• Phillipsburg Rail Service—Four Years, $90 Million

  • Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.
Discussion related to New Jersey Transit rail and light rail operations.

Moderators: lensovet, nick11a, Kaback9

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  by geoffand
NJTRailfan wrote:geoffand, I'd rather have the baby steps/miny expansion then 2020 to come and go and still have RVL trains go no further then High Bridge. That would be a damn shame. Atleast with my idea by the time 2020 comes atleast you'll have service go further then High Bridge like Asbury/Ludlow. Even that would be a huge improvement. Think of all the other stuff thy could do just by expanding that far like addition of another passing siding or even double tracking. Maybe even electrification along most of the RVL like you do currently with the M&E.
I agree with the idea of baby steps to a point, but to have a new station added to the end of the line every 3-4 years is absurd. Minimum Operating segments can be defined as a baby step on a much larger project. This I would support. However, changing signs at every station along the line every three years, conducting multiple studies on each baby step expansion instead of one comprehensive review…it is a waste of tax money IMO.

The only reason you suggest the baby step approach is because you are disgusted with the progress of service expansion--as you should be. I say fix what is wrong with our states fiscal issues, and then elect the right officials who support mass transit capital improvements. Doing so will make sure these system expansion projects stop lining the projects of "feasibility" consultants and start actually transporting people.

  by Jtgshu
There is no need to change signs...............nor would it cost a whole hell of a lot of money..

Stickers could simply be placed over "High Bridge" and state whichever station would be the last station, and take about a day

  by NJTRailfan
geofand, You're right but to fix it right now would be taking years. Just look at the sorry excuse of politicians we've had within the last 10 yrs on both sides of the aisle. They've spent more money on blue ribbon commisions and pet projects.

With my idea atleast the construction will progress and something will be done by 2020. Remember that by 2010 or 2012 the state of NJ will loose alot of highway funding due to the air pollution/emissions being too high in the state of NJ. The FEDs will do their checks and the state of NJ will loose. Atleast with this they are actually trying and hopefully will pass. If not let's just say if your commute on Rts 10, 80, 46 and 287 are bad now....You've seen nothing yet.

  by Zeke
I have said this many times in this forum and I will say it again. The politicos in Trenton have ZERO, ZERO interest in any heavy rail line expansion project in our state. THE Tunnel is all they want to deal with—and that should have been started in 1996. These newspaper articles are planted to show readers they are talking about what we all want and need in the way of NJT service expansion, but in reality give cover to the corrupt practice of awarding ENDLESS million-dollar study contracts to their politcally connected cronies. I predict no new line expansions for the next 5-10 years! The public be damned and of course…we need another study!

  by pateljones
The feds require studies in order to get money from D.C. — alternative analysis, environmental impact, et cetera…but let's not condemn all these studies. People often ask why the NJ Turnpike was built in eighteen months — in large part because the state said the Turnpike is going here, we're buying your land and you have no recourse! Thank God that this has changed. No more plowing through environmentally-sensitve wetlands, no more forcing homeowners to give up their land without any options being studied, no more harming wildlife that is already on the verge of extinction — some of these studies are needed to protect us.

One last thought: These studies are supported by both Democrats and Republicans. Remember, President Nixon, a Republican, signed the Environmental Protection Act in 1971.

  by NJTRailfan
Too bad the EPA act didn't come through during the Kennedy Years. You're right that we need these studies but this much? You're wasting more trees and our time and not to mention our sanity while the traffic continues to worsen. The environment is suffering more now thanks to the smog and pollution comming off Rt 80, 46, NJ Turnpike, GSP, 95,etc then anything NJT can give in a year. Not to mention you are reactivating on what was once there so theres very little trees that will be destroyed by clearing brush and small trees off an abandoned ROW or a place where a station and a parking lot once existed.

  by Irish Chieftain
Funny how the EPA still is not a significant factor when it comes to new-build road projects. US 222 (in PA) is getting a limited-access multi-lane bypass built for it west of Allentown, past towns like Fogelsville and Trexlertown, but amazingly we cannot get money for rail service towards Allentown (and even potentially westward), which would be far cheaper.
Last edited by Irish Chieftain on Sun Jun 10, 2007 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

  by Jtgshu
Not necessarily - the Route 33 bypass extension (the east part of it) in Howell took forever to get built, and the route had to be changed because of wetlands and some kind of rare frog that was living in the same wetlands. They ended up shifting the road over and building a much longer bridge, IIRC over the bog/swamp where this thing was living.

  by northjerseybuff
over on the NJ forum..there is a blurb about NS investing in the NJ-Louisiana corridor. with this big investment in the works and possible double tracking of the lehigh line, I wonder if the state will work out a deal to include NJT in improvements to the area(pburg) as well. any thoughts?

  by Jtgshu
Write-up today in the Star-Ledger (9/11/07), which is discussing about NJT hiring a consultant (shocking) to look at the RVL expansion to Phillipsburg. It would be nice if they looked at and studied not only the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority's study, but also work with the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority and the cities of Easton and Bethlehem and the other counties in PA that are doing their own studies for rail extension…

Double track to Phillipsburg!!!! (maybe in a few decades)
Mass-transit solutions eyed for Route 78 traffic snarls
Study will consider extending rail line

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Star-Ledger Staff

NJ Transit will consider extending the Raritan Valley rail line to Phillipsburg, building new park-and-ride facilities and taking other steps to reduce traffic congestion in the rapidly expanding Route 78 corridor from Somerset County into Pennsylvania.

The transit agency's board agreed yesterday to pay $1.2 million to a Little Falls consulting firm to study the mass-transit solutions to the chronic congestion on Route 78.

The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, which controls federal highway spending in 13 counties, completed a study this spring of the 60-mile Route 78 corridor. The NJ Transit study will take a closer look at some of the non-highway solutions suggested by that study, NJ Transit officials said.

"The I-78 corridor is getting increasingly stressed," said Peter Palmer, a Somerset County freeholder and a member of the transportation planning authority board. "This is a very important effort."

As the population has shifted west over the years and the volume of freight moving through the region has increased, the traffic on Route 78 has exploded, Palmer said.

Traffic volume on the highway between 1980 and 2005 grew by nearly 5 percent a year in Hunterdon County and by 5.7 percent a year in Somerset, according to the planning authority study. There are traffic jams on the eastbound side of the road nearly every morning in Union and Clinton townships and on the westbound side nearly every afternoon in Bedminster Township, the study found.

Population and employment growth projections suggest that the volume of cars and trucks on the road will continue to grow -- by 22 percent in Somerset County and by 46 percent in Hunterdon by 2030.

"This study will help NJ Transit identify opportunities as we look to offer transportation alternatives to residents and employers alike in a growing section of the state," said Transportation Commissioner Kris Kolluri, who serves as chairman of the NJ Transit board.

The Raritan Valley Line now runs from Newark Penn Station to High Bridge in Hunterdon County. The consultant hired yesterday by NJ Transit will study the ridership potential and estimate the capital and operating costs of expanding the line from High Bridge west to Phillipsburg, a distance of about 20 miles, NJ Transit spokesman Joe Dee said.

The Raritan Valley Line used to run all the way to Phillipsburg, but service west of High Bridge was halted during the 1980s, Dee said.

Even the service to High Bridge is fairly limited today. Of the 29 weekday Raritan Valley Line trains from Newark, only seven go all the way to High Bridge. Most of the others stop at Raritan in Somerset County.

The planning authority study found that there are 4,500 park-and-ride spaces in the Route 78 corridor for commuters who use buses, trains, carpools and van pools.

The study found that although 16 percent of those spaces are vacant most days, many of the park-and-ride facilities are overcrowded. It estimated that without new transit services up to 2,000 new park-and-ride spaces will be needed to meet demand by 2030.

NJ Transit's consultant, Systra Consulting Inc., will have until the end of 2008 to complete its study.

Tom Feeney may be reached at [email protected] or (973) 392-1790.

  by blockline4180
Hahaha, more studies from outside consultants and more taxpayer money wasted on something that will probably have many more obstacles to overcome... I'll be surprised if this EVER gets off the ground!

  by jb9152
blockline4180 wrote:Hahaha, more studies from outside consultants and more taxpayer money wasted on something that will probably have many more obstacles to overcome... I'll be surprised if this EVER gets off the ground!
So, you suggest what - don't do the studies, don't overcome the obstacles? I don't get the mindset that I see here that wants trains everywhere, at every time, in every direction, but scoffs when the project is moved forward, even a little bit, with the beginning of the in-earnest analyses (without which, there will be no federal money forthcoming).

I know, I know - the studies take time to do; the consultants are well paid; THE Tunnel is taking precedence. It's like a broken record. These are all truisms at this point. Studies DO take time to do if a quality product is desired. Consultants ARE well paid because they generally bring a level of expertise to projects that simply doesn't exist within agency ranks; THE Tunnel is the priority now, according to Kolluri, the governor's office, etc.

What actual detailed rail operations and engineering studies have been done of this extension? Enlighten me, because I really don't know. And the NJTPA study doesn't count. That wasn't even close to what will eventually be needed for fedbucks.

  by blockline4180
What actual detailed rail operations and engineering studies have been done of this extension? Enlighten me, because I really don't know. And the NJTPA study doesn't count. That wasn't even close to what will eventually be needed for fedbucks.

Oh, my bad! I'm sorry, your right and I am wrong!! It is nice that there have already been some studies on this route and it will be even nicer that it will take maaaany more ongoing studies from various consultants for the next, ummmm 20 years or so! I guess you don't mind them throwing sooo much money into hiring consultants for these studies! I guess NJT will have to raise the fares again to another 10, 20, 30% over the next 20 years just to pay for studies and NOT actual service expansion....

I now bow to your throne and give you the last word!!

  by SecaucusJunction
You gotta admit, NJT spends tons of money on studies and more studies of projects that have little chance of happening. Then they will raise our fares stating that this is because of enhanced service, new projects, blah blah blah. Meanwhile, weekend service on the M&E and Coast Line is a shell of what it was a few years ago and I'm paying nearly $10 on a ticket from Broadway to NYP!

Not only is THE Tunnel taking priority over this, but many other NJT projects are as well. I gotta laugh when I see NJT's 2020 map on projects they would like to do. You can check off about 3/4 of them as good ideas that will never happen. I wouldnt go buy a house in Phillipsburg and expect to hop a train into the city any time soon.

  by finsuburbia
Planning money generally comes from the capital budget so it does not have any impact on your fares. Even if it did, a $2 million study (spread out over more than a year) is rather insignificant in a $1.6 billion annual operating budget.

Edit: Does anyone know the MAS for the various segments of the RVL?
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