• Reviving passenger service between West Trenton & Bound Brook

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

Moderators: lensovet, nick11a, Kaback9

  by MACTRAXX
 
JFJ and A'Witz - The Wall Street and Crusader RDC service was a partnership between Reading and CNJ
that was inherited by Conrail (4/1/1976) - and funded by both SEPTA and NJDOT. I rode the trains in their final
years (1979-1981) on occasion - they were an interesting alternative to the NEC operating via West Trenton and
Jenkintown to Reading Terminal.

The through trains were discontinued around August 1, 1981 - and replaced with a single peak hour
round trip using two former CNJ cars (cab and coach) and a GP7/9 on this schedule:
--West Trenton Local leaves Reading Terminal 6:07 AM; Arrives West Trenton 7:04 AM (connecting train)
#5600 - Leave West Trenton 7:09 AM; Hopewell 7:20 AM; Belle Mead 7:30 AM; Bound Brook 7:41 AM;
Arrive Newark 8:22 AM.
#5601 - Leave Newark 5:45 PM; Bound Brook 6:21 PM; Belle Mead 6:35 PM; Hopewell 6:45 PM;
Arrive West Trenton 7:01 PM.
--West Trenton Local leaves West Trenton 7:10 PM; Arrives Reading Terminal 8:13 PM (connecting train)

Trains #5600 and #5601 ran for about 18 months - they were discontinued in December 1982 just before
the NJT direct takeover from Conrail. These two trains primarily served Belle Mead and Hopewell - which
were the busiest intermediate stations for the Wall Street and Crusader. Ridership dropped with reducing
service from two to one train along with the forced West Trenton transfer to a slower local connecting
train to Philadelphia all contributing factors.

This is a more in-depth discussion about the Bound Brook - West Trenton route:
https://railroad.net/newark-philly-via- ... 22323.html
"Newark-Philly via West Trenton" - 22 pages - 325 posts - October 2008 to November 2013

Today this 23 mile route is CSX single track main freight route between North Jersey and the Philadelphia
area - and the "price" that CSX demands for any NJT passenger service on the route is a new/restored
second track between Bound Brook and Bridgewater to West Trenton. As these discussions show there
has been proposals for NJT to run to West Trenton - the high price tag for restoration has been noted.

Hard to believe that this service has been gone for almost 40 years...MACTRAXX
  by JohnFromJersey
 
MACTRAXX wrote: Wed Apr 20, 2022 3:26 am Today this 23 mile route is CSX single track main freight route between North Jersey and the Philadelphia
area - and the "price" that CSX demands for any NJT passenger service on the route is a new/restored
second track between Bound Brook and Bridgewater to West Trenton. As these discussions show there
has been proposals for NJT to run to West Trenton - the high price tag for restoration has been noted.

Hard to believe that this service has been gone for almost 40 years...MACTRAXX
South/West of South Trenton, SEPTA does exactly that - has their own tracks going next to CSX's, and there's little to no intermingling between the two. NJT could probably do it pretty easily if they wanted to, but then again, rail building in NJ has to be at least double vs. doing it in PA.
  by MACTRAXX
 
JohnFromJersey wrote: Fri Apr 22, 2022 12:21 am
MACTRAXX wrote: Wed Apr 20, 2022 3:26 am Today this 23 mile route is CSX single track main freight route between North Jersey and the Philadelphia
area - and the "price" that CSX demands for any NJT passenger service on the route is a new/restored
second track between Bound Brook and Bridgewater to West Trenton. As these discussions show there
has been proposals for NJT to run to West Trenton - the high price tag for restoration has been noted.

Hard to believe that this service has been gone for almost 40 years...MACTRAXX
South/West of South Trenton, SEPTA does exactly that - has their own tracks going next to CSX's, and there's little to no intermingling between the two. NJT could probably do it pretty easily if they wanted to, but then again, rail building in NJ has to be at least double vs. doing it in PA.
JFJ -
SEPTA and CSX separation is a relatively new concept - until around 2010 (not sure of exact timing of change)
SEPTA and CSX shared both tracks on the northern end of the West Trenton Line. CSX wanted to operate on a
separate track from SEPTA - the catenary height above double-stack trains was one factor - the wire would sag
in the summertime from expansion especially at times of extreme heat. SEPTA and CSX were also separated on
the Fox Chase Line between Cheltenham and Newtown Junction from the CSX (former RDG) NY Short Line.

What makes these separations somewhat ironic is that SEPTA notes in their recent Regional Rail Plan for the
Future is that these single-track segments add to commuter train schedule conflicts...MACTRAXX
  by ExCon90
 
Also, both examples cited by MACTRAXX are short and required no additional track; both were previously double track that became two single bi-directional lines, each dispatched by the railroad using it. In the case of the West Trenton line mentioned by John from Jersey, that portion, while owned by CSX, was dispatched by SEPTA by agreement with CSX, and as I recall the agreement contained a provision that CSX reserved the right to take over the dispatching on 90 days' notice, which made SEPTA understandably uneasy, resulting in the decision to separate the two tracks completely with SEPTA acquiring the north track. BB to WT, on the other hand, would require an additional track for the entire distance, and any kind of reliable passenger service would probably need at least two sidings (or an additional main track) en route, so now we're talking about an expenditure requiring a substantial passenger base to support it.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
As mentioned by Steampowered, the intention of the WT line wasn't exactly for passengers, but as a detour for general passenger rail so Philadelphia-Newark would would be less congested for high-speed rail service.
Last edited by nomis on Sun Apr 24, 2022 11:40 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Removed immediate quote
  by amtrakowitz
 
What “intention” was that? The intention under government-run rail service?

During the peak of the Reading’s Crusader and Wall Street services, the intention was very much to compete with the PRR, for passengers. Certainly even today, this is not in any way meant to be a “detour” for passenger rail traffic between NYP and Philadelphia (not necessarily PHL in particular), certainly not for Amtrak.

And the price that CSX allegedly “demands”? That goes all the way to the FRA and their regulations.
  by MACTRAXX
 
Everyone - Found these two pictures of the CNJ/NJDOT equipment used on the West Trenton train -
https://nycsubway.org/perl/show?159531
https://nycsubway.org/perl/show?159532
Former CNJ cab and coach along with GP7 5908 at West Trenton Station.
Train #5601 would discharge passengers connecting to the Reading Terminal-bound local and then
reverse ends and run deadhead back to Bound Brook and Raritan - where the equipment and crew
were based. Pictures by Lee Winson - September 1981.

This was the regular equipment assignment for virtually all of the 18 months that the WT service ran...
MACTRAXX
  by JohnFromJersey
 
amtrakowitz wrote: Thu Apr 28, 2022 12:32 am What “intention” was that? The intention under government-run rail service?
Yes. Someone mentioned it a page or two earlier before.

Which brings me to my next questions
Doesn't the West Trenton Line terminate at 30th Street Station in Philly like NJT's NEC service does? And does anyone know what the theoretical time from Newark to there would be using the West Trenton Line vs. what the current time is using the NEC?
  by west point
 
I can imagine that the west Trenton line could have:
1. Second or maybe 3 main tracks to Newark station.
2. make a connection at Wayne to / from WT line to NEC.
3. Run Amtrak ALC42E trains over the WT line using present CAT on PHL and Newark ends. That could be for some slower Regionals.
4. Use the WT line if there is any disruption on the present NEC.
5. Add CAT to WT line for both Amtrak and NJ Transit.

These improvements of course are 20 - 30 years in the future.
As well these are the same improvements that can be made on the old B&O PHL - WASH. Believe the ROW is mostly 4 tracks wide with only 1 and some 2 track sections. Biggest problem is working out some mitigation at BAL station area. New B&P tunnel bores might help?
  by JohnFromJersey
 
If Amtrak is serious about having true frequent high-speed rail, they will have to get another route separate from the NEC or make the regionals/locals go on another route
  by scratchyX1
 
west point wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 1:04 am I can imagine that the west Trenton line could have:
1. Second or maybe 3 main tracks to Newark station.
2. make a connection at Wayne to / from WT line to NEC.
3. Run Amtrak ALC42E trains over the WT line using present CAT on PHL and Newark ends. That could be for some slower Regionals.
4. Use the WT line if there is any disruption on the present NEC.
5. Add CAT to WT line for both Amtrak and NJ Transit.

These improvements of course are 20 - 30 years in the future.
As well these are the same improvements that can be made on the old B&O PHL - WASH. Believe the ROW is mostly 4 tracks wide with only 1 and some 2 track sections. Biggest problem is working out some mitigation at BAL station area. New B&P tunnel bores might help?
The Philly branch row is 2 track wide, for the most part, with alot of 1 track segments.
And all bridges are for 2 tracks. The route is less curvy, and higher above sea level than the current one, but would require building new tracks next to current one, with some grade crossing remediation.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 9:01 am The Philly branch row is 2 track wide, for the most part, with alot of 1 track segments.
And all bridges are for 2 tracks. The route is less curvy, and higher above sea level than the current one, but would require building new tracks next to current one, with some grade crossing remediation.
1. As is, CSX uses the existing one track extensively for freight; if you added another track in, I doubt you would be able to use the existing freight rail unless you wanted service to be slower than it would be on the congested NEC
2. Going off of 1, you would need to upgrade the existing track to have it ever be used by the new track
3. You would have to put up catenary along 100 or so miles of track.
4. 100 extra miles of catenary and rail would be a lot more for Amtrak to maintain
  by scratchyX1
 
JohnFromJersey wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 1:45 pm
scratchyX1 wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 9:01 am The Philly branch row is 2 track wide, for the most part, with alot of 1 track segments.
And all bridges are for 2 tracks. The route is less curvy, and higher above sea level than the current one, but would require building new tracks next to current one, with some grade crossing remediation.
1. As is, CSX uses the existing one track extensively for freight; if you added another track in, I doubt you would be able to use the existing freight rail unless you wanted service to be slower than it would be on the congested NEC
2. Going off of 1, you would need to upgrade the existing track to have it ever be used by the new track
3. You would have to put up catenary along 100 or so miles of track.
4. 100 extra miles of catenary and rail would be a lot more for Amtrak to maintain
I wonder if CSX and railpax would consider exchanging routes, since there are only five customers between bayview and aberdeen, and It doesn't look like they are high volume ones that would impact CSX bottom line, in any way.
It would be pricey, putting in flyovers so that the current aberdeen station could remain in use, and would require removing grade crossings (like the one in downtown aberdeen), but operationally better for them.
  by JohnFromJersey
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 3:11 pm I wonder if CSX and railpax would consider exchanging routes, since there are only five customers between bayview and aberdeen, and It doesn't look like they are high volume ones that would impact CSX bottom line, in any way.
It would be pricey, putting in flyovers so that the current aberdeen station could remain in use, and would require removing grade crossings (like the one in downtown aberdeen), but operationally better for them.
It might be less about customers and more about it being a pretty straightforward thoroughfare between two large cities, and CSX not having to deal with commuter rail like they would on routes like the NEC.

Does CSX have any other options for thoroughfares from Philly to Baltimore?

I'd also imagine if they re-routed regionals/locals off of the NEC for high speed rail, a lot of commuters along the line would be negatively impacted; Delaware's service would be impacted quite a lot
  by rcthompson04
 
JohnFromJersey wrote: Tue May 03, 2022 6:07 pm I'd also imagine if they re-routed regionals/locals off of the NEC for high speed rail, a lot of commuters along the line would be negatively impacted; Delaware's service would be impacted quite a lot
Who would benefit from such a rerouting? Other than some people in Montgomery and Bucks County, I don't think the alternative routing would help anyone. If you want to make the route a lot more high speed, you probably need to squeeze it into the I-95 right of way as much as possible, but even then you have issues. Not saying there isn't some benefit of maybe running some trains from 30th Street to NYP via the West Trenton Line, but anything else seems like a waste of resources for little gain.
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