Anybody know why that siding thru Hillsdale was removed? With the current bi-directional service on the PVL that track would’ve come in handy as a passing siding
The (passing) siding was cut back when the population in the area was on a pretty sharp decline which lasted until early 2000 IIRC. Also, many of these towns must subsidize crossing repairs if they wish to have a reasonable (vehicular) ride quality over them - the minimum FRA/DOT standards for grade crossings are ridiculous low. Double the tracks = double the cost.
especially since the proposed fourth siding in Oradell was never built. Remember once you remove infrastructure it’s really hard to put back. Even the town of Westwood had a passing siding.
Passing sidings in the vicinity of Westwood and Oradell stations were removed decades prior to Hillsdale. And true, it is quite difficult to put infrastructure back into place. In the case of Hillsdale, the gates were repositioned when the siding was removed. The electronic burden of completely reconfiguring 4 crossings is substantial.
It just really boggles my mind that when it comes to railroad infrastructure in particular no forward or future thinking is done.
Again, the population along the line was in decline for roughly 20 years, ridership on the PVL was the lowest in the Hoboken Division, etc. It wasn't until the 2000s that the population was on the rise again, the decades of shifting jobs from NJ to NYC had many folks reconsidering the value of sitting in hours of traffic and paying ever rising tolls at the Hudson River crossings, and the opening of Secaucus transfer that ridership on the line saw a surge that was historically unheard of.
It’s always seems just easier to rip out track instead of try to keep it intact. Why?
Taxes are a big one. But really, we can't keep everything for all time because we may someday need it - we'd be "hoarders" as a society if we did. IMO, we have major issues with bureaucratic processes that impede and drive up cost of infrastructure improvements, and I'm not only speaking about the railroads.