles give or take. In other words it's 8 minutes at the MOST that a train would need to get up to Wayne.. Given the current schedule it can be done. There isn't a question in my mind about the ridership. It's there but it's not time efficient right now nor does the 1 stop transfer help. Make those competitive and its an instant win. Wayne is an extremely desirable place to live, very safe, top 25 school district and relatively low in cost compared to Ramsey, Glen Rock, Summit, etc. The commuter lot is full to capacity for the buses (that has been an issue for a while now) however on any given day that rush hour trip that at 12AM Midnight takes 20 minutes can take over an hour and typically takes 45-55 minutes on a normal weekday.. If parking became the issue (there is PLENTY OF parking at Mountain View) which is less than a mile up the road. They could start service there. Hell they could even start service in Lincoln Park and bring back the siding. If you had a train that did Wayne, MSU, Walnut, Bay, NWK, SEC, NYP it would beat the bus. Of course this is NJT were talking about and it's not logical in their eyes. Although I do have hope maybe new ownership will come in someday as NJT may not be able to be publicly funded for much longer. Speaking of new ownerships I've been a Marlins fan my whole life and today was the press conference with their new owners Jeter and Bruce and it gave me a lot of hope for the future, (so that's why I'm feeling optimistic about NJT)....
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby CentralValleyRail » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:08 am

Just heard the freight go by Mountain View Station ,(NS-H something?) I believe it's heading down by West Belt servicing the industrial complex...
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby SecaucusJunction » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:16 pm

The problem with the whole idea is that the second a west of Montclair train starts running direct to NYP, is the exact time the train starts going local through Montclair. (I know some of them already do). Given the choice of running express through Montclair and transferring, or a local direct ride, I think I might transfer....
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: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby CentralValleyRail » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:56 pm

SecaucusJunction wrote:The problem with the whole idea is that the second a west of Montclair train starts running direct to NYP, is the exact time the train starts going local through Montclair. (I know some of them already do). Given the choice of running express through Montclair and transferring, or a local direct ride, I think I might transfer....


I agree but the expresses through Montclair really aren't express a majority of them stop 3-4 times in Montclair itself... It should be MSU-Bay Street and that's it. Maybe not even Bay Street.
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby SecaucusJunction » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:24 pm

I took a Midtown Direct train from Montclair Heights that was local through Montclair one time. A half hour later, I was still in the same town...
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: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby time » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:28 pm

The dual mode extension to Dover is a great idea. I could see NJT using the excuse that they don’t have room in Dover Yard for additional train sets, which may actually be true. But with dual mode, they could use Port Morris Yard to tuck the extended Montclair Midtown Directs in at night. This should be done immediately. It’s operationally feasible, cost efficient and provides a greater service. And that’s why it won’t get done.
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:09 pm

Is Port Morris yard setup for passenger car layover? Or an unused freight yard?
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:03 am

Backshophoss wrote:Is Port Morris yard setup for passenger car layover? Or an unused freight yard?

A NJT passenger yard (since 1995) built on an old Lackawanna freight yard (at the junction of the old main line and Cutoff).

CentralValleyRail wrote:Just heard the freight go by Mountain View Station ,(NS-H something?) I believe it's heading down by West Belt servicing the industrial complex...

H-02.
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby EuroStar » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:15 am

CentralValleyRail wrote:I've been saying for years that they should extend a dual mode to Wayne Route 23... From the yard at Great Notch to Wayne Rt.23 is 4 miles give or take. In other words it's 8 minutes at the MOST that a train would need to get up to Wayne.. Given the current schedule it can be done. There isn't a question in my mind about the ridership. It's there but it's not time efficient right now nor does the 1 stop transfer help. Make those competitive and its an instant win. Wayne is an extremely desirable place to live, very safe, top 25 school district and relatively low in cost compared to Ramsey, Glen Rock, Summit, etc. The commuter lot is full to capacity for the buses (that has been an issue for a while now) however on any given day that rush hour trip that at 12AM Midnight takes 20 minutes can take over an hour and typically takes 45-55 minutes on a normal weekday.. If parking became the issue (there is PLENTY OF parking at Mountain View) which is less than a mile up the road. They could start service there. Hell they could even start service in Lincoln Park and bring back the siding. If you had a train that did Wayne, MSU, Walnut, Bay, NWK, SEC, NYP it would beat the bus. Of course this is NJT were talking about and it's not logical in their eyes. Although I do have hope maybe new ownership will come in someday as NJT may not be able to be publicly funded for much longer. Speaking of new ownerships I've been a Marlins fan my whole life and today was the press conference with their new owners Jeter and Bruce and it gave me a lot of hope for the future, (so that's why I'm feeling optimistic about NJT)....


Starting something at Wayne Route 23 was my first though. Unfortunately that is operationally unfeasible. The yard at MSU seems to have been designed without much foresight. First, there are no switches that allow a train to exit the yard and go west. That is a problem because it means that for a train set to start its revenue run from Route 23, it must go east onto the main, change ends then deadhead to Route 23 station, then change ends again to go east. It will need to be repeated in the opposite direction at the end of the day. It is much easier to start in Dover or Port Morris. Second, the east bound side of the MSU platform can only be accessed from the yard. I believe that this is because the station was built after the yard. The westbound side of the platform requires trains that come from or go beyond MSU. It is a very unfortunate constraint. It is possible to work around that operationally, but it would be cumbersome. With current infrastructure the correct thing to do is to start at Dover or beyond.

It is true that any extended train will need to stay local through Montclair. That cannot be remedied before extra capacity is available at NYP. But that is why I was wondering how much extra ridership would 1-2 extended train get if they provide direct one seat ride to NYP, but still remain local in Montclair.
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby CentralValleyRail » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:15 am

I can raise it with the town of Wayne and see if they can go to NJT with the idea.. Wayne politics had a big part in the transit center. And I know of many people who have to ride the bus that would take the train in a heartbeat if it was direct and faster... Usually with things like this that are right in front of your face politicians and locals don't explore into the options. If presented with a viable option I think it would be worth a shot. And I know there will be a lot of backlash at me for the idea but I didn't make 6 figures on my own 7 figure startup by sitting and laughing at the idea...
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby Zuccaraillo » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:46 pm

This leaves me questioning if electrification and Midtown Direct service is extended to Wayne and the station is not also double tracked, but also the construction of a small yard for trains to layover.
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby Backshophoss » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:48 pm

Would it be better to have the Wayne trains layup at Port Morris instead of the MSU yard?
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Re: The Montclair/Boonton Line Thread

Postby time » Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:37 am

For operational efficiency, it would make sense to layup trains in an existing yard, rather than create another new small yard. I suggested Port Morris so all stations west of MSU get Midtown Direct service.

If NJT does move to extended MidTown Directs, they should look to revising the morning schedule to be a skip-stop format. The first Midtown Direct to go through Montclair would be a mostly express, stopping only at major stations like MSU, Walnut Street, Bay Street. The second Midtown Direct, scheduled perhaps 20-30 minutes behind the first, would stop at a few more Montclair stations and Glen Ridge and Bloomfield. Then, behind both Midtown Directs, run a local to Hoboken from MSU. Time the Hoboken local so that it arrives just before a Morris & Essex Midtown Direct, allowing a third option to get to Midtown. Repeat.
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