• CMSL Cape May New Jersey Seashore Lines Passenger Operations

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

Moderator: David

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  by Bracdude181
 
Was doing some research and I found this news article about the potential of a Richland to Cape May revenue passenger train.

https://www.capemaycountyherald.com/new ... 6d676.html

It's an interesting article, but the fact that it would take 90 minutes for a one way trip from Richland to Cape May baffles me. Why not upgrade the tracks for 30-35 MPH?

Anyways, what do y'all think? Can this be done?
  by liftedjeep
 
Bracdude181 wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:27 am Was doing some research and I found this news article about the potential of a Richland to Cape May revenue passenger train.

https://www.capemaycountyherald.com/new ... 6d676.html

It's an interesting article, but the fact that it would take 90 minutes for a one way trip from Richland to Cape May baffles me. Why not upgrade the tracks for 30-35 MPH?

Anyways, what do y'all think? Can this be done?
Note that the original publication date of the article is from 2007. 13 years ago. The line to Cape May has not "gotten better with age" since that article was written.

The last passenger train to Cape May City was in October of 1981. Freight ended two years later. CMSL had some high hopes of restoring passenger service to Cape May in the late 1990s, with intentions of interchanging at Winslow, but after continuing setbacks, nothing ever substantially materialized.

At one time, it may not have been too far out of reach to see passenger service to Cape May restored. Even if it was only during the busy summer months. But the same reason why passenger service began to dwindle in the 1950s & 60s, holds true in the 2000s. People would much rather drive to shore. Any type of current service to any of the shore resorts would (sadly) be a novelty. (I don't have the latest facts and figures of NJ Transit's Atlantic City Line, but I dont believe the line to be a huge money maker for the railroad. However this particular forum is not the place to discuss the ACL).

Again, the article was written in a time when track conditions to Cape May were nowhere near as bad as they are now. I was at Wildwood Junction in 2019, prior to the former station being demolished, and walked the tracks for a bit. (That was in a portion where walking the tracks was possible, as they weren't completely overgrown as other sections). Loose rail, rotten ties, missing hardware - and that in just the 200 or so yards that I walked. I'm not an expert, but you'd be lucky to get a train into the city at 5-10mph, let alone 30-35! Not to mention the fact that residents along the RoW will almost certainly not take too kindly to having trains, let alone 30-35mph trains, passing behind their houses!

As stated in another forum, the track vandalism that occurred in 2012, five years AFTER that article was pened, was what I believe to have been the "death nail" for the Cape May Branch. Other than an occasional speeder to the canal out of Cape May, the line has not seen a single wheel in over eight years.

I know the branch has been "restored" in the past. There's been a glimpse of hope here and there. But look at the broad picture, there hasn't been an actual revenue passenger train to Cape May in almost 40 years. Other than a couple of railfans (me being included), and an occasional write-up of a proposal, no one seems to mind that fact. People are content with sitting in traffic every summer weekend! Nuff said.....

Ben
  by Bracdude181
 
@WashingtonPark It's certainly a start. The Cape May Branch and Seashore Lines in general have been on my mind a lot lately. Nice to see some of the line being used for something other than car storage.

I'm wondering if they can do that on the Southern from Lakehurst to Whiting to put the tracks to use while we wait for the sand trains to start...
  by liftedjeep
 
WashingtonPark wrote: Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:57 pm Check this out. Passenger service returns to Cape May. Now if we could only get them to reopen the branch to Sunset Beach. I guess relaying the track to the Lobster House is out of the question, although the ROW is clear to Route 109. :-D https://www.revrail.com/copy-of-south-river-run
I wouldn't go so far as to say that "passenger service" has returned to Cape May.

While it is most definitely good to see the rails being utilized in one form or another, it's a far cry from having actual trains running into Cape May. While I am not familiar with the company offering the rides, I do know that over the past three or four years, Volunteer Railroaders Association has offered speeder rides from the visitors center in Cape May, out through the marshes, and to the canal and back. I've seen video posted, taken while on a speeder trip, and the RoW out of Cape May is in pretty rough shape. There is at least one spot where the road bed has been severely washed out.

As stated in an earlier post, I'm not 100% certain as to what the condition of the swing bridge over the canal is in, although its been in the open position for some time. There needs to be some major repairs done to the entire line, let alone the portion into Cape May before we ever see actual passenger service return.

Here is the speeder video I was referring to. It was shot just over three years ago. Note the wash-out at the 1:53 mark:

https://youtu.be/7CxIYy9egd4



Ben
  by WashingtonPark
 
Nice video. We'll never see service to Sunset Beach or the Lobster House. While Cape May service isn't impossible it's highly unlikely we'll ever see that. With the economic distress we're going to have for years to come I can't see somebody putting up millions to fix the bridge and track and fight the law suits that the nimbys and environmentalists will file to return to running a line that barely makes operating expenses if you get enough volunteers to run it.
  by Ken W2KB
 
WashingtonPark wrote: Sun Nov 29, 2020 2:49 pm Nice video. We'll never see service to Sunset Beach or the Lobster House. While Cape May service isn't impossible it's highly unlikely we'll ever see that. With the economic distress we're going to have for years to come I can't see somebody putting up millions to fix the bridge and track and fight the law suits that the nimbys and environmentalists will file to return to running a line that barely makes operating expenses if you get enough volunteers to run it.
Another issue is illegal under NJ minimum wage and federal tax laws for a for-profit entity to utilize volunteer labor. A new independent not for profit corporation would have to be formed if volunteers were to operate the new service.
  by Bracdude181
 
Just regarding the Cape May Canal Bridge, it turns out that it was damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy. I'm not sure about the structural or mechanical condition, but chances are the electrical systems are badly damaged.

I personally think we can see Seashore Lines run trains to and from Cape May, but repairing the line to do so will be an expensive endeavor.

It would probably be a good idea to repair the line in sections and find freight customers first before getting started on excursions. The freight trains will at the very least mean Seashore Lines will have some more money coming in aside from excursions and car storage. Getting their freight outfit in Lakehurst going is also gonna help.

There are potential freight customers on the Cape May Branch, albeit not very much.
  by glennk419
 
Is the damage to the bridge confirmed? If you recall, the path that the storm tracked actually blew water away from the Cape and there was very little to no flooding south of Atlantic City.
  by Bracdude181
 
@glennk419 I found that out through a Seashore Lines crew member during one of my recent visits to Richland. If the storm actually did behave like that then it means the bridge may not be damaged as badly.

It also explains why Wildwood fared as well as it did in the storm lol.

Plus after thinking about it a little more, maybe they could also run some excursions on the Southern Division from Lakehurst to Woodmansie and back?
  by glennk419
 
Looks like a neat operation and at least some revenue for Tony on the southern end of the line.
  by WashingtonPark
 
Tanker1497 wrote: Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:05 am https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/lo ... y/2630748/

I believe its sold out through end of 2021. Saw it posted on another FB page several friends called for dates!
Why would you think this? The website shows every date in 2021 available. https://fareharbor.com/embeds/book/revr ... low=289836
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