• Northern Branch HBLR (was DMU proposal)

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

Moderators: lensovet, Kaback9, nick11a

  by Hawaiitiki
http://hudsoncountyview.com/prieto-16b- ... expansion/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-32) says that the $16 billion, eight-year Transportation Trust Fund plan that was announced hours ago includes details to expand the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to North Bergen and southern Bergen County.
Don't know if anybody has posted this yet. This is an elected official (super trustworthy I'm sure) confirming that the new gas tax will indeed fund the HBLR to Englewood Hospital. I think this is amazing news, 10 years later than it should have been but still great news.

All it took was a train careening into Hoboken Terminal...
  by alewifebp
They just updated the web site today with the full SDEIS. A public hearing is scheduled on April 24 in Englewood.

http://northernbranchcorridor.com/docs.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

It's more or less a housekeeping type of release. A couple of changes here and there about station locations and parking lots, etc. However, a few bigger topics were discussed.

First, they were very emphatic that this would not go to Tenafly. The preferred alternative is to go to Englewood Hospital, and not end it at Route 4 as some earlier alternatives had mentioned. In fact, they seemed to go out of the way to mention that they will not go to Tenafly, given the local opposition. They are also going for a full two track operation all the way through Englewood.

New cost estimates are at $1.2 billion.
  by Hawaiitiki
Great news about the full length two-track operation. What strikes me, which I'm sure is nothing new, is really the amount of property acquisition that has to go on at a number of station locations. Particularly in Ridgefield, Pal Park, and Englewood Route 4. I have to imagine that a significant portion of the project costs are coming from land acquisition, and station/parking deck construction. Because $1.2b for (re)building 7 miles of track on a existing ROW is pretty steep.
  by airman00
What is really a shame is why the line beyond Englewood is being ignored. I know about the opposition from Tenafly, but I remember reading in one of the local papers that other northern valley mayors like Closter & Norwood/Northvale, etc, were in favor of the light rail coming to their towns. But as I recall those towns were never considered from the beginning. Anyhow what will become of what's left of the line north of Englewood?
  by SemperFidelis
Rail trail...
  by alewifebp
The cost for land acquisition is pretty cheap in terms of the entire project cost, at $49 million.

The big costs are track and guideway (including bridges I assume, and including new guideway needed in North Bergen) of $193 million, and LRV's at $155 million. Stations are $119 million, and the rest is a lot of other related work needed for the 10 mile project.
  by Douglas John Bowen
SemperFidelis has the right take.

That said, we'll keep trying to get north of Englewood -- once we get to Englewood. It's been a long slog -- a marathon, as we often say -- for us at NJ-ARP.
  by SemperFidelis
Mr. Bowen,

I wish you luck in your efforts. It seems so damned shortsighted to cut the line short of another, well established and prosperous downtown. I guess that's Jersey politics for you.

It is too bad that there is no way in hell it would ever go as far north as it should, to a park and ride not far from the Tappan Zee. With decent scheduling and passing sidings, an express to Hoboken and a transfer to PATH could actually be time competitive.

While you're aboard the forum, has there been any talk anywhere (aside from here) of using the old Greenwood Lake Branch (Lower Boonton Line) east of Montclair as an extension of the City Subway? It seems an obvious move, especially going at least as far as Bloomfield.

Best of luck, sir. Good to see you posting again. I always enjoy your work when you write for Railway Age.
  by lensovet
wow, this project lives on! but where's the money for it going to come from? I thought NJT was broke?
  by alewifebp
I went to the public hearing on Monday. Pretty packed house, and there seemed to be a little more positive interest in the project than there was at the hearing many years ago. There seems to be some concerns about the night time need for separation for freight traffic and the need to run those trains between 1:30 and 5:00 AM. Given the freight traffic on this line, that shouldn't be a big problem or showstopper though. I do wonder if the freight customers remaining will even continue shipping via rail with those hours if they are not 24 hour operations.

While no one said it directly, I did hear some people some elected officials that they were confident that they could get the money. Part of that is the qualification for FTA funding no doubt.
  by Douglas John Bowen
That's the sense we got from the gathering as well; Alewife compiles a good overall take of the meeting, including the part about funding. (Our thanks to him.)

NJ-ARP, per standard, put in its two cents during the hearing, but as support grows for the project we're adjusting our own role accordingly.
  by Hawaiitiki
• The Gas Tax has been passed.
• Money from the Gas Tax has been earmarked for extending the HBLR to Englewood.
• We have a president who supports infrastructure investment.
• We have a governor-elect who supports large increases to NJTransit funding.
• The stock markets are at all-time highs.
• The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) has been released.
• The Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) has been released.
• Tenafly has been written out of the project.
• The mayors of all remaining towns along the route support the project.
• Public Hearings have been had.

I'm not a civil engineer or a politician, so can somebody tell me where this project has been stuck at? It's been radio-silence in nearly all forms of media since the Spring of this year.
  by EuroStar
Two words: federal money. The state wants the Federal Government to pay for some of the cost, but if anything, the Feds have stopped allocating money for big public transportation projects for the past 11 months. Money has been getting allocated for highways, but no new big public transportation project involving rail has gotten any money (recall that even Caltrain electrification almost lost the money allocated by the previous administration). It is the same reason why the Portal Bridge has not proceeded at anything more than snails pace -- the Feds have not pitched any money even though the Port Authority has made its allocation. I expect that the game of chicken will go on until a different administration takes office in Washington in 3 or 7 years. Until then enjoy the show in DC ... there is not much more you can do ...
  by CentralValleyRail
While this maybe true on a local level NJT HBLR the Amtrak project will go thru and making Amtrak great again or disbanding it and making something else great is a priority. Big money is backing AAF-Brightline in Florida and once it successfully opens I expect other big money to follow and Amtrak to collapse (as it should). I don't care how profitable the NEC is the fact that 90% of your railroad is a total loss needs to be recognized and all Amtrak does is hide it in it's NEC/Acela Success. Acela is getting old fast and they are nowhere near the replacements being ready. Acela has a 7 year life span left MAX and you can guarantee it will take them longer than that. Keep the NEC but everything else should be sold to private ventures. I.E. Europe.
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