Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

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Wingnut
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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by Wingnut » Wed Aug 15, 2018 9:33 am

Regarding the idea of extending AC trains to Suburban or even through to Roberts, it's one of those "you can never say never" things. But it would only come about as part of the kind of comprehensive service enhancement package that NJT recently studied and shelved. And even that didn't consider extending trains past 30th Street. At best, a development like that is a decade or more away, if ever.

In recent years the line has been hemorrhaging riders and there's a real concern from some that NJT won't reopen the line in 2019 as promised. I personally don't think so because there will be immense financial and political repercussions if they pulled a stunt like that. But anyway here's a couple relevant news articles.

https://www.nj.com/traffic/index.ssf/20 ... rains.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www2.philly.com/philly/business/ ... 80814.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

ExCon90
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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by ExCon90 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 3:06 pm

CNJGeep wrote:
mcgrath618 wrote:I would think then that NJT would be inclined to attempt to stop in Suburban Station. There are 8 tracks; it would be easy for NJT trains to use Track 0 without conflicting too too much with SEPTA. It's not perfect, but it would surely help.
That would in fact create a HUGE conflict, since each train would have to cross ALLLLLLLLL the way over at Schuylkill on the way back to AC. The railroad between Suburban and 30th Street does not have the capacity to allow for those moves.
Actually, it is possible to cross all the way over from 1 to 4 (and 3, which is the one you'd want anyway for Atlantic City) at 20th St. leaving Suburban, but at the cost of tying up the whole line until the movement is completed at 15 mph, but the many other reasons cited above make it impractical, particularly for the service frequency required for the ACL to be useful.

rr503
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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by rr503 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 5:50 pm

The only way I see the ACL becoming in any way relevant is if NJT buys PATCO (or v.v.) and ties them together. That would get the line a fast route into downtown, and a real ridership base.

Of course, such a combination would run up against myriad legal and infrastructural hurdles (FRA vs FTA being a big one), so sadly I don't see the ACL doing much more than the status quo...

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by EDM5970 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:19 am

NJT buying PATCO would do nothing towards building a faster route into downtown Philly. The FRA vs. FTA issue is minor, compared to the fact that NJT cars wouldn't even come close to being able to fit into PATCO's tunnels or make the curves. This sounds just like the reporter in North Jersey, who suggested that to get more trains into New York, NJT should divert some of them to PATH's track and tunnels.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by rr503 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:00 am

EDM5970 wrote:NJT buying PATCO would do nothing towards building a faster route into downtown Philly. The FRA vs. FTA issue is minor, compared to the fact that NJT cars wouldn't even come close to being able to fit into PATCO's tunnels or make the curves. This sounds just like the reporter in North Jersey, who suggested that to get more trains into New York, NJT should divert some of them to PATH's track and tunnels.
Who said a combined RR would use NJT equipment? If we're really gonna entertain this idea, one would probably electrify the line to AC and run it all with PATCO stock.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by EDM5970 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 10:25 am

rr503 said: "Who said a combined RR would use NJT equipment? If we're really gonna entertain this idea, one would probably electrify the line to AC and run it all with PATCO stock".

You really want to ride a subway car all the way between Philly and AC? And add third rail? That's what you seem to propose here.

The right way to do it, and it isn't going to happen, at least not anytime soon, would be for SEPTA to take over the AC line. Get some dual-modes, like NJT has, and add AC, Pottstown, Bethlehem, a few other lines to the system. Again, not likely to happen.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by rr503 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:23 am

EDM5970 wrote:rr503 said: "Who said a combined RR would use NJT equipment? If we're really gonna entertain this idea, one would probably electrify the line to AC and run it all with PATCO stock".

You really want to ride a subway car all the way between Philly and AC? And add third rail? That's what you seem to propose here.

The right way to do it, and it isn't going to happen, at least not anytime soon, would be for SEPTA to take over the AC line. Get some dual-modes, like NJT has, and add AC, Pottstown, Bethlehem, a few other lines to the system. Again, not likely to happen.
Yes, I'd be fine with that. PATCO cars have commuter-rail like seats -- really the only noticeable difference for me was the physical size of the cars. On the upside, an electrified PATCO ACY line would allow PATCO to leverage their terrifying acceleration on the long straightaways, saving you a few minutes ACY-Lindenwold. From there, you save another 15 mins to downtown Philadelphia because you aren't looping around North Philly -- something that DMs wouldn't solve unless you built a new tunnel.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Aug 16, 2018 11:35 am

On the one hand: Dual-mode LRT vehicles? Something that would negotiate both the PATCO system with its high platforms & 3rd rail, and the unelectrified ACL with low platforms.

On the other: what is actually wrong with a GP40 and three coaches? Their acceleration isn’t that bad with such a small train, and NJT did just build that shiny new Pennsauken Transfer. Only benefit to either full electrification or dual-modes is being able to hit both Camden and Philly on the same train.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by rr503 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:25 pm

mtuandrew wrote:On the one hand: Dual-mode LRT vehicles? Something that would negotiate both the PATCO system with its high platforms & 3rd rail, and the unelectrified ACL with low platforms.

On the other: what is actually wrong with a GP40 and three coaches? Their acceleration isn’t that bad with such a small train, and NJT did just build that shiny new Pennsauken Transfer. Only benefit to either full electrification or dual-modes is being able to hit both Camden and Philly on the same train.
Dual mode LRTs would be damn cool -- I know they have comparable things in Europe, but am unsure how much equipment one can pack into such a small carbody. In a dream world, though I'd honestly just go with electrification to ACY -- in the context of transit investments, adding third rail isn't *too* expensive, and the high platforms are actually already there at most stations.

Again, I think the big benefit to be realized in a combination is in making the ACL a viable route to downtown Philly (and, as you say, Camden). In the AM rush, it takes about half an hour to get from Lindenwold to Philly City Hall on PATCO (incl. walking). On the ACL, that's 50 -- if you transfer to SEPTA. Harness that time savings in a one-seat ride and a single fare, and voila, you have a competitive rail route.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by R&DB » Thu Aug 16, 2018 12:47 pm

The idea of a PATCO - ACL combination has another major flaw, namely weight. The PATCO line crosses the river on a dual-use highway and rail bridge that was designed to carry the weight of subway-type cars, not full size mainline railroad coaches or locomotives. Tunnels do not exist and the current ACL route over the Delair bridge is the only one possible. The best way to get to downtown from AC is to change trains at Lindenwold or drive to there and to catch PATCO.
Harry

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:02 pm

Stadler makes enough LRT and EMU/DMU variants, they must be able to kitbash a DEMU that would work in the restrictive PATCO loading gauge. Is the demand there though? RIVERline was expensive and is less versatile than FRA-compliant equipment, and it connects two large cities and a lot of small ones. After Atco, ACL runs express through the Pine Barrens because there is essentially nobody there. Also, AC is very economically depressed, and I doubt a new & improved rail line will help that much.

As for the bridge, Stadler could probably work within that weight limit - but it would sacrifice comfort.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by Ryand-Smith » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:36 pm

lensovet wrote:christ, it's simple.

as was stated earlier, ridership on this line does not justify keeping around a train set while cancelling trains on the NEC or M&E lines. the crews and the equipment are simply not there to keep this line running. when push comes to shove obviously the lower ridership lines will get cut first.

PTC is a make it or break it ordeal for NJT. If they do not get their * together before the end of the year, forget about your "one" train on the RVL. *all* NEC, M&E, NJCL rush-hour trains are gone, the RVL terminates at Union, and the ACL terminates at Pennsauken. this isn't some sort of joke.

edit: don't forget that there's a cross-honoring agreement in place with PATCO. that's not free to NJT.
If the FRA tried that I am sure NJ and NY would probally pull States Rights or have Amtrak magically banned from Newark as a balance of terror thing.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by rr503 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:48 pm

R&DB wrote:The idea of a PATCO - ACL combination has another major flaw, namely weight. The PATCO line crosses the river on a dual-use highway and rail bridge that was designed to carry the weight of subway-type cars, not full size mainline railroad coaches or locomotives. Tunnels do not exist and the current ACL route over the Delair bridge is the only one possible. The best way to get to downtown from AC is to change trains at Lindenwold or drive to there and to catch PATCO.
Again, the idea here is more to retrofit the ACL for PATCO service rather than the other way around. Bridge-compliant equipment would be used, I assume, and any FRA moves (SRNJ to Pleasantville) would be handled via temporal separation.
mtuandrew wrote:Stadler makes enough LRT and EMU/DMU variants, they must be able to kitbash a DEMU that would work in the restrictive PATCO loading gauge. Is the demand there though? RIVERline was expensive and is less versatile than FRA-compliant equipment, and it connects two large cities and a lot of small ones. After Atco, ACL runs express through the Pine Barrens because there is essentially nobody there. Also, AC is very economically depressed, and I doubt a new & improved rail line will help that much.

As for the bridge, Stadler could probably work within that weight limit - but it would sacrifice comfort.
I think this is the pertinent question here. I doubt that areas of SJ beyond PATCO's service radius will ever grow enough to justify more than incremental ACL service. There is, of course, an induced demand argument to be made here, but I don't believe that there is much growth potential even with better rail service. I do still hold, though, that this (or tightly integrating PATCO/NJT schedules and fares) is the only way to make the ACL a viable commuting option -- otherwise the line misses areas of economic density, or arrives at them only circuitously.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by Return to Reading Company Olney Sta » Thu Aug 16, 2018 5:06 pm

rr503 wrote:
EDM5970 wrote:NJT buying PATCO would do nothing towards building a faster route into downtown Philly. The FRA vs. FTA issue is minor, compared to the fact that NJT cars wouldn't even come close to being able to fit into PATCO's tunnels or make the curves. This sounds just like the reporter in North Jersey, who suggested that to get more trains into New York, NJT should divert some of them to PATH's track and tunnels.
Who said a combined RR would use NJT equipment? If we're really gonna entertain this idea, one would probably electrify the line to AC and run it all with PATCO stock.
In fact there was a serious proposal to extend PATCO service to AC circa 1980. It is discussed in the Summer 2014 issue of the West Jersey Chapter Quarterly. Possible equipment for the longer distance trips past Lindenwold would have been overhauled LibertyLiners/Electroliners or similar. Ultimately instead the line was rebuilt for the Amtrak and NJT service.

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Re: Major NJT cuts, no AC line for 5 months and more

Post by interlocking » Thu Aug 16, 2018 9:55 pm

The shut down can be easily solved. Turn over the Atlantic City line to the Cape May Seashore Line. The number of "excursion" trips could exceed regular trips. The icing on the cake would be to see the RDCs return to Philadelphia. Although there would likely be hundreds of issues to be resolved, it isn't as outlandish as other ideas mentioned previously.

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