Douglas John Bowen wrote:We urge skeptics to examine the available rights-of-way. The true MOM route is a one-track railroad, but its right-of-way allows for significant expansion, allowing for expanded capacity, allowing for superior running times.
Capacity does NOT ipso facto equate to running time improvement. You can only use one of the tracks at a time, no matter if you have one or six. Don't be so fast to cast me in the light of "skeptic". I just want it to be clear that some of the arguments that are being advanced to support a particular alignment or another are somewhat deceptive - including equating the presence of extra tracks with an improvement in running time. As I noted, you can only use one at a time; the train does not run faster because there is an adjacent track rather than a cornfield.
Douglas John Bowen wrote:Deceptive? Let the "Oops! Where's Matawan?" backers -- whomever and wherever they might be -- explain to us just how one will shoehorn in even one track with an existing, active, state taxpayer-funded bicycle rail trail that happens to be -- one rail track wide throughout. THEN explain to us how such limited capacity can handle two-way traffic and offer anything better than a Pascack Valley-model "commuter" rail operation, especially at the rush.
Granted. But again, you're mixing apples and oranges. Capacity and running time are separate issues. Related in a peripheral way? Sure. But indisputably different.
And now, to boot, you're changing the discussion to an evaluation of right of way width. Fine. If it turns out to be financially, politically, or otherwise prohibitive to build the Matwawn alternative, then that alternative will, in good faith, have to be thrown out. I don't disagree with you one iota there. But let's be clear about what we're discussing - this has nothing to do with the slashing (by fiat, it seems) of 17 to 18 minutes of run time from the Monmouth Junction alignment with the stroke of a magic pen. It has to do with future capacity and service considerations. And on that basis, I don't disagree with you.
Douglas John Bowen wrote:Finally, distance does not automatically equate to schedule times on a one-for-one basis. To suggest such a correlation is, to be polite, a stretch. We offer as an example any trip from Garden State Parkway Exit 131 to Albany Street in New Brunswick. Going via Route 27 is faster than the New Jersey Turnpike? Possible, but not likely, and certainly not guaranteed.
Absolutely right. However, your example is badly misleading, and you misquote (or at least misunderstand) my point, which is not that distance equates to "...schedule times on a one-for-one basis". I never said that, nor do I think I implied it.
Highway traffic is a MUCH more 'perturbable' and chaotic stream than rail, which tends to have an order and flow enforced by the signal system (which the highway system has in only the most rudimentary way) and schedule (which highways in general do not have). But if you're honest, and acknowledge that *any* MOM alternative will have a modern signal system, passenger train-appropriate track structure, and a rational station distribution coupled to a rational timetable, the comparison breaks down quickly.
Perhaps I should have been clearer in stating my assumptions, but I thought they were so obvious as to be self-evident. A 15-mile commuter-rail quality rail line will ALWAYS produce longer running times than a comparable commuter-rail quality 5-mile rail line. That's just the way it is.