• Montclair -JC rail line becomes bike trail

  • 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 Maverickstation1
 
That would be one beyond complicated rail trail to put together.

You have (2) ancient movable bridges, WR & DB that were in barely usable condition when NJ Transit still used
the line.

I can only imagine the push back from Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville and Kearny.

Given the investment needed on the line, I could see a Light Rail service being justified, not a rail trail.

Ken
  by Ken W2KB
 
Maverickstation1 wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:31 am That would be one beyond complicated rail trail to put together.

You have (2) ancient movable bridges, WR & DB that were in barely usable condition when NJ Transit still used
the line.
The bridge over the Passaic River has been in the fixed closed position for years as it has adequate vertical clearance for all marine traffic using the river in that location. It would simply have decking and railings installed for the trail. The Hackensack River bridge is not to be part of the trail. The trail is planned to be diverted south at the western end of the Hackensack River bridge, proceed south along the western riverbank to Route 7, and thence east over the new road bridge under construction to enter Jersey City. If, as is also proposed, the Bergen Arches former railroad right of way is converted to a trail it would connect with that trail continuing to the Hudson River.
  by Paul1705
 
Dcell wrote:https://jerseydigs.com/land-sale-could- ... montclair/
Maverickstation1 wrote: Mon Sep 07, 2020 7:31 am That would be one beyond complicated rail trail to put together.

You have (2) ancient movable bridges, WR & DB that were in barely usable condition when NJ Transit still used
the line.

I can only imagine the push back from Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Belleville and Kearny.

Given the investment needed on the line, I could see a Light Rail service being justified, not a rail trail.

Ken
Probably the only part that could justify light rail would be an extension of the Newark Light Rail to Montclair - maybe. Given the state of light rail in New Jersey, that seems a long way off. The HBLR extension to Tenafly - how long has that been on the table? For the main part of HBLR, which has been open for nearly two decades, there are twenty-minute midday headways on the branches (wasn't it originally fifteen minutes?). That's pretty mediocre for an urban rail service.

There already is rail service from Montclair to Hoboken via Newark Broad Street. That seems adequate for the moment.

As for a trail: I could see that working for Montclair to the Passaic River. If the bridge situation is resolved, then there could be an extension to about Schuyler Avenue. But all the way to Jersey City? Sure, there are always a few people who will walk and especially bike almost any distance. I'm not sure there would be enough of them to justify a trail that long.
  by Rustygunz60
 
Living in Ocean County, I'm not familiar with this route, but was somewhat skeptical when our county purchased the old former CNJ spur that ended in Barnegat, having the opinion the trail wouldn't get enough use to justify my tax money being spent acquiring it. I was proven very wrong. No sooner than the purchase was announced, and before development of the trail had begun, it started to get significant use, which was easily visible as you drove on Rt 9. That use has only increased since improvements occurred. And this is in a rural area with plenty of other hiking and biking options. In more urban and suburban areas the demand for this type of recreation tends to be even greater.

While I'm a railfan, I also actively participate in various forms of outdoor recreation, and try not to let one activity cloud my judgement of the other. We sometimes forget that our priorities as railfans, which includes the desire to see active railroading in as many locations as possible, is not the same priority as other citizens, or even that of the railroads or their customers. That's not an original or earth-shattering sentiment, but something worth remembering now and then.
  by umtrr-author
 
Mosquitos not included. (Ducking.*) The route is over the Jersey Meadows so I'm not sure it "will increase property values 5 to 15%" in that area. That having been said, this would be a welcome addition to trails where they could be useful.

*As a Jersey native, and a Jersey City native, I get an unlimited supply of "Jersey Jokes."
  by Maverickstation1
 
Interesting stories about this proposed Bike Trail.

First the pictures keep showing the long OOS, DB Swing Bridge that has a very low vertical clearance. As mentioned in an earlier post, the trail is not supposed to use that bridge. In face t it the trail was to use DB that would make a very expensive trail to develop and operate. DB would have to be either rehabbed, or replaced, and would still have to open for marine traffic, a very expensive proposition to say the least.

Even if DB was not part of the trail you have several other issues facing this potential trail, the first being WR bridge. WR has a high vertical clearance that has allowed it to stay in the closed position, but that bridge is in horrible shape and has been even when it was last used by NJT (NJT was able to operate it's trains on an exception basis with a 10 mph speed limit). Rehabbing WR would be a major, expensive project, far more than just placing new decking for walkers and bikers. WR has also become a favorite for "urban explorer" photographers, and the more recent pictures sent in (2019) show the further deterioration of the ties, the structure itself, and an interesting note is that the CWR has been cut in the areas where the swing portion of the bridge aligns. I wonder if this was done to see if the bridge could be moved into the open position which leads to the next issue....

In the pictures documented in 2019, it was well noted that if you elect to traverse this bridge, have ID ready, as you will be greeted by the Kearny Police. Residents of Kearny will call the police upon viewing anyone walking on the bridge. A fence was erected on the Newark side, but lets get real that is not keeping anyone from the bridge. Sometimes when people here North Newark, they think of one of Newark's finest neighborhoods, Forest Hill. Forest Hill is but a small section of North Newark, and is no where near this trail. The section of North Newark that the line runs through has been challenged for a long time now, (and still is). NJT discontinued the North Newark stop some 10 or so years before the lower Boonton was dropped as ridership tumbled over safety concerns at that station. So the cost issue comes up again as security would be a huge issue along this section of the trail.

Needless to say there are a number of issues facing this trail, and none of them have been addressed yet.

Ken
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I would probably be weary about walking on the abandoned tracks as right now, it's still considered NS property. You may have a visit from NS police as well as other local police departments. In North Newark where the right of way passes, it's not the best area but at the same time not the worst. That is actually the northernmost part of Forest Hills. I don't think NJT ever had a North Newark Stop on the Lower Boonton Line. I was born in 1984 and rode the line a lot until 2002.
  by Ken W2KB
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 9:18 am I would probably be weary about walking on the abandoned tracks as right now, it's still considered NS property. You may have a visit from NS police as well as other local police departments. In North Newark where the right of way passes, it's not the best area but at the same time not the worst. That is actually the northernmost part of Forest Hills. I don't think NJT ever had a North Newark Stop on the Lower Boonton Line. I was born in 1984 and rode the line a lot until 2002.

Unless the property is marked with no trespassing signs or fenced in, the most municipal NJ police could do is ask one to leave, and perhaps not even that, since the police are not the owners or lessees of the property. NS police for NS property can put the person on notice. If no signs, not fenced in or asked to leave, it becomes an offense only if the person refuses to leave if asked by owner or lessee. In pertinent part, the NJ statute: "b.Defiant trespasser. A person commits a petty disorderly persons offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given by:
(1)Actual communication to the actor; or
(2)Posting in a manner prescribed by law or reasonably likely to come to the attention of intruders; or
(3)Fencing or other enclosure manifestly designed to exclude intruders."
  by Ken W2KB
 
Maverickstation1 wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:46 am if you elect to traverse this bridge, have ID ready, as you will be greeted by the Kearny Police.
NJ law does not require pedestrians, bicycle riders, etc. to have an ID, only motor vehicle drivers, i.e., the drivers license.
  by Maverickstation1
 
Here is the walking tour that was posted a few years back on the lower Boonton Line.
Not only have the bridges (big and small) deteriorated, so has the entire ROW, in North Newark, just to west of the North Newark Station site, a trucking company has taken over the ROW.

To answer the question about the North Newark Station, it was located just west of Broadway. The station was at one time a highly patronized one first for the Greenwood Lake Branch, and then later for the reworked Boonton Line. In addition to boardings at that station it also drew strong ridership detraining at the station who would then take one of the Broadway local busses to reach downtown Newark. Ridership nose dived in the 1970's, and the station by then a blacktop one (the station building itself burned in the mid 1970's), was discontinued in 1986.

http://luckycigarette.com/walking_the_old_boonton_line/

Ken
  by Maverickstation1
 
Here is a picture of the old stair case on Broadway that lead to the North Newark Station. Not only has the trucking company taken over the ROW in this area, they also use the station site as well. I can only assume that this use of the ROW is done on agreement with Norfolk Southern.
Image
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