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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Joined: Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:30 pm

Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:54 pm

Regarding our proposed system for the tracks to extend the Dinky up University Place: first, reinforced concrete modular channels are placed and precisely secured in the cuts in the pavement, then specially rolled rail sections are dropped into those channels. There are examples of this system for light rail in Europe that have held gauge for twenty years. In addition, there will be no cross traffic on this Dinky extension.

Regarding the financials: The entire $15 million would come from established federal (taxpayer supported) programs. There are two options: one is non-competitive: Sec. 5307 block grant, formula funding (currently about $60,000 per mile per year and going to NJ Transit as Dinky operator) servicing tax-free capital debt, a concept we devised and is now widely used by public operators; or the competitive (earmarked) Very Small Starts program (for projects under $25 million).

At this time, there is no cost projected for any land acquisition. The university, Borough and Township have each agreed to make available its section of the extended ROW.

The development costs need not be paid back, just as costs to build the HBLR and RL will never be paid back. What moves us up in the competitive ranking (for VSS) is the fact that we will operate without subsidy; so far, no entity has ever even proposed covering operating costs for new LRT with farebox revenue.

Ownership of the Princeton Branch will have to be transferred from the state to the private operator through a mechanism previousy approved by NJDOT whereby, should the transportation operation cease for any reason, ownership would revert to the state. (NJ Transit's labor contracts preclude any mere transfer of operating rights without labor protection; we cannot afford to expend some $95,000 each for an engineer and conductor for two daily shifts and still cover costs.)

EDM5970
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by EDM5970 » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:20 pm

My understanding is that the route will be up University Place to Nassau Street, correct? So in getting onto Nas from U Place, you would have to make a 90 degree curve. Won't car, bus and truck traffic have to cross that curve? Maybe not at a 90 like on a cross street, but in effect at is still a form of cross taffic. So what holds the gauge on that curve?

University Place is narrow, maybe too narrow for two tracks. Are you going to run a single track up the center, and make every motorist dodge the trolley cars? Or, if you want to run two tracks, it may cost Princeton the row of paid parking spaces on one side. Has Princeton agreed to forgo the parking revenue generated by those meters?

For that matter is there a link to any of the newspapers that shows that the Township, Borough or University has given their consent to use that ROW?

And I'm still not sure what form of power you are going to use for the street running. Batteries? Overhead wire, which would create an eyesore?

I think I'll take a run through town and refresh my memory, just to see if there are any other things I should bring up here.

Still skeptical-

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

Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:57 pm

The Dinky extension will go straight up U Pl to Nass St on a segregated ROW with no cross traffic whatsoever, replacing a row of parking spaces, which can be moved to the other side of the street. The agreement to cede the ROW to the new operator can be found at http://www.SaveTheDinky.org.

There was never any consideration given to a second track. Why double both capital and operating costs for a (maybe) 10% increase in ridership?

The LRV will operate beyond the catenary with power stored in supercapacitors, saving the cost and visual intrusion of OHW. Batteries last for 10,000 charge cycles; supercaps for 300,000, with a superior ability to provide the necessary power surge to get the railcar up the hill to N St.

So far, most of your assumptions have been faulty. An old boss once told me when I explained an error with an "I assumed . . ." that "assumption is the cheapest form of research".

mtuandrew
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by mtuandrew » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:19 pm

Rodney Fisk wrote:The Dinky extension will go straight up U Pl to Nass St on a segregated ROW with no cross traffic whatsoever, replacing a row of parking spaces, which can be moved to the other side of the street. The agreement to cede the ROW to the new operator can be found at http://www.SaveTheDinky.org.

There was never any consideration given to a second track. Why double both capital and operating costs for a (maybe) 10% increase in ridership?

The LRV will operate beyond the catenary with power stored in supercapacitors, saving the cost and visual intrusion of OHW. Batteries last for 10,000 charge cycles; supercaps for 300,000, with a superior ability to provide the necessary power surge to get the railcar up the hill to N St.

So far, most of your assumptions have been faulty. An old boss once told me when I explained an error with an "I assumed . . ." that "assumption is the cheapest form of research".
Can you give us more information about the supercapacitor proposal? The energy densities necessary to run an LRV seem out of the capability of most supercapacitors, even if the distance planned is only a few blocks. Will there also be a charging station at Nassau Street and University Place?

I also haven't heard of a vehicle manufacturer working to perfect a supercapacitor-driven LRV, though I'm not an industry insider by any means. Have you spoken with any of them yet (I understand if you can't give specifics) as to the feasibility of this plan?

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

Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:48 pm

I understand that there's an LRV running through historical sections of Paris without OHW powered by supercaps. Most LRV's use batteries beyond the OHW, however. When our particular builder suggested capacitors rather than batteries, together with other competitive features, we agreed. The railcar designer pointed out that it is power density, rather than energy density, that is critical for our particular need. No additional charging facility is needed, especially since it's all downhill back to the catenary.

EDM5970
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by EDM5970 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 5:59 am

There is no room on U Place for two sidewalks, two lanes of traffic, a dedicated trolley ROW (no matter which side of the street), and a lane of parking spaces. I drove down the street a few evenings ago and took a good look.

Lateral forces, from both rail and road vehicles, will be a problem on the Nassau Street curve, if it is installed without any cross connections between the rails.

A letter of support is not a legal document assigning a Right of Way.

Just how long have the supercapacitor cars been running in Paris? How trouble-free is this new technology? Is this really an appropriate place to try it out?

And I didn't make any assumptions, nor did I use that word. (I used the word 'understand', just as in the latest of Mr. Fisk's posts). I only related what I had read online. I am well aware of the sayings related to that word...

Rodney Fisk
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Sat Jul 14, 2012 4:10 pm

You seem to have "assumed" that we must have, or expect to have, everything you list. An LRT ROW up U Pl will require the sacrifice of either a row of parking spaces or a lane of traffic, a trade-off understood by absolutely everyone involved, and as has been fully explained earlier on this thread.

You also seem to have assumed that there is some "Nassau Street curve", when we have pointed out all along that any such curve just plain doesn't enter into our plans. Where do you see this particular curve that causes you such agita over non-existent lateral forces? One more time: the extended ROW will be tangent track exclusively for the Dinky, shared only with an occasional bicycle--no cars, trucks or buses, period. Even if there were curves along the extension, our specified LRV is the only one on the market transmitting power to the flanged wheels through a differential. The others, even those of multi-billion-dollar, multi-national corporations, still have--can you believe?--solid axles that have to "scrub" around a curve, resulting in squeal and flange wear.

Further regarding the ROW, the official MOE defining specifically who would provide what was signed by the secretary of the university and the mayors of both Princeton municipalities. That's enough for me.

Our railcar and spare will have a warranty covering the stored power modules, the supercapacitors. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with advancing the state of art and accepting whatever risk attends that decision; if there is a more appropriate "test track" for this technology than along the Dinky, I can't think of it.

EDM5970
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by EDM5970 » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:13 am

I recall an earlier iteration of this scheme, perhaps one that I wrote to the editor of the Times about, that offered service to Palmer Square and perhaps as far as Washington. Too bad you are stopping AT Nassau and not ON Nassau, as service to the center of town could greatly increase ridership and revenue.

In an earlier post, it was suggested that parking on U Place be moved across the street, yet in the latest post, the elimination of parking has apparently been accepted by the town. The street is ONLY two lanes wide, with a third lane for parking. Just what are the facts here? The story seems to change frequently.

(Slightly OT, but the RiverLINE terminates at an inappropriate place in Trenton, as well. It should extend, as once planned, at least to the State House).

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

Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Rodney Fisk » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:49 am

The concept of extending the Dinky to Palmer Square was originally advanced by Prof. Alain Kornhauser and involved tunneling under the university--at an incremental cost of some $40 million. Extending the line onto Nassau Street would require a nearly impossibly tight curve plus the sacrifice of even more parking spaces. (In-street running would destroy the marketability of the service, increasing trip time to the Junction enough to allow only two round trips an hour, from today's three or our proposed four, possibly five. Frequency and trip time (yielding more meets at PJ) affect ridership far more than fare or even an extra few blocks' walk. Your concept would greatly reduce revenue. In addition, the town would never agree to the traffic impact of a 90-foot long LRV running in the street, many times with only a few passengers.

As previously posted, moving the parking to the west side of U Pl would require the street to become one-way either north or south. It's the town's choice: either a row of parking OR a lane of traffic.

We certainly agree on the desirability of extending the RL to the State House. Many thanks for your probing challenges; they help me refine my thinking and ultimately improve the proposal.

Dcell
Posts: 181
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:14 pm

Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by Dcell » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:40 pm

Mr. Fisk,
This is another good opportunity for you:
http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news ... f887a.html

25Hz
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by 25Hz » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:04 am

How about leave the shuttle as-is and put the light rail through princeton on whatever route meeting the shuttle at its terminus in princeton? How about utilize the old public service high speed line to connect to hamilton and new brunswick? Would be more worthwhile i think.

I understand that light rail is far more popular than expanding heavy rail, and in certain cases more practical. This situation i feel undermines the effort to have NJT expand and/or keep current heavy rail service vs remove or cut back. We all ready see what drastically cutting back can do to a transit system (SEPTA). Best not to give anyone those ideas for NJ.

Increasing shuttle runs i think is a great idea, and can be done immediately for not much additional cost.
Next stop the square, journal square station next!

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 22, 2012 12:52 pm

25Hz wrote:How about leave the shuttle as-is and put the light rail through princeton on whatever route meeting the shuttle at its terminus in princeton? How about utilize the old public service high speed line to connect to hamilton and new brunswick? Would be more worthwhile i think.

I understand that light rail is far more popular than expanding heavy rail, and in certain cases more practical. This situation i feel undermines the effort to have NJT expand and/or keep current heavy rail service vs remove or cut back. We all ready see what drastically cutting back can do to a transit system (SEPTA). Best not to give anyone those ideas for NJ.

Increasing shuttle runs i think is a great idea, and can be done immediately for not much additional cost.
The dinky is much more expensive to operate and even if the lightrail were to be built over a longer distance, it makes economic sense to replace the dinky with lightrail, and avoids the need for yet another transfer by passengers. Utilizing the PSE&G right of way would involve paying for easements, a massive construction cost, displacement of underwire licensees, possible need to increase wire clearances, substantial number of grade crossings, and compete to some extent with NEC trains.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

amtrakowitz
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by amtrakowitz » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:17 am

The dinky is much more expensive to operate
How?

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 » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:36 pm

amtrakowitz wrote:
The dinky is much more expensive to operate
How?
See earlier posts by Mr. Fisk.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

amtrakowitz
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Re: New Dinky to Nassau Street

Post by amtrakowitz » Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:10 am

Ken W2KB wrote:
amtrakowitz wrote:
The dinky is much more expensive to operate
How?
See earlier posts by Mr. Fisk.
Evasive. A DC-powered LRV with all the burdensome signals cheaper to operate (never mind in any way faster) than a single-car (or even married-pair) Arrow III running on AC power in dark territory? The former sounds cheaper.

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