Mr. Midtown wrote:The only thing I called for was for Phillipsburg residents to drive to an existing train station to catch a train, like hundreds of thousands of other NJT riders do. I do not where you got the "calling for I-95 with no rail service" thing. I made comparisons that pointed out that rail service usually has a negligible effect on traffic levels on parallel highways
That's still an apples/oranges comparison you presented. The NEC, as well as the many highways that run parallel to it (as opposed to a single major highway in the case of the RVL west of Annandale, and it's interesting that you picked that station) serve a huge megalopolis with many other highways branching off and feeding these highways parallel to the railroads. Driving to an existing RVL station means driving through a bottleneck (despite six lanes, you've got bumper-to-bumper travel on that highway stretching back into PA) to stations with limited train services and limited parking spaces. Therefore, to achieve what you have in mind, you would have to build additional highways for people to be able to drive to the extant RVL stations.
And if what happened on Valentine's Day
of this month were to happen in NJ, there would be no way to move at all—a train merely going as far as High Bridge is of limited utility, but rail service active to Phillipsburg (and possibly further westward) would not be so affected by such storms and people would not be stuck in one spot for 24 hours.
Would you rather have seen NJT pay to maintain twice as many tracks than are needed for service?
Please define "needed" in this context. Roads do not expand or contract due to "need" or due to number of vehicles traveled on a particular roadway—if that were the case, then a lot of places would not have interstates running through them. Instead, they are set at a certain default width so that they can accommodate a flexible amount of traffic—and such should be the same with railroads, otherwise startup and cancellation of service becomes a tremendous cost burden (which begs the question as to why the service to/from Phillipsburg was eliminated in the first place—notwithstanding, $90 million total cost would be a bargain, when it includes station and parking facility construction—see next paragraph).
Interstate highways are not cheap—initial construction can vary between $10 million and $50 million per mile or higher
, depending on number of lanes, topography and proximity to cities and towns. We have a lot of four-lane interstates going through sparsely populated areas, which is a tremendous waste of public money when they are built through areas where two-lane highways would suffice. Maintenance on roadways is also more frequently needed than on railroads. This corridor could indeed to with a boost of rail trips, as well as becoming a main line unto itself again (which is a separate matter at present—it has been a branch of the NEC since 1967, the wisdom thereof utterly lacking).
The RVL has lovely rail, a wonderful signal system (better than the Morristown Line, but that's another thread), a number of stations that have been renovated, and NJT is constantly replacing and maintaining the umpteen undergrade bridges and structures along the line
Sounds like an emotional argument. My purpose is to get people from A to B; and having the ROW feature as much capacity as possible for as many trains as possible is the best way to sell same. The maxim "Frequency Sells" is never invalid.
Best of all, the ROW is not getting any narrower. If more tracks are needed in the future, there will be space (generally)
"Generally" seems to spell it out. Note where the platforms in Westfield, Fanwood, Netherwood, Plainfield and Dunellen are located (i.e. in comparison to Cranford); and note that the new Crossways Place bridge is a two-track bridge.
I do not recall advocating the building of more roads. I seem to recall advocating the driving of 17 or so miles from a location without rail service to NY to a location with rail service to NY. Or moving closer to a location that already has service
I said you inferred same, not that you said it outright. For there to be sufficient roadway available to drive nineteen miles from Phillipsburg to Annandale, you will need additional highways, which can cost between $200 million and $1 billion to build depending on configuration. Or you can spend the $90 million and bring the train closer to them, which will mean a lot less wear and tear on those passengers' vehicles…