• NYT piece: New Jersey Transit, a Cautionary Tale of Neglect

  • 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
Great article. A touch of spin on it, but I think its totally appropriate for today's the state of NJT. Rising ridership, rising fares, reduced funding, no leadership, receding state support, and a governor trying to make splash (axing ARC haphazardly) to prove he's Mr. Budget Cutter ALL leading up to a disaster that was Hoboken Terminal 2 weeks ago. A figurative and ACTUAL out of control train.

On the other hand, NJT has had a few small victories in the past 15 years, notably the relative success of the dual modes, the multilevels, and weekend PVL service. I know implementations weren't perfect but they are upgrades.
  by Ken W2KB
Governor Christie's termination of the ARC tunnel project arguably is the best thing that he has done with respect to rail passenger service, even if that was not his intent. Building two new tunnels to a new 6 track stub end terminal in New York rather than two new tunnels to New York Penn Station was an ill-conceived solution and would have perpetuated the massive delays whenever a tunnel is out of service for maintenance, a disabled train, etc. since there would have been no access to NY Penn Station from the new ARC tunnels and none from the old tunnels to the new ARC station. The present Amtrak Gateway project which adds two new tunnels to an expanded Penn Station is vastly superior - if one track is out of service, there remains two in the busier direction and one in the other so no single track operation will be required avoiding the delays that now occur. ARC would have required single track operation to either station if a track was out of service.
  by trainbrain
I agree, Gateway is a much better project than ARC was. Do it right, or don't do it at all. Amtrak needs to fasttrack that project (pun intended) and get it done ASAP.
  by Backshophoss
While ARC was killed off by Gov. Christie,his pulling funds away from NJT over time, has NOW come back to haunt him.
While the gas(fuel) tax has been raised,it feeds the "General Fund" not NJT or NJDOT directly,so he can still redirect $$$ away.
Hopefully Christie will FADE away when he leaves office in the near future.
  by JCGUY
Seemed like a lame hit piece to me. The premise of the article is that NJT is underfunded, but the actual NJT budget is not stated anywhere in the article. Is it up, down, stable? If this was a high school essay, it would get a poor grade for that reason alone. The article talks about certain reductions in funding sources, with mentions of offsets from other sources, and as a reader I have no idea if the net result is better or worse funding. For example, the article states that ridership is up (which would prove the opposite point of the artcile anyway) and fares are up, so that would imply there's at least one increasing revenue source.

To me, the biggest problem with NJT is that a huge capacity increase is needed for Newark to Manhattan as well as for the bus terminal and feeders. NJ can't afford those improvements absent massive federal help or a complete reorientation of the state budget away from social spending and toward infrastructure.
  by Backshophoss
Buried toward the end of the article,NJT finally promoted a new Exec Director from within NJT,lets see how long before he
bails out due to Gov Christie,the FRA and NTSB investagations.
  by TDowling
I don't know the extent of the volume in the Hudson River crossings during rush hour as I am not a New Jersey resident, but I imagine it is extremely high. NJ Transit trains should be an alternative for people wanting to bypass tunnel traffic. They simply have not risen to the occasion. The article repeatedly touts MNR and LIRR for being better overall, not realizing that those agencies don't have the geographical constraints of the Hudson River as well as the problem of linking by rail two different states.
  by Backshophoss
Believe back in the Gateway thread,Amtrak with the Port Authorty are the leads on the tunnel project,keeping both states(NY+NJ)
in the loop,by now the Amtrak "tunnel box" is heading toward completion.
The failure of the event recorder on that ill fated train's loco will be brought up by FRA and NTSB investgations,caused by the cost cutting
that NJT was forced to do after funds were diverted away by Gov Christie.
All this while bringing on new equipment and services(ALDP 45's and MLII fleet)and recovering from Sandy's storm damage,
has streached the remaining funding way too thin.
At one time in the recent past,NJT along with MN and LIRR were looked to as the leading commuter transit operations,
all have had their own problems,MN and LIRR are recovering and getting better,NJT is still "falling down" ,not yet hitting the bottom
for now.

The former PRR,now Amtrak's tunnels are "OVERLOADED",as is NY Penn station,hopefully the ARC tunnel headings can be reused
for the Gateway project, the other major nightmare is Portal Bridge.
Both had some damage from Sandy,but due to the heavy traffic levels,only spot repairs can be done,
sooner or later,1 of the tunnels that needs major repairs will force a shut down.
  by Tom V
The article is quite depressing, a lot of damage through neglect and incompetence (improper storage of equipment during Sandy). I'm hoping the next administrations will have different priorities than the current.

Also there's a ballot question to dedicate all gas tax revenues to transportation only projects, so everyone vote!

http://www.newjerseyhills.com/echoes-se ... 5c805.html
Ken W2KB wrote: Building two new tunnels to a new 6 track stub end terminal in New York rather than two new tunnels to New York Penn Station was an ill-conceived solution and would have perpetuated the massive delays whenever a tunnel is out of service for maintenance, a disabled train, etc. since there would have been no access to NY Penn Station from the new ARC tunnels and none from the old tunnels to the new ARC station.
This is not a strong argument, ARC was designed to handle Hoboken Division train lines. The existing Penn tunnels would then be exclusively for Newark division, and expanded RVL and possibly new service like MOM. If there was a disabled train in the ARC tunnel those trains would just switch to Hoboken.

There's no real benefit of having all the tracks go to one terminal for NJ commuters, that something that would benefit Amtrak. If you were in Manhattan and you ride the BCL, ML, Montclair, M&E etc. you go to the ARC terminal for your trains. If you ride the NEC, NJCL, RVL you go to Penn. The ARC terminal was designed to have connections to the same subway lines as PENN.
  by Gilbert B Norman
While it is difficult to keep this discussion away from politics, please allow me to note one advertisement Chris' Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono. (Remember her, anyone?) ran during the 2013 campaign. The slogan went "I'm only running for one office; and that is to be your Governor".

Along with surely many another NJ agency, it appears that NJT has become a victim of benign neglect. Adding fuel to the fire is the loss of patron saint's on The Hill. the last being Sen. Lautenberg.
  by ExCon90
That's the problem. All ARC would have done would have been to effectively move Hoboken across the river (with less than half as many tracks and tightly constricted access), leaving Amtrak and NJT Newark Division in the same situation they're in now: two centenarian tunnels getting older by the day, and impossible to rehabilitate without major disruption to service.
(Also, I don't know about "just switch to Hoboken." Switch all Newark Division trains to 6 stub tracks already handling the scheduled Hoboken service, and via a longish double-track approach?--and given recent developments, approaching the platforms at 5 mph wouldn't help.)
  by Tom V
You have to remove Amtrak from the scope of the project, ARC was a project to increase capacity between NJ and NYC for commuters. Not for Amtrak, who contributed zero to the project. Nor did Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland etc.. contribute anything to ARC yet they would get more Amtrak trains to NYC. As railfans we kind of lump Amtrak and NJ Transit's needs into one basket, they are separate. ARC was to address the needs of the half million people who commute each day into NYC from New Jersey. ARC addressed that perfectly, there's no need for NJ Transit commuters to have a consolidated terminal in Manhattan. As I mentioned you would use whatever terminal is served by your line (34th Street Mainline, Bergern, M&E etc.. and Penn for NEC, NJCL, RVL etc..). The issue of repairing the tunnels would not be an issue, before you divert the Hoboken division to the new ARC tunnel you switch existing NJ Transit trains to the new terminal. Then close one of the existing Penn tunnels for total renovation, once that tube is complete open it and close the other. Amtrak would work perfectly fine with just one tunnel to Manhattan during the repairs.

The capacity at Hoboken Terminal that would be freed up could be used to handle future expansion, such as the Lackawanna cut-off, NYSW, West Shore line and or some additional trains over the Waterfront connection from the NEC, NJCL or RVL.
  by ExCon90
I still think it would be asking a lot to handle the whole Newark Division provisionally on 6 stub tracks, with no outlet at the east end and no maintenance or storage facility closer than MMC, which would be accessible only through the same tunnels being used by scheduled trains.
  by STrRedWolf
Agreed. If I read correctly, the current Hudson tunnels can do 20 trains/hour. Take one out, and you're down to six and you got heavy delays. That means no NJT service and both SEPTA and MARC passengers would be complaining because of how bad things have backwashed down the line.

From what I could gather (since the latest EIS on the ARC project is gone) is that the ARC tunnel would have been basically next to the existing one, and go to a station right next door to Penn Station. There was some exploration into another tunnel from Hoboken to the Meatpacking district of NYC, with possible expansion into Fulton street and connection to the LIRR at Atlantic Avenue. Overall, it's a great big maybe.