• Buena Vista to Cape May seashore

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey

Moderator: David

  by orig.canal.super
 
Why not lightrail the whole cape may branch? NJT could do what they are doing in the Trenton line with two light rail untis. CMSL should have tested the light rail cars orig. before the Trenton line started. CMSL could than have year around service at a less costs. More people would ride it for passenger service. Than have real trians run as specials here and there. Unionize the employees of CMSL, than have them run the equipment as they do now.

  by Ken W2KB
 
Mixing light rail and heavy rail is prohibited and complicates operations.

As to unionization, only the employees themselves can make that happen. Neither the State nor Management can "unionize" the railroad.

  by rvrrhs
 
What about service running single heavy-rail DMUs (similar to the Princeton "Dinky")?

  by Ken W2KB
 
Definite potential there, but they already have RDCs which are essentially the same.

  by glennk419
 
Ken W2KB wrote:Definite potential there, but they already have RDCs which are essentially the same.
Speaking of which, with M-407 and M-410 the only two RDC's currently in service, does anyone know the mechanical condition of the rest of the fleet? I would assume all need at least some engine and transmission work and I know at least a couple are missing an engine but how many and which ones would be good candidates for rehab?

  by orig.canal.super
 
On the Trenton lightrail line, the light rail runs day and CSX/Conrail run at night. Correct? So on somedays CMSL can run their toys and regular lightrail can run the other?

  by JLo
 
You still end up with the worst of both worlds. The RiverLINE's drawbacks include the fact that the last passenger cars must be off the line by 10 (except Sat. night). I don't know about you, but sometimes I have to work after 10. If I lived in Bordentown or Burlington and used the RiverLINE to get to and from Trenton, I would be hosed. In the mean time, freight service is now squeezed into a 10-hour period. That is pretty tight for a 30 mile freight line with substantial business.

This compromise is okay when you have street running in Camden and the potential for the same service in Trenton. However, for the CMSL, stick to the DMU concept that can run in conjunction with freight. Best of both worlds, and there is no street-running on the line.
  by zardoz
 
I live near that section of the rails and walk them fairly regularly. I see they have cleared the trees and brush from the section in South Dennis. However the marsh has created some errosion. They need more then basic repair. I think they will need fill, a majority of the ties replaced and more. One of our family friends who lives near them heard the rails rattling loosely when the locomotive went by last week. I am concerned that frieght will be completely unsafe.

What forms of supervision and inspection is done to insure safety?

  by zardoz
 
I enjoy trains. I grew up a train fan. I wanted to be an engineer as a kid. But that died off as trains in South Jersey did. I grew up down here in Cape May County. As a little boy, I looked forward to the commuter line running by every day. The trains slowed and eventually stopped. Soon the B.L England line will stop too.

I would love to see trains come back to this area. They are amazing machines. But they unfortunately aren't needed down here.

I don't know the people who set up the line from Court House to Cape May. Historical train rides is a wonderful idea. It keeps our history alive. Opening the tracks from Tuckahoe to Court House seems a obsene expense for the novelty and I think we would be kidding ourselves if we believed that frieght lines would be profitable here. If it opens those lines for history then it was a great ruse. However who is paying for this. Our taxes going to repairing this line is a waste for that purpose. If it was taxes set aside to preserve history, GREAT. If it's to open jobs and railroad work and being paid for by DOP then its a waste. That could be used for many other things.

What is paying for this line repair and how long are they intending to take till this line is open?

Also, does anyone know what environmental protection is done out here? The machine that clears the tracks looked like it popped a hydrolic line and sprayed down an area along the marsh in South Dennis.


As a side note, this was one of the most interesting discussions I have read in a long time. And this is my first visit here. A good friendly heated discussion is good. It's not ugly or offensive. It is however, intelligent and interesting.

Thanks for the read.
  by Douglas John Bowen
 
State funds are being used (or have been) to repair portions of the Cape May Branch to reinstitute freight service between Tuckahoe and Woodbine. The New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers would posit that such a move helps the local economy, keeps the branch open for eventual restoration of passenger service, and preserves/protects New Jersey's rail heritage. (We're pretty sure the West Jersey chapter, NRHS, would argue similarly.)

Given that, we rail advocates see little dilemma or conflict in the various current efforts to advance rail operations in southern New Jersey, and NJ-ARP would certainly dispute the idea that rail service isn't "needed" (just as we disputed such an assertion vis a vis the River Line) -- or that such efforts are a waste, "obscene" or otherwise.

Certainly, many here can, have, and will continue discussing the best ways and means to advance rail on the Cape May Branch, and NJ-ARP is all for that. But we'd note that the state of New Jersey already owns the right-of-way, and it is in the state's best longterm interests (and, by extension, the interests of the state's taxpayers) to utilize its property to best effect.

NJ-ARP won't presume to speak for all railfans, of course. But as rail advocates, our mission is quite clear: Keep the Cape May Branch alive and kicking.
Last edited by Douglas John Bowen on Tue Dec 21, 2004 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Ken W2KB
 
Plus the Woodbine Port Authority's extensive plan for its airport includes passenger service on the railroad (which passes adjacent to the airport), to serve Cape May and other points. See:

http://www.woodbineairport.org/vision.shtml

  by Jtgshu
 
I know that the state kettle of money is tiny, but it doesn't make any sense to me to invest cash in a line for POTENTIAL customers, while the SRNJ in Salem Co. HAS customers and they desperately need cash to upgrade the line to keep the trains on the tracks.....

IMO, the better return on the dollar would be to help out the SRNJ and keep its current customers shipping via rail, and any upgrades would allow for possbile future customers to consider rail. You getting twice the money out of a dollar than just upgrading for "potential"

As a disclaimer, im not too familiar with operations in S. Jersey in general, but these are POV's from a "layman's" perspective, with all political influences aside.....and im SURE there is some somewhere.

  by zardoz
 
And I would love to see trains come back to this area too.

But my earlier point was that the cost far outways the need. I suppose I should have been more clear with this then. I am more concerned with safety. Again, has anyone else seen the state of disrepair those rail lines are in. The is one section where a 2 ft wide hole is right up to the rails. The hole fills from below on high tide. That section is washing out underneath the entire rails. That is more then replacing a piece of wood or a spike. The total expense to clean & repair 1 mile of tracks from the WaWa in Dennisville to Rt. 83 has to be high. I haven't walked the rest going south in some time. Who handles the repairs and makes sure the line is safe? Is the state funding done by the state? Will they insure the work is done properly?

I have little knowledge of this so I am asking those who are more invested in trains. I don't know if the state is sending it's people out for repair work, or are the CMSL crew doing the job?

How do they inspect that?

What process is done to insure safety for the passengers on the train?

How do they insure wetlands & wildlife protection?
  by Douglas John Bowen
 
NJ-ARP can't quibble over current costs on the Cape May Branch outweighing present needs. But we look toward the future, when such costs can be (re)viewed, in retrospect, as an investment. As we are guilty of noting ad nauseam, that's why we fought for, and will defend, the River Line.

To that end, the Cape May Branch (and, by extension, Cape May Seashore Lines) has received some rehabilitation money from NJDOT, usually through its shortline freight railroad funds. As someone on this thread (Jtgshu?) astutely noted earlier, that pot is small in size, and is split each year among the 15 or 16 shortline railroad players in the Garden State (we can't vouch for the exact number at this moment; our apologies).

Actual funds supplied by New Jersey Transit directly have been modest. NJT at times has spent some money on public relations items, such as when CMSL began serving Cape May City proper. (And we wish to stress the amount was modest; NJ-ARP may have spent more.)

Actual construction or rehab work is often done by Cape May Seashore Lines itself, although CMSL also hires private contractors for certain work, such as the Woodbine Bridge.
Last edited by Douglas John Bowen on Thu Dec 23, 2004 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by JJMDiMunno
 
zardoz wrote:Again, has anyone else seen the state of disrepair those rail lines are in. The is one section where a 2 ft wide hole is right up to the rails. The hole fills from below on high tide. That section is washing out underneath the entire rails. That is more then replacing a piece of wood or a spike. The total expense to clean & repair 1 mile of tracks from the WaWa in Dennisville to Rt. 83 has to be high. I haven't walked the rest going south in some time. Who handles the repairs and makes sure the line is safe? Is the state funding done by the state? Will they insure the work is done properly?
Yes, I have seen it. I have walked a majority of that line, at some time or another in my life and the time that I've spent down there...and I've seen what you're talking about. As you have already mentioned, significant track repairs are necessary to the railroad between Woodbine and Cape May Courthouse before any revenue service can begin over that segment. By significant work, I mean that around every 3rd tie will need to be replaced (in some areas, every tie will have to be replaced), and in many areas, corroded rail will have to be replaced for new (or used, but in good shape) stick rail. This is about 10 miles of track that are in need of repair.

This track is currently listed as "excepted track", under FRA certification rules. In all reality, it is not certified at all (that's pretty much the meaning of excepted track). What that means is that no revenue passenger movements at all may take place over this segment, and freight moves must take place at 10MPH or less. In reality, this rail is not even well suited for those equipment moves anymore...CMSL employees are becoming nervous about making moves over certain segments of rail around Dennisville, where the equipment sometimes tilts at unsafe angles when passing...
What process is done to insure safety for the passengers on the train?
Currently, the track between Cape May City and Cape May Courthouse is certified to FRA class II (which means 30MPH for passenger trains, 25MPH for freight). Also, the segment between Woodbine and Tuckahoe is certified for the same thing. This certification procedure is completed only after a physical inspection is done by employees of the Federal Railroad Administration, to insure that the railroad is safe. Re-inspection must take place at certain regular intervals (I'll admit, I'm not sure on those exact intervals), to insure safety for the passengers and crew of the railroad.

As for the segment between Cape May Courthouse and Woodbine, once again, I state that is is listed only as excepted track. The rule with that is that pretty much anything can be listed as such, but you can't do a whole lot with it...also, remember that the employees of the CMSL are not stupid...they do realize what they're dealing with down there.

And speaking of SRNJ, just to get the record straight here so there is no confusion: They did get some money for work down there...including the bridge over Hospitality Creek on the Southern Industrial on the Winslow Division. That has been completely rebuilt by outside contractor W.M. Brode. They are working on track repairs down there...it'll happen eventually. The Salem Division is also scheduled to have some significant track repairs made soon, though I don't have an exact date on when that work is expected to be complete (maybe some SRNJ people will be able to chime in here with some more accurate details on that).

And one more thing concerning customer base: CMSL has the customers...they're all ready to sign up, just waiting for the track to be installed. There are 2 customers down there now that are patiently waiting...both will jump for the new service once the construction is complete. Trust me: This will be significant freight service, we're not talking about a 1 or 2 cars a week deal here...

Take care everyone.

Mike DiMunno
www.SJRail.com: All about South Jersey Railroads!