MOM Rail Service

Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.

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Tom V
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Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 9:40 pm

Post by Tom V » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:06 pm

The "fourth alternative" was the Monmouth Junction "same time" alternative, which reduced the 123-minute Lakewood-to-New York running time to 110 minutes by "improving speed and fewer stops." The study does not say what stops would be eliminated. That alternative gives Monmouth Junction the same 110-minute traveling time as the Matawan alternative.
Could that 110 travel time (end to end) be acheived with the following stops?
  • Lakehurst
    Lakewood
    Farmingdale/Howell
    Freehold TWP/Rt.33
    Freehold Borough
    Englishtown/Manalapan
    Jamesburg/Monroe
    Dayton/South Brunswick/North Brunswick
    New Brunswick
    Metropark
    Newark Airport
    Newark Penn Station
    Secaucus Transfer
    NY Penn
The connection to the NEC at Midway would be an underpass à la Rahway.

Sentinel
NJ Transit tunnel study for MOM line released
S
OUTH BRUNSWICK -- After almost two years, a study on building a $77 million tunnel under the Northeast Corridor Line has been released by NJ Transit, the North Brunswick Sentinel reported.

The study, completed in August 2001 by J.E. Sverdrup and Parsons Brinkerhoff, looked at the feasibility of tunneling under the line to make NJ Transit’s controversial Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex proposal work.

According to the report, it is feasible for NJ Transit to build a $77 million pipe arch tunnel near the intersection of the Northeast Corridor Line and the Jamesburg branch freight line in the Monmouth Junction section of the township.

The $400 million MOM rail project is seeking to use existing freight lines to bring commuters from Ocean and Monmouth counties north for connecting service to New York.

The favored 40.1-mile route would start in Lakehurst and travel north through Lakewood and Howell, then turn west in Freehold and pass through Manalapan, Englishtown, and the Middlesex County communities of Monroe Township and Jamesburg, before connecting with Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor Line in Monmouth Junction.

Two other routes are being studied as part of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement, including a 27.7-mile freight route from Lakehurst to Red Bank where the train could run on the North Jersey Coast Line to Newark and New York, and a 35.8-mile route that would run between Lakehurst and Matawan that would also connect with the North Jersey Coast Line.

While the passenger rail line has the support of some officials and residents in Monmouth and Ocean counties, three towns in Middlesex County vehemently oppose the project. South Brunswick and Jamesburg have both recently passed resolutions to restate their opposition to the plan. Some residents of Englishtown have also objected to the proximity of a rail line to their homes.

According to the report, the tunnel is needed to bring southbound trains on the Northeast corridor across the other three tracks of the line to the eastern Jamesburg branch for service east through Monmouth County and south to Ocean County.

Former Transit Director Jeffrey Warsh initially promised South Brunswick and state officials, including state Sen. Peter Inverso (R-14), that the tunnel study would be made public shortly after visiting the township in February 2001.

Repeated attempts by township officials to see the report since then went unanswered until recently.

Deputy Township Manager Geoffrey Urbanik received permission to travel to NJ Transit’s main office in Newark to review the report during the recent DEIS scoping hearings regarding the MOM project.

This week, Greater Media Newspapers was able to obtain a copy of the report under the new Open Public Records Act.

The report states that the objectives of the study were to find a preferred location for the tunnel and a method of construction. Both objectives needed to "present an acceptable level of risk to NEC operations" that would be acceptable to line owner Amtrak.

Any design or location must be approved by the federal rail carrier who owns the line, according to the study.

The preferred site for the tunnel would be near the present connection of the Jamesburg branch with the Northeast Corridor Line at around mile post 41.2, according to the report.

The study presents two options at that site, and another one about 7,400 feet north on the NEC line near a proposed site for a station.


According to the report, a station would be placed north of the Major Road crossing. That station proposal was part of the 1996 Major Investment Study on the MOM project.

According to the tunnel report, that 1996 document was relied upon in creating the recent study.

South Brunswick officials have been debating the issue of building a station on the NEC, separate from the MOM issue.

Republicans made it a major issue voicing support of a station in their latest election campaign, while the Democratic administration has said that it would like to see some kind of poll or referendum on the issue before taking a permanent stand.

Among the majority, Mayor-elect Frank Gambatese has stated that a train station in South Brunswick may bring more traffic from outside the town to the already overcrowded road system.

The preferred tunnel option would require taking additional land on the west side of the line estimated to be 250-by-1,000 feet, according to the study.

The report said that the land to be taken for the tunnel "appears to be unused industrial property suitable for the proposed rail modifications."

No block or lot numbers were specified in the report.

South Brunswick officials are in the process of reviewing the tunnel report to see exactly what impact the proposed tunnel would have, and what exact properties would be affected by the plan.

According to the report, the tunnel option recommended would run about 120 feet along the corridor, creating the least interruption in service.

The study, however, said that the $77 million estimate does not include "signal systems and other operational requirements" of building the tunnel.

The study said that NJ Transit was conducting a separate study on that issue which was expected to be completed in early 2001, and "may have some impact on the conclusions" of the report.

CJPat
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Location: Brick, NJ

Post by CJPat » Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:43 pm

When was the Rahway tunnel constructed for the Coast Line? I am guessing it would have been done around the time of the "NEC" line elevation by the PRR. The concrete work looks like it was done 1920-1930 (??). I wouldn't have thought the NY&LB was considered such a busy line/major connection back then to warrant such construction. The Jamesburg line only warranted a Wye connection (atleast I think its a full wye?).

Jishnu
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2004 1:48 pm
Location: At the Space Coast 20 miles from Kennedy Space Center

Post by Jishnu » Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:30 pm

CJPat wrote:The Jamesburg line only warranted a Wye connection (atleast I think its a full wye?).
Not any more. The connection is only Sout/West facing at present.

jb9152
Posts: 1836
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 pm

Post by jb9152 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:18 am

Tom V wrote:
The "fourth alternative" was the Monmouth Junction "same time" alternative, which reduced the 123-minute Lakewood-to-New York running time to 110 minutes by "improving speed and fewer stops." The study does not say what stops would be eliminated. That alternative gives Monmouth Junction the same 110-minute traveling time as the Matawan alternative.
And how do they propose "improving speed" on an already planned 80 MPH railroad with a lot of curves that limit your ability to reach MAS anyway?

Also - any "improvements" made to the Monmouth Junction alternative will also have to be applied, in good faith, to the other two, which would, presumably, reduce their travel times as well.

jb9152
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 pm

Post by jb9152 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:22 am

Jishnu wrote:
CJPat wrote:The Jamesburg line only warranted a Wye connection (atleast I think its a full wye?).
Not any more. The connection is only Sout/West facing at present.
Correct. And Amtrak would never allow NJT trains operating at low speeds exiting the NEC to cross the entire plant in order to access the branch, so moreso than a wye, a tunnel is necessary to bring westbounds under the NEC. Additionally, some "run up" track needs to be provided for eastbounds to give some distance to get up to track speed after negotiating the curve at Monmouth Jct. before merging into NEC Track 1.

Douglas John Bowen
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Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:54 pm

NJ-ARP: To the other ONE, perhaps.

Post by Douglas John Bowen » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:25 am

Fair is fair, and NJ-ARP agrees that any right-of-way improvements applied to the true MOM should also be applied to any proposed Red Bank routing.

But we part ways when anyone suggests similar treatment for the "Oops! Where's Matawan?" option, because in our view that option is clearly fantasy.

Two central Jersey rail options are in play. "Oops! Where's Matawan?" isn't one of them. We've yet to meet a single local citizen source that advocates undoing taxpayer-funded bicycle facilities, recently installed, and supplanting it with a single-track railroad that -- incredibly -- some think could be time-competitive with the Northeast Corridor.

Irish Chieftain

Post by Irish Chieftain » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:34 am

We've yet to meet a single local citizen source that advocates undoing taxpayer-funded bicycle facilities
Here's one. But not necessarily for Freehold-Matawan; what with Route 36 getting more congested, I'd vote for the other end of the "Henry Hudson Trail" going towards Highlands…(slightly OT of course)

jb9152
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Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 pm

Re: NJ-ARP: To the other ONE, perhaps.

Post by jb9152 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:39 am

Douglas John Bowen wrote:Fair is fair, and NJ-ARP agrees that any right-of-way improvements applied to the true MOM should also be applied to any proposed Red Bank routing.

But we part ways when anyone suggests similar treatment for the "Oops! Where's Matawan?" option, because in our view that option is clearly fantasy.

Two central Jersey rail options are in play. "Oops! Where's Matawan?" isn't one of them. We've yet to meet a single local citizen source that advocates undoing taxpayer-funded bicycle facilities, recently installed, and supplanting it with a single-track railroad that -- incredibly -- some think could be time-competitive with the Northeast Corridor.
I don't really have a horse in the race one way or the other, but where is the "single-track railroad" being asked to be time-competitive with the NEC? Both the Matawan and Red Bank routings use the NJCL to get to Newark, correct? The NJCL is, at the risk of stating the obvious, not single track. So where is the single track, aside from the actual MOM alignment itself, which is substantially single track no matter which routing you choose?

Irish Chieftain

Post by Irish Chieftain » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:43 am

where is the "single-track railroad" being asked to be time-competitive with the NEC?
Former CNJ from Matawan to Freehold. Currently part of the Henry Hudson Trail, although not yet paved for bicycle access AFAIK. Limiting factor is joining the NJCL, as already noted.

Douglas John Bowen
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Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:54 pm

NJ-ARP: Comparison is/was NJT's.

Post by Douglas John Bowen » Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:51 am

Earlier claims (studies?) by New Jersey Transit -- including face-to-face discussions between NJT and NJ-ARP -- offered a single-track "Oops! Where's Matawan?" schedule that (NJT insisted) was "time competitive" with MOM via the NEC. The NEC, of course, is a four-track railroad.

NJ-ARP does not consider such a comparison insignificant -- and we'd remind all that we weren't the ones to offer such a comparison.

As to the condition of the Matawan-to-Freehold rail trail, we reprint from NJ-ARP Hotline #513, May 31, 2005.


Matawan-Freehold Rail-Trail Opens June 4


We noted in Hotline #512 that even as NJ Transit pursues its "Oops, where's Matawan?" rail charade, other agencies more grounded in reality have announced the Freehold-Matawan route is nearing its debut as -- a rail-trail. This weekend, in fact.

At least a portion of the designated Henry Hudson Trail "will officially open on Saturday, June 4," the Monmouth County Parks Department announced Monday, May 23. An opening ceremony is tentatively slated for that date at 115 Dutch Lane Road in Freehold Township (northeast of Freehold Borough). NJ-ARP may attend the ceremony, just to see how a one-track rail right-of-way can hold a rail-trail and a railroad (how much capacity? If one believes NJT, comparable to the Northeast Corridor!).

Irish Chieftain

Post by Irish Chieftain » Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:49 am

The NEC, of course, is a four-track railroad
It's also signalled for the fastest operation of revenue passenger trains in the 48 states. Not likely that NJT would rebuild Freehold-Matawan for 100-mph operation, to say the very least.

Jishnu
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Location: At the Space Coast 20 miles from Kennedy Space Center

Post by Jishnu » Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:53 am

Irish Chieftain wrote:
The NEC, of course, is a four-track railroad
It's also signalled for the fastest operation of revenue passenger trains in the 48 states. Not likely that NJT would rebuild Freehold-Matawan for 100-mph operation, to say the very least.
Or Matawan to Rahway for that matter.

jb9152
Posts: 1836
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 pm

Re: NJ-ARP: Comparison is/was NJT's.

Post by jb9152 » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:09 am

Douglas John Bowen wrote:Earlier claims (studies?) by New Jersey Transit -- including face-to-face discussions between NJT and NJ-ARP -- offered a single-track "Oops! Where's Matawan?" schedule that (NJT insisted) was "time competitive" with MOM via the NEC. The NEC, of course, is a four-track railroad.

...NJ-ARP may attend the ceremony, just to see how a one-track rail right-of-way can hold a rail-trail and a railroad (how much capacity? If one believes NJT, comparable to the Northeast Corridor!).
I'm still not getting how the comparison that you make is appropriate - the "true MOM" alignment that you're advocating is also a single track line, with a connection to the 4-track NEC. The Red Bank and Matawan alignments are similarly single track, with connection to a multiple-track rail line (the NJCL in this case, which of course, itself joins a 6-track NEC at Union).

I think you're being just a tiny bit disingenuous referring to the Matawan alignment as "single track", and comparing it to the NEC, when the Monmouth Junction alignment suffers (?) from the same configuration.

Further to the whole discussion is the underlying supposition that a single track railroad cannot be time-competitive with a four-track railroad (also a bit disingenuous, when you consider that only two of the four are available for travel in either direction at Monmouth Jct.), which is absolutely not true. The number of tracks, unless those tracks are saturated and run at near-capacity (as the NEC is, at times), has little to do with running time. Civil speed limits in place due to curves, signal system configuration, equipment performance, and station stopping pattern, and overall distance have much more to do with running time than how many tracks you have.

Consider that a 5-mile single track line will always offer better running times than a 15-mile six-track mega-line.

Douglas John Bowen
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Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:54 pm

NJ-ARP: Deception not our card.

Post by Douglas John Bowen » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:45 am

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.

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.

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.

Douglas John Bowen
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Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:54 pm

NJ-ARP: Re: 'track saturation'

Post by Douglas John Bowen » Mon Sep 11, 2006 11:49 am

Any capacity overload on the Northeast Corridor, real or pending, becomes more intense the closer one comes to Newark-Penn Station and/or New York.

Given that, alternatives to the true MOM, real or in fantasyland, suffer the same handicap, at the very best, as MOM does.

South of Rahway, we'd continue to argue that a four-track main line offers better options than even a clean, well-run, two-track North Jersey Coast Line does. And then, of course, we get to one-track operation at Matawan.

Red Bank faster? For argument's sake, for now let's say: Not if you're trying to serve New Brunswick. And that, regrettably, is the NJ Transit-proffered bait that too many folks fall for. It's not about just that oh-so-holy "one-seat ride" to New York. It's about serving people, and numerous markets, that include but transcend the 800-pound gorilla.

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