New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

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New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby MaRoFu » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:17 pm

Over the years, many expansions and proposals have been made by NJT for its already expansive system, such as:
- Northern Branch Corridor Project
- Lackawanna Cutoff Restoration
- Route 440 HBLR Extension
- Proposed HBLR Secaucus/Meadowlands Extension
- Glassboro-Camden Light Rail
- Passaic-Bergen Rail Line
- MOM Line

The list goes on and on. Now let's forget about the planning and other stuff, and just think about how much actual construction has been done on these projects. The amount of construction that has taken place, with the exception of the Cutoff Restoration, is...

NONE

How embarrassing is it that it has been 17 years or more since some of these projects came to light, yet they are still stuck at square 1? And apparently some of them still won't open until a DECADE after this post. In the time it takes for these projects to actually become a reality, the following things have or will be finished:

Hokuriku Shinkansen extension from Nagano-Kanazawa (200?-2015)
Hokuriku Shinkansen extension from Kanazawa-Tsuruga (2012-2023)
The American Dream at Meadowlands/Xanadu (2019)
Joban Line full service restoration (2020)
7 Line Extension
99 Hudson Street in Jersey City (2019)
PATH Extension to EWR (2020-2026)
Japanese Maglev (2027)
HBLR Extension to 8th Street
EWR New Terminal A (2022)
Cortlandt Street Station (December 2018)
PATH World Trade Center Hub (A billion and a half dollars that could've been used for the things coming up)

If I were to list all of them, this page would be very long. But it is just shows how flawed NJ Transit is in my opinion. Although the dumb decisions of places such as Tenafly did contribute to the delay of the HBLR Extension, it still does not excuse the other projects. At least the cutoff project appears to be going well. I should also mention all the wasted potentials NJT could have done to improve their system. Here are a few proposals I came up with:

Newark Light Rail to West Orange (may require lots of land acquisition and may face opposition, but if those are resolved it might be possible)
Light Rail to Newark Airport, Jersey Gardens, and Elizabeth (seriously, why did NJT abandon this? Lack of funds?)
HBLR to Edgewater (it might cost a lot to repair the tunnel, but Edgewater suffers from vehicle congestion, so it might be worth it)
Access to the Region's Core (it was a mistake to ditch this. Our lives would be much easier if this wasn't cancelled)
Montclair-Boonton Line Pompton Branch (basically the Greenwood Lake to North of Pompton Junction)
Electrification of Main/Bergen County/Montclair-Boonton Line

I honestly do not get what the agency's problem is, whether it is lack of funds, corrupt governors, bad management, or something else, they need to get themselves moving.

I'm just hoping this is in the right thread.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby DutchRailnut » Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:43 pm

just because there was planning, does not mean a project is a go or gets funding, so did they fail ?? nope it never got beyond planning .
If Conductors are in charge, why are they promoted to be Engineer???

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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:56 pm

Money. Money. Money. Studies. Studies. Studies.

We can propose 100 million new railroads.

Money and studies will do it every time. No matter what state or agency.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby DutchRailnut » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:35 am

and even if it were a go, the Nimby's will stop ya.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:54 am

NJT is broke right now and of course, the situation could have been avoided. Just because a project might go in the planning phase doesn't mean that it will happen. In the short term, I wouldn't count on any new commuter rail routes being built, especially the Lackawanna Cutoff west of Andover and MOM. On the commuter rail side, the main focus is to get more safer, reliable and expand track capacity to where it is needed(expanded capacity on Amtrak between NWK and NYP, third track on the M&E between the eastern end of NWK Broad St and Harrison.

As for the NWK Light Rail to WO, it's definately not going to happen. I remember learning about an Erie branch that started out in West Orange(I believe where Northfield Ave meets Main St) and pretty much went in a straight shot to where the current Grove St Light Rail Terminus is. From Grove St Station to NWK Penn Station, it is a 20 minute ride on the light rail and I would imagine what it would take at least 40 minutes to get from the intersection of Northfield and Main in WO to NWP Penn in 40 min. Currently during the rush hour, the 79 bus runs some express runs to and from Penn Station. The 21 bus runs throughout each day, Monday through Sunday taking 35-40 minutes. I also believe that the 71 and 73 take the same route as the 21 bus east of Downtown West Orange. Plus, the NJT Orange station isn't far away at all where the bottom of Northfield Ave is.

Electrification on the Mtc-Btn Line west of Great Notch will not be happening. Even with the speeds up 70 mph in the Lincoln Park and Boonton area, many of those trains would still have to make every single stop once they get to MSU, really providing for a slow ride. Today, even with an express train on the Mtc-Btn Line, the bus is faster and more convenient from lets say Lincoln Park or Boonton to the city, even in a lot of traffic.

The light rail route that will most likely get the go-ahead for building the extensions will be Hudson Bergen-extension northward to Englewood and when this happens, finally we can say that Hudson Bergen Light Rail lived up to its name. Next, the extension from Westside Ave across 440, which is very important. There is a lot of commercial development around there and many apartments are being built.

The EWR extension of the Path should have happened a while ago, especially given that there are many people who live in areas along the Path route that work at the airport. A station for serving NWK's South Ward will also help.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:31 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:As for the NWK Light Rail to WO, it's definately not going to happen. I remember learning about an Erie branch that started out in West Orange(I believe where Northfield Ave meets Main St) and pretty much went in a straight shot to where the current Grove St Light Rail Terminus is. From Grove St Station to NWK Penn Station, it is a 20 minute ride on the light rail and I would imagine what it would take at least 40 minutes to get from the intersection of Northfield and Main in WO to NWP Penn in 40 min. Currently during the rush hour, the 79 bus runs some express runs to and from Penn Station. The 21 bus runs throughout each day, Monday through Sunday taking 35-40 minutes. I also believe that the 71 and 73 take the same route as the 21 bus east of Downtown West Orange. Plus, the NJT Orange station isn't far away at all where the bottom of Northfield Ave is.


The ROW west of Watsessing is dead forever. It's been encroached in numerous areas and it would right now peter out to Prospect Street in East Orange, and that's not a really desirable terminus.

However, you are correct that the Orange Branch went to Northfield and Main. This site wasn't developed when I was last there, but it has since been redeveloped, as you can see here.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:12 pm

Roadgeek Adam, you are definately correct about that. It is better off terminating at Grove Street. Even if you live and work near the Grove St station, it's actually a little faster to pick up the light rail at Bloomfield Ave station and before you do that, you take any one of five NJT buses down Bloomfield Ave-11, 28, GO28, 29, and 72. The ride takes 7 minutes on GO28 and 8 minutes on one of the other buses. One thing to think about when you are on Bloomfield Ave in the eastbound direction is that the Grove Street station is on the wrong side of the street and you have to cross it in order to get to the station. If there is a lot of traffic doing up and down Bloomfield Ave near Grove St station and you need to get across the street just to make your light rail which could be leaving in 2-5 min and you see an 11, 28, GO28, 29 or 72 bus going down Bloomfield Ave toward NWK, I would just take the bus and pay the extra fare and give or take, you should be at the Bloomfield Avenue station just before that same light rail arrives at that station that you would have missed at Grove St. I can tell you this because I have a lot of experience with taking buses down to the Bloomfield Ave station to get the light rail. I have done it many times.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:56 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:Roadgeek Adam, you are definately correct about that. It is better off terminating at Grove Street. Even if you live and work near the Grove St station, it's actually a little faster to pick up the light rail at Bloomfield Ave station and before you do that, you take any one of five NJT buses down Bloomfield Ave-11, 28, GO28, 29, and 72. The ride takes 7 minutes on GO28 and 8 minutes on one of the other buses. One thing to think about when you are on Bloomfield Ave in the eastbound direction is that the Grove Street station is on the wrong side of the street and you have to cross it in order to get to the station. If there is a lot of traffic doing up and down Bloomfield Ave near Grove St station and you need to get across the street just to make your light rail which could be leaving in 2-5 min and you see an 11, 28, GO28, 29 or 72 bus going down Bloomfield Ave toward NWK, I would just take the bus and pay the extra fare and give or take, you should be at the Bloomfield Avenue station just before that same light rail arrives at that station that you would have missed at Grove St. I can tell you this because I have a lot of experience with taking buses down to the Bloomfield Ave station to get the light rail. I have done it many times.


When I was a Montclair State student, if I needed to get to Newark Penn, I would bike down to Grove Street from campus. Rarely I used Bay Street, but Bloomfield Avenue station was not worth the extra effort when coming down Bloomfield Avenue.

As for the extension of the light rail, I for one, as noted in the other thread (Orange Branch Util. Study) would love a new intermodal, transit-oriented development terminal at Watsessing Avenue.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 11, 2018 4:01 pm

Yes, there is new development going up near the Watsessing Ave NJT Mtc-Btn Line station-new apartments. If it does get extended west of Grove St Station, ending NJT's Watsessing Ave station would be good. It looks like the old right of way ends where the NJT Mtc-Btn Line passes just south of Watsessing Ave station. There is a Home Depot store across the street from the Watsessing Ave Station that has employees, for whom many of them, depend on public transportation to get there.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby MaRoFu » Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:17 pm

Thanks for your replies.

Yes indeed, the WO branch west of Watsessing is impossible to restore (Edison's labs can't be connected by train, what a shame!), attempting to would likely see extreme opposition from people that live along the line. However, extending it to the Montclair-Boonton and having a transfer station is definitely a possible idea, why has it not been considered at all yet?

Hopefully with the new administration NJT might stop being broke and get some productivity done.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:46 pm

Even if the light rail gets extended to Watsessing Ave where the current NJT station is, I don't think too many people will switch from the Mtc-Btn Line to the NRL or vice versa. If you want to head to NWK Penn Station from Watsessing Ave, you might as well just stay on your NJT Mtc-Btn Line train to NWK Broad and then switch to either the light rail there or a bus. Doing that is faster.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby ryanov » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:20 am

I would have used it when I lived in Forest Hill. It was already a walk from my apartment to Branch Brook Park Station. It would have been a pain to then also walk to Watsessing Ave. I took the DeCamp 44 instead for NYC.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby necrails » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:55 am

As long as Newark Light Rail is the topic of conversation I have to wonder what it would take to link the light rail line to Kearney using the out of service tracks. Or using the line ROW from Clifton to Newark to link up Clifton or even Paterson to Newark. Right now the ridership would probably be low but building out a transit network in an area that will only get more congested might just drive development. I also wonder if there isn't a way to get the HB light rail into Journal Square. I know there is some duplication but PATH is already crowded with commuters, locals may use this as an option to get around Hudson county easier.

Anywhere there is unused ROW there should be a long hard look at how to utilize that before it is lost forever.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby JamesRR » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:26 am

The system needs to be brought back to a state of acceptable condition before it can consider expanding.

Currently, it suffers from too many breakdowns. Too much equipment offline at any given moment. Too many cancelled trains. Crew shortages.
Poor communication with passengers during service disruptions. Too many delayed trains.
Lack of capacity into NY (a problem Amtrak needs to lead the solving of re: Gateway)

It starts with management and trickles all the way down. I've been using the N.E.C. for over 20 years and I can say it's gotten considerably worse over the last decade.
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Re: New Jersey Transit is failing to expand

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:50 pm

necrails wrote:As long as Newark Light Rail is the topic of conversation I have to wonder what it would take to link the light rail line to Kearney using the out of service tracks. Or using the line ROW from Clifton to Newark to link up Clifton or even Paterson to Newark. Right now the ridership would probably be low but building out a transit network in an area that will only get more congested might just drive development. I also wonder if there isn't a way to get the HB light rail into Journal Square. I know there is some duplication but PATH is already crowded with commuters, locals may use this as an option to get around Hudson county easier.

Anywhere there is unused ROW there should be a long hard look at how to utilize that before it is lost forever.


No offense to the residents of the Arlington section of Kearny, but service isn't coming back. As I mentioned in the other thread, the ROW has been encroached in Newark east of Forest Hill.

On top of that, who would want to go from Arlington to Forest Hill, down to Branch Brook Park and then into Newark Penn? You could drive at maybe 1/3rd the time it would take.
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