West Trenton Line Article

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West Trenton Line Article

Postby railtrailbiker » Fri Nov 19, 2004 6:49 pm

Courier News (Bridgewater), Nov. 18, 2004

NJ TRANSIT PROPOSES RAIL LINE TO ALLEVIATE RT. 206

by Larry Higgs

Residents and riders will have a chance to comment about NJ Transit's
latest proposal to restore passenger rail service to the now only
freight West Trenton Line, which parallels Route 206 through
Hillsborough and Montgomery. Transit advocates also have suggestions
about how to improve the service so more people will ride it and how
it could remove some traffic from Route 206.

Two public forums are scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 1. One will
be at the Hillsborough Municipal Building, 279 S. Branch Road, and the
other will be at the Department of Transportation headquarters, 1035
Parkway Ave., Ewing.

"It's an opportunity to get community input before finalizing our
decision," said Janet Hines, NJ Transit spokeswoman.

The 21.5-mile West Trenton Line is currently a single-track freight
railroad owned by CSX Corp. People attending the forums will be able
to look at NJ Transit's current plans to restore service, build five
stations -- including one in the Belle Mead section of Hillsborough
and at the Merrill Lynch corporate campus in Hopewell.

The line would connect to the Raritan Valley Line between Finderne and
Bridgewater stations by an overpass that would take passenger trains
over another freight rail line.

The estimated $195 million to return service includes the cost of
restoring the Belle Mead Station and building four new stations and
parking; a passing siding; a train yard in West Trenton; and the
overpass to connect to the Raritan Valley Line.

Initial plans call for NJ Transit to run five rush-hour trains in the
morning to Newark and five in the evening; a peak hour train from
Newark to West Trenton to serve the Merrill Lynch complex in Hopewell;
a return trip from West Trenton in the evening; and a mid-day train,
Hines said.

That service could be improved to get more cars off Route 206, said
representatives of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers
and the Committee for Better Transit.

Their idea calls for using smaller diesel-powered rail cars to provide
shuttle service between West Trenton and Bridgewater and to have
connecting buses at Bridgewater to take people to some office parks
and shopping areas.

"I'm proposing more than an isolated service to a usable service that
would take some drivers off Route 206," said Ralph Braskett, state
coordinator for the Committee for Better Transit.

His idea calls for hourly shuttles and Saturday service between
Bridgewater and West Trenton and using buses to connect passengers at
Bridgewater with shopping areas, the Bridgewater Commons mall and
nearby office parks. "The argument for the West Trenton Line was to
take pressure off Route 206," Braskett said. "To make it work, we need
bus connections at both ends."

Larry Higgs can be reached at (908) 707-3134 or lhiggs@c-n.com.

(From gsenet.org)
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Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Fri Nov 19, 2004 8:43 pm

It is about time that the thought about transit service on the ex-Reading is coming back. It might be a good idea to have daily service. Why? Because more and more people are moving out to the area along the proposed line. Also, it would be better to use locomotives based out of NWK because that would save one transfer, especially if this line is diesel. A typical NWK-W. Trenton train should make the following stops on the Raritan Valley Line; NWK, Westfield, Plainfield, Bound Brook. I am not quite sure about where a good place where the connection from the ex-CNJ to the ex-Reading would be. I know for a fact that both lines leave the RVL area at Bound Brook.
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Postby Nasadowsk » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:47 pm

[quote="njt/mnrrbuff"It is about time that the thought about transit service on the ex-Reading is coming back. It might be a good idea to have daily service.[/quote]I'd say run trains hourly. The investment's the same, the costs only marginally higher. The ridership potential's a LOT higher though.[quote]Also, it would be better to use locomotives based out of NWK because that would save one transfer, especially if this line is diesel.[/size]DMUs give near electric performance, are much cleaner, quieter, more efficient, and more reliable. Being a lot quieter than a locomotive, they're more neighborhood friendly (like it or not, this is a factor of life today), they're as clean as a bus, which is far better than even a "Tier II" locomotive, and they offer near EMU performance, which means high speeds that today's riders want.

The DMU market is starting to develop — a number of systems in the US are looking at them, or already ordering them. It's about time, too, since it's an idea that's been successful in Europe for a few decades now, and can bring significant improvements to diesel-operated rail lines.
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Postby Lackawanna484 » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:08 pm

I've been to a few social events with the rich folks in Bernardsville, Bedminster / Hills, and Clinton recently. I always ask folks where they work etc.

Anyway, much as I'd like to believe that a route 206 train would be a good idea, I don't see that. The folks at the Hills worked in 1) Princeton U, 2) College Park by US 1, 3) Kendall Park / S Brunswick. The Clinton crowd worked in College Park, New Brunswick, and Morristown. each of these is a three seat (car, train, jitney) commute. Short of $10 gas, I don't see that being a preferred choice.

The 206 train will put you five miles west of Princeton town, and eight miles west of the busy Plainsboro US1 corridor, and miles from the big Merrill Lynch center on I-295. Jitney rides all.

Short of zoning to build office centers AT the train stations, I don't see a 206 train line helping local sprawl.
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Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:17 pm

I believe the stops will be far apart on that line. I see, yes, the DMUs could run between W. Trenton and NWK. However, locomotives are better on the NWK division. Thats why, if I could reinvent transit, all the electric lines on the Hob division, I would make it all mus.
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Postby Olton Hall » Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:21 pm

I could never understand restarting the West Trenton line because of the time it will take to get into NY. Granted the Montgomery and Hillsbough areas have grown a lot in the past decade but the all the towns involved are very spread out. As mentioned, the residence commute to the Rt 1 cooridor.

DMU's may have the top speed performance of an EMU and locomotive pulled trains but they excellerate like a slug. I've been on several, including new 125 mph DMU's and they take a long time to get up to speed. As mentioned many times, NJT won't be getting DMU's for the same reasons they aren't getting new EMU's, each unit is considered a locomotive and must be inspected as one.
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Postby Mercer&Somerset » Fri Nov 19, 2004 11:28 pm

Short of zoning to build office centers AT the train stations, I don't see a 206 train line helping local sprawl.
An excellent idea. Unfortunately, Montgomery Township is planning to do just the opposite--switch the zoning near the old Reading Belle Mead station along Route 206 from office space to "transit oriented commercial retail."

(from pacpub.com)
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Postby Ken W2KB » Sat Nov 20, 2004 12:45 pm

Why not do the best of both. CNJesq, regular longer trains during rush hour and DMU for the off peak.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 :: Cessna 177B Cardinal N16019
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: My Personal Site
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Postby Guest » Sat Nov 20, 2004 3:07 pm

The Courier-News article is incorrect. One meeting is Dec 1, the other meeting is Dec 7. For details, see www.njarp.org/hot490.html
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Postby JLo » Sun Nov 21, 2004 10:00 am

WT--like MOM--is not a sprawl stopper. It is going to happen along 206 (already has to a large extent), but at least there will be an alternative to driving 206 or building the missing link of 95.
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Postby EDM5970 » Sun Nov 21, 2004 10:23 am

Twenty-some years ago, I was working just below Somerville, in Hillsborough Township, and had to use 206 to commute from Burlington County. My boss had an interesting comment on 206 traffic, "It's like trying to drain a swimming pool with a garden hose". I'm sure its much gotten worse since then; glad I don't have to deal with it.

Don't ever expect the missing link on I-95 to ever be built. The residents of Hopewell, Princeton, Montgomery and I'm sure a few other townships will fight to the death on that one!
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Postby Tom V » Sun Nov 21, 2004 5:49 pm

WT--like MOM--is not a sprawl stopper. It is going to happen along 206 (already has to a large extent), but at least there will be an alternative to driving 206
West Trenton is an alternative to 206, 22 and 287.

M.O.M is an alternative to Rt 9 and the Garden State Parkway

NYSW is an alternative to Rt 23 and I-80

etc..
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Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:55 pm

Don't forget, the Lackawanna Cuttoff, which would run closely parallel to 80 the entire way.
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Postby F23A4 » Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:43 pm

Tom V wrote:West Trenton is an alternative to 206, 22 and 287.
M.O.M is an alternative to Rt 9 and the Garden State Parkway
NYSW is an alternative to Rt 23 and I-80
etc..
Interesting. I can't see WT as an alternative to 22. If anything, WTL is more an alternative to 202 than route 22 AND a backup (of sorts) to NEC. It seems to me that RVL is an alternative to route 22.
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Postby zakharin » Mon Nov 22, 2004 12:50 pm

I suppose an alternative of West Trenton to Westfied instead of my current Hamilton to Rahway could be useful. What would the time difference be?
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