New Dinky to Nassau Street

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

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Rodney Fisk
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New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:54 pm

Princeton Interurban has just applied for a major grant from Chase Bank to extend the Dinky to Nassau Street and increase service from three to five round trips an hour, meeting virtually every train at Princeton Junction. Plus, PI would reduce the single fare from $2.75 to two bucks. What it needs to proceed to the next step is 250 votes by Saturday, the 30th. Needless to say, Forum participants' votes would be enormously appreciated. Just go to http://www.missionsmallbusiness.com, log in with Facebook and enter "Princeton Interurban" and select. Then, please pass on the request. (Sorry for the very tight time frame, but with your help, we can qualify.)

mtuandrew
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:38 pm

Welcome, Mr. Fisk!

I'm moving your post to the NJ Transit Light Rail forum. While it's not proposed to be operated by New Jersey Transit or one of its assignees, it fits in with other proposals to convert the Dinky to the centerpiece of a Princeton light rail system.

mtuandrew
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by mtuandrew » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:38 pm

Also, here's an opinion piece written by Mr. Fisk: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2011/02/22/27686/

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RussNelson
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by RussNelson » Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:54 am

Interesting. That would mostly follow the route of the previous Interurban coming from Trenton. I don't think it ever made it onto campus, though. I wonder if Princeton would consider selling the right-of-way to Princeton Interurban, so that it would not be the deep pockets when some undereducated college student got whacked.

Rodney Fisk
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:25 pm

To clarify, the proposed service would replace NJ Transit as operator of the (former PRR) Princeton Branch, convert it to light rail using the same catenary system, but 100% solar powered; extend tracks to Nassau Street with the LRV operating on power stored in ultracapacitors. Both the railcar body and new station in town would be designed by a noted local designer/architect. There would be no cost to municipalities or the state; all funding would be federal, with the required local match provided in-kind by the university's transit-related improvements to its new arts campus.

amtrakowitz
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by amtrakowitz » Fri Jun 29, 2012 9:39 pm

None of NJT's light rail systems have integrated ticketing with the rail division. This can't be any different. And I don't think the FTA would permit running in "dark territory" as the FRA currently does with the present-day Dinky. Good luck matching the average speed of the Arrows on there. Also, good luck maintaining a decent fare recovery ratio, because with POP, those are nonexistent.

lirr42
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by lirr42 » Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:59 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:None of NJT's light rail systems have integrated ticketing with the rail division. This can't be any different...
Actually, there is integrated ticketing, to some extent. You can use your NJTransit Rail monthly or weekly pass for any light rail trip (HBLR, NCS, RiverLINE) at no additional charge during the period the pass is valid. So If I lived in Camden and worked in New York, all I would have to do is buy a Trenton-New York monthly and I could ride for free on the RiverLINE to Trenton.

It's even integrated somewhat with the bus system. You can use any one-zone bus pass on the NCS and RiverLINE, and any two-zone bus pas on HBLR (in addition to the other two).
amtrakowitz wrote:..Also, good luck maintaining a decent fare recovery ratio, because with POP, those are nonexistent.
That would be a problem to be looked at. You could keep the current staffing levels that the Dinky Shuttle has now (engineer, conductor(s)) and ensure a conductor/"ticket inspector" on each train.

lirr42
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by lirr42 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:10 am

amtrakowitz wrote:...And I don't think the FTA would permit running in "dark territory" as the FRA currently does with the present-day Dinky. Good luck matching the average speed of the Arrows on there...
Yes, Any changes would probably have to include signalling the branch, similar to the systems in place on the HBLR and NCS.

The Arrows can go up to 60 mph on a decent portion of the line (just less than 2 miles), and are restricted to 35 the last .7 miles. I'm not sure what the speed limit on the Light Rail's are, but I imagine it would take longer from A to B with LRV's.

Ken W2KB
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Ken W2KB » Sat Jun 30, 2012 4:56 pm

Rodney Fisk wrote:To clarify, the proposed service would replace NJ Transit as operator of the (former PRR) Princeton Branch, convert it to light rail using the same catenary system, but 100% solar powered; extend tracks to Nassau Street with the LRV operating on power stored in ultracapacitors. Both the railcar body and new station in town would be designed by a noted local designer/architect. There would be no cost to municipalities or the state; all funding would be federal, with the required local match provided in-kind by the university's transit-related improvements to its new arts campus.
Why is it proposed to be solar powered? That results in a cost for energy that is in the order of magnitude of ten times the cost of conventional sources of electric energy when all costs are taken into account?

The capacitor system was proposed over a decade ago by EPRI. Interesting to see It materialize.

No cost to the municipality or state is misleading, given that residents do in fact pay federal income taxes. The government has no money of its own, it's all taxpayer money.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

michaelk
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by michaelk » Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:44 pm

Ken W2KB wrote:
Rodney Fisk wrote:To clarify, the proposed service would replace NJ Transit as operator of the (former PRR) Princeton Branch, convert it to light rail using the same catenary system, but 100% solar powered; extend tracks to Nassau Street with the LRV operating on power stored in ultracapacitors. Both the railcar body and new station in town would be designed by a noted local designer/architect. There would be no cost to municipalities or the state; all funding would be federal, with the required local match provided in-kind by the university's transit-related improvements to its new arts campus.
Why is it proposed to be solar powered? That results in a cost for energy that is in the order of magnitude of ten times the cost of conventional sources of electric energy when all costs are taken into account?
....
I'd love to hear the reply from the man himself- but I'll take a vote that it's for politics and marketing.

But as to ten times- is that accurate over the life of solar at this juncture? I was under the impression (certainly could be wrong) that the break even on solar installations is around 15 years +/-5 years at this point (at least in NJ with subsides, rebates, selling srecs and the like).

the installs are everywhere en mass- why are people/businesses/governments doing them if they cost more?

I live in Flemington area- traveling from here to the Raritan train station one passes several larger obvious installations at:
- Branchburg Municipal building (I believe part of a larger project composed of municipal, board of ed, and county government locations)
-Ortho Clinical Diagnostics- big old "front lawn" install
-Janssen Pharmaceuticals- parking lots, rooftops, and solar tracking ground
-J&J ITS - parking lots
- and recently Roche got approval on an 8.3 megawatt install that they figure will save them 7 million dollars over 15 years.
http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/ind ... board.html

Why would all those exist if it costs the power user 10x as much?

residential customers can even sign up for alternate suppliers that use renewables in their basket and their rates are at least in the ballpark and not 10x more.

It's maybe not a deal at all to the utility companies (having to buy all the srecs to meet goals and all) - but for the consumers of the power it's a winner in NJ- no?

Ken W2KB
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Location: Lebanon Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey & Tiverton, RI USA

Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Ken W2KB » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:18 pm

michaelk wrote:
Ken W2KB wrote:
Rodney Fisk wrote:To clarify, the proposed service would replace NJ Transit as operator of the (former PRR) Princeton Branch, convert it to light rail using the same catenary system, but 100% solar powered; extend tracks to Nassau Street with the LRV operating on power stored in ultracapacitors. Both the railcar body and new station in town would be designed by a noted local designer/architect. There would be no cost to municipalities or the state; all funding would be federal, with the required local match provided in-kind by the university's transit-related improvements to its new arts campus.
Why is it proposed to be solar powered? That results in a cost for energy that is in the order of magnitude of ten times the cost of conventional sources of electric energy when all costs are taken into account?
....
I'd love to hear the reply from the man himself- but I'll take a vote that it's for politics and marketing.

But as to ten times- is that accurate over the life of solar at this juncture? I was under the impression (certainly could be wrong) that the break even on solar installations is around 15 years +/-5 years at this point (at least in NJ with subsides, rebates, selling srecs and the like).

the installs are everywhere en mass- why are people/businesses/governments doing them if they cost more?

I live in Flemington area- traveling from here to the Raritan train station one passes several larger obvious installations at:
- Branchburg Municipal building (I believe part of a larger project composed of municipal, board of ed, and county government locations)
-Ortho Clinical Diagnostics- big old "front lawn" install
-Janssen Pharmaceuticals- parking lots, rooftops, and solar tracking ground
-J&J ITS - parking lots
- and recently Roche got approval on an 8.3 megawatt install that they figure will save them 7 million dollars over 15 years.
http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/ind ... board.html

Why would all those exist if it costs the power user 10x as much?

residential customers can even sign up for alternate suppliers that use renewables in their basket and their rates are at least in the ballpark and not 10x more.

It's maybe not a deal at all to the utility companies (having to buy all the srecs to meet goals and all) - but for the consumers of the power it's a winner in NJ- no?
Substantial lobbying of legislators by the alternative power industry in concert with the more extreme enviro organizations are behind the subsidies. Subsidies from taxpayers and electric utility ratepayers are the reason that alternative sources are built.
Not a winner except for those being subsidized; and the so-called payback years reported almost always ignore time value of money and thus are deceptive. So the majority of taxpayers and utility customers take it on the chin since they pay higher taxes and electric rates because of these projects.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

Rodney Fisk
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:53 pm

Some further clarification: Again, the route would be identical to that of NJ Transit's Dinky, except extended to Nassau Street. The LRV would be operated by a single driver, with pay enter/pay leave at Princeton Junction through turnstiles accepting fares by the most current methods. There would be no more ticket compatibility at PJ than between the NYC subway and NJ Transit. Farebox recovery ratio would be above 110%. How? By specifying equipment best suited to the service, operated by a rational crew paid market wages, rather than high-cost, over-sized equipment, operated by a traditional crew paid negotiated wages. The line would be completely segregated from the Northeast Corridor with no further FRA jurisdiction; therefore no signalling required. The designated LRV, the fastest one on the market, would make the trip in 3:50, compared with the current Arrow III trip time of 4:15. And of course, naturally, taxpayers will be responsible for the federal contribution, but no more in Princeton than in Podunk or Peoria. (Taxpayers would no longer have to pony up for the Dinky's $1.2 million yearly operating subsidy, however.)

Ken et al.: You've convinced me to remove solar power from the proposal. Amtrak bills NJ Transit about $160,000 per year in propulsion cost. Our smaller, lighter LRV (76 seats) will consume about $17,000 per year, even though we will increase daily round trips from some 40 to 56. Why spend $1 million for a solar array large enough to feed sufficient energy to the grid to equal what we draw from the utility at high voltage, transform and rectify to 750V DC? Princeton Interurban will eat the $17,000. Although FTA encouraged us to include solar power in our capital plan, I've got to admit that $17,000 is a rather pitiful yearly return on a million-dollar public investment.

michaelk
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:53 am

Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by michaelk » Sun Jul 01, 2012 8:02 pm

Ken W2KB wrote:
michaelk wrote:
Ken W2KB wrote:
Rodney Fisk wrote:To clarify, the proposed service would replace NJ Transit as operator of the (former PRR) Princeton Branch, convert it to light rail using the same catenary system, but 100% solar powered; extend tracks to Nassau Street with the LRV operating on power stored in ultracapacitors. Both the railcar body and new station in town would be designed by a noted local designer/architect. There would be no cost to municipalities or the state; all funding would be federal, with the required local match provided in-kind by the university's transit-related improvements to its new arts campus.
Why is it proposed to be solar powered? That results in a cost for energy that is in the order of magnitude of ten times the cost of conventional sources of electric energy when all costs are taken into account?
....
I'd love to hear the reply from the man himself- but I'll take a vote that it's for politics and marketing.

But as to ten times- is that accurate over the life of solar at this juncture? I was under the impression (certainly could be wrong) that the break even on solar installations is around 15 years +/-5 years at this point (at least in NJ with subsides, rebates, selling srecs and the like).

the installs are everywhere en mass- why are people/businesses/governments doing them if they cost more?

I live in Flemington area- traveling from here to the Raritan train station one passes several larger obvious installations at:
- Branchburg Municipal building (I believe part of a larger project composed of municipal, board of ed, and county government locations)
-Ortho Clinical Diagnostics- big old "front lawn" install
-Janssen Pharmaceuticals- parking lots, rooftops, and solar tracking ground
-J&J ITS - parking lots
- and recently Roche got approval on an 8.3 megawatt install that they figure will save them 7 million dollars over 15 years.
http://www.nj.com/messenger-gazette/ind ... board.html

Why would all those exist if it costs the power user 10x as much?

residential customers can even sign up for alternate suppliers that use renewables in their basket and their rates are at least in the ballpark and not 10x more.

It's maybe not a deal at all to the utility companies (having to buy all the srecs to meet goals and all) - but for the consumers of the power it's a winner in NJ- no?
Substantial lobbying of legislators by the alternative power industry in concert with the more extreme enviro organizations are behind the subsidies. Subsidies from taxpayers and electric utility ratepayers are the reason that alternative sources are built.
Not a winner except for those being subsidized; and the so-called payback years reported almost always ignore time value of money and thus are deceptive. So the majority of taxpayers and utility customers take it on the chin since they pay higher taxes and electric rates because of these projects.
this isn't the solar forum so I'll try to be brief- but exactly my point- the consumer of the solar power gets out on the deal (while the NJ taxpayer and general ratepayer subsides it). The solar consumer makes out like a bandit. Article in todays ledger (or NJ.com) says NJ legislature Dems passed bill to dramatically increase solar mandate on utilities (and therefore srec value)- and that they think Christie will sign it since they negotiated with his administration. (also that article or another mentioned that NJ last year was largest solar install base in the US- more than California and if i recall correctly 34% of US installs- there's a reason the market in the US favors installs in NJ- even under Christie)

And you really think J&J and Roche are morons and dont factor in the time value of money? I'm basically certain their accountants are wise enough to figure that out. And you also think all the rest of the installs in NJ are dumb too? Maybe it's not 7 million when you figure in the time value but it's still a net winner otherwise they wouldn't touch it. My understanding is they all figure the "savings" over 15 years because that's the lifespan of the inverters. If they happen to last 20 years- you get 5 years of FREE power. Worst case you buy a new set of inverters at 15 years but the panels are still producing (although at a reduced output rate) for the lifetime of the second inverter. There's a reason that companies will step in to make the deals like they do with somerset county where the private vendor puts up ALL the money and then commits to sell the power back at a particular rate much cheaper than the utility currently charges. It's almost a guaranteed return with the subsidies from the feds, nj state, BPU, etc ,etc ,etc

Ken W2KB
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Ken W2KB » Tue Jul 03, 2012 3:17 pm

No, I am sure those business entities did the calcs. But read the advertising literature by solar installers which typically says something like "for $10,000 you will save $1,000 on your bills each year, so you get your money back in only 10 years." They conveniently neglect to mention that $1 in the future is worth a lot less than that $1 today because of inflation and lost opportunity costs. So the payback is really a lot longer than10 years and in some cases, is never paid back when correctly calculated.

I think we may be saying the same thing differently. Yes, the entity that is subsidized does OK, but basically as a public policy, it shifts the costs of renewable sources to others. So millions of ratepayers and taxpayers have larger bills so a few thousand of their peers who sign up for solar get lower bills. Fundamentally unfair. If these renewable sources of electric power were truly economic, there would be no need for a subsidy. One of the major costs is the need for backup generation to cover times when renewable sources are not available, not full sun, not enough (or too much) wind, etc. That very substantial cost is a significant part of the subsidy structure.

For the described Princeton operation, the system would need such a backup source which is costly unless it can shift the cost to others by qualifying for a subsidy program. Note also that unlike the business organizations, there is no tax benefit to tax exempt entities so the payback is longer.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

Rodney Fisk
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Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:30 pm

Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Tue Jul 03, 2012 4:08 pm

The question of solar power for the new Dinky is now moot; let's move on. For the record, Princeton Interurban is not tax-exempt and would qualify for the standard package of benefits and subsidies--and eco-friendly publicity. Also, solar power would not have directly powered the LRVs. They will take propulsion power directly from the grid--converted to 750V DC, of course. Any energy from our solar array would have been inverted and fed directly back to the grid, calculated to net out.

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