Northern New Jersey lines: why so slow?

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Re: Northern New Jersey lines: why so slow?

Postby GSC » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:13 am

pdtrains wrote:Stations in NJ are also very close together. a result of the towns being developed in the area over 150 years ago. Many stations are a mile or less apart, so there is no space to speed up, and stopping every mile...my goodness...22 mph is about right for a local.


That's the case on the NJ Coast Line south (west) of Long Branch. This rail line brought settlement to the Jersey Shore, towns incorporating around 1880-1890. These little mile-square kingdoms each demanded a station, and at one time, there were 16 stations below Long Branch. (Nine open as of today). Closed were Hollywood, Deal, North Asbury, Avon, Como, Sea Girt, and Brielle.

When the NY&LB extended south/west below Long Branch to Belmar (then Ocean Beach) in 1876, there were nine stations over an 8.3 mile line.

I paced a westbound NJT trains from Bradley Beach to Belmar along Memorial Drive and the train hit almost 40 mph before slowing for the Shark River Draw and Belmar, about a two mile run. Good acceleration for an eight-car ML, but not really much in making any time.

Imagine back to the time when all these stations were open. Tough schedules to keep.
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Re: Northern New Jersey lines: why so slow?

Postby JoeG » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:46 pm

I used to ride the Main/Bergen line from Suffern. The MN expresses sometimes hit 70 and did pretty well. On weekends,the locals were as expected slow. But I always felt the dwell times were way too long. Perhaps this is true on other lines. I asked crew members why they had such long dwell times. One answer I got was, they were just keeping to the schedule. So, to what extent is the slowness caused by management's wanting trains not to be late? Do they still get bonuses based on on-time percentage?
I can say that M&E trains are much slower than they were in Lackawanna days. In 1952 an M&E local took an hour and 15 minutes from Hoboken to Dover. Now most Dover trains go to NYP but it looks like the Hoboken to Dover ride is about 15 minutes longer.
I have to conclude that NJT has no interest in speeding up its trains. As was pointed out years ago, the Gladstone trains in steam days were faster than today's trains. I don't have time to dig up the M&E Dover timetable in steam days, but i suspect it's true there too.
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Re: Northern New Jersey lines: why so slow?

Postby amtrakowitz » Fri Feb 08, 2019 1:44 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:This weekend, I took New Jersey Transit's Midtown Direct train from NY Penn Station to Dover, NJ.

It's 40 miles.

It took 1 hour and 45 minutes: 7:11am to 8:56am.

That's an average speed of 22.9 miles per hour.

That is absolutely ridiculous! The train went through some very nice areas such as Short Hills and Summit.

Why is there no movement to dramatically increase train speeds? Why do the upper-income residents of those towns tolerate such slow speeds? Every minute on the train is a minute that is not spent doing client development, reviewing financial reports or recovering at home.

Converting from EMU to push-pull (big impact on average speeds), additional delays due to NJT overcrowding the former PRR High Line, aging infrastructure, PTC woes, ad nauseam. There was no way a Dover-Hoboken train was that slow back when NJT converted the lines to use Arrows back in the 1980s.

If the trend continues to be the dramatic decrease of train speeds, don't expect a reversal in the near future.
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