• The Pascack Valley Line Thread

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

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  by TDowling
 
maps.live.com has great bird's eye views:

Hillsdale Manor
  by ryanov
 
I have to wonder if everyone who has been complaining about mass transit in NJ really takes much of it. Granted, right now I live in Newark and am in a decent spot for this kind of stuff... but in the past, I've lived in Rutherford and New Brunswick, and a less central part of Newark. Yes, sometimes you have to wait 10-15 mins between buses. I personally use the time to read or do something else that I could not do while driving (stop for breakfast, whatever). There have only been a handful of times that I can think of where it was extremely inconvenient for me to get someplace on mass transit.

I pretty often travel from my apartment to my office in Piscataway, or to my office in Somerset. If it's raining and I take the subway, it is a 3 seat ride (subway, train, then bus). I suppose the initial transfer is what I make it, since the subway runs very often (and so do my feet), but sometimes at the other end it can be a little while. It takes maybe an hour and 15 mins whereas driving might take 50 mins. Yeah, it's longer. I suppose if I did it every day, that might be a problem, but it it was, I'd move. I suppose it depends what you value. A commute on mass transit is often relatively stress free. It is also cheaper. Frankly, I think doing anything else should cost 3 times as much with the money given back to mass transit. I wonder how many 20 minute connections we'd have if that were the case.

Incidentally, it is pretty screwed up that the timing on the weekend trains at Secaucus are generally better than on the weekdays. I guess that's what happens on those lines though when you try to run trains more often than hourly.

To bring this back to the PVL (I really didn't even realize the title of the thread until I was finished writing -- how did it get to this point?), I rode it a weekend or so ago. It was difficult to tell which train was the PVL and which one was the BCL because the ridership looked roughly the same. It seemed to me the train I got on was ultimately more crowded than many on the Bergen Line. Seemed like 3 relatively full cars. The connection from Newark was a little tight though. Trains coming up the corridor on weekends are always late, and this is a problem in Secaucus for intra-state travel.
  by oknazevad
 
Pete wrote:
Hillsdale Manor station:

http://digilib.syr.edu/cdm4/item_viewer ... OX=1&REC=2
Ooo, good picture, really gives the sense of the age of the building, while looking like it could still be there.

Was this station built by the people who developed the neighborhood as shown in the map, or did it serve some other purpose?

I believe that's exactly it. The manor area, according to my readings, was something of a resort (!?!) This station was definitely to serve them.
Occasionally people who have lived in Hillsdale a long time will refer to "the Manor section" of town. It's an old name that, if I had to guess, probably last had any real life when the most recent major wave of residential development happened in that area in the post-war years. With the kind of population turnover expensive bedroom communities like Hillsdale have (a lot of retirees tend to move to cheaper places after taking advantage of schools, commuting, etc.), local lore like this name can fade easily. Do people still say "Royal hills"? This was another subdivision name -- the last large one in the town, I believe -- on the western edge of the town, that ingrained itself as an unofficial place name.
Everything you say is true. I grew up in Hillsdale, and my parents still live there. And while I'm not all that old, I'm also not a kid anymore either. And I had never heard the term "Hillsdale Manor" before reading it here.

There are some folks who've lived in the town a long time, but it's rare in a place like Hillsdale, or any (fairly) well-to-do suburb, for children to move back to the towns where they grew up. They graduate high school, go off to college, and build their own lives. That lack of generation-to-generation continuity of residents is why even longtime residents like my parents have no idea about these historical names.
Also of note: Coles Crossing (which was "Cole's Crossing Rd." not so many years ago -- seems to have been truncated on the sign) is presumably a reference to Isaac Cole, who had a large estate on the site of ShopRite.

That crossing was closed off ten or fifteen years ago, again a rough guess.
No more than 10, i think. IIRC, It was still open when I went off to college. That was 1997.

And if the name is a reference to Mr. Cole, than it may have once been the site of his private crossing. Or his crossing of the Pascack Brook from before the reservoir.
The cobblestone building across Broadway from Park View Drive looks like it's of the same vintage as the station. Don't know if they were related.
That's a bridal shop, I believe.
  by andy
 
The connection from Newark was a little tight though. Trains coming up the corridor on weekends are always late, and this is a problem in Secaucus for intra-state travel.
The weekend schedules for the PVL are designed mainly for New York bound connections. The same, also for late evening weekdays. I brought this up when the schedules first came out; from my understanding, NJ Transit says it is due to "operational limitations" as a result of the locations of the various sidings. Having taken it several times, you really have to sprint from one train to the other at Secaucus if anything is running late (forget the transfers at Newark Penn, especially if you have to connect from the RVL).

If you enter Newark Liberty Airport to the Pascack Valley Line on weekends, it will give you a couple 60+ minute rides (where there is hourly service on the PVL) and omit some others entirely (when there is service every two hours). I guess they realize people don't want to be waiting at Secaucus Junction for 2.5 hours.
  by henry6
 
[quote="andy
If you enter Newark Liberty Airport to the Pascack Valley Line on weekends, it will give you a couple 60+ minute rides (where there is hourly service on the PVL) and omit some others entirely (when there is service every two hours). I guess they realize people don't want to be waiting at Secaucus Junction for 2.5 hours.[/quote]

I have often found the NJT computer station to station program lacking, othertimes quite remarkable. But knowing your lines and your timetables from where you are to where you are going can give you a better chance of finding alternate routings, timings, and modes. Unfortunately, the general public does not have that knowledge (nor should they be expected to) and are often at the mercy of the computer program. The alternative is to have all the timetables in front of you, and with a magnifying glass and a good map, piece a trip together for yourself. A railfan might be able to do that, but I wouldn't expect the casual rider would. Geeeee whiizzz! Used to have station agents...smart station agents...who were capable of doing it, though.

Re:

  by fw2008
 
Port Jervis wrote:
chessiegp39 wrote:There is a large industrial building sitting on the right of way just west of Monsey. They built it a few years ago. Don't forget about the NIMBYS in Rockland Co. who would love to see more trains running through their neck of the woods. You would have to get their approval first.
The only reason I suggested this was to provide rail service to Monsey and Tallman. If they don't want it, then screw 'em.

I have a cousin who works in Monsey. She's told me that the Jewish residents up there will lay down on the tracks to stop any passanger service from running.
I'm sure they (the residents of Monsey) would do just that, no kidding!
I live in Teaneck, NJ where there is a large population of Orthadox Jews (I'm a Jew as well, but very, very reformed<g>), and they would love to see CSX shut the Riverline down <vbg>.

FW
  by fw2008
 
I really wish that I had been following the PVL expansion project between about 2004 and 2006 when the passing tracks went under construction.
I read an article only last year that appeared in a local newspaper a couple of years before that about a law suit several towns (including Westwood where I used to live) along the line filed to block the project, fearing that the improvements would bring 100 car freight trains rumbling through in the middle of the night.
I would have gone to a hearing on the issue and asked the question: "To where are these 100 car freight trains going?. Did you know that the line terminates in Spring Valley New York, with no customer along the line capable of receiving anywhere near 100 cars?"

Those aggravating NIMBY's. They always open their mouths before getting the facts straight<g>

After much ado, NJT was forced to relocate at least one of the passing tracks, making for a less than optimum commute at times.
I took a mid-day train to Hoboken from North Hackensack, and at first wondered why it was going to take 8 minutes to reach Anderson st from North Hackensack, only about 2 miles away. But immediately after departing the station, I found the reason: We had to meet a northbound train at SACK.
On my return trip, my WB train had to sit at SACK for about 7 minutes to await the EB train. The wait was of course scheduled, but none the less, a but annoying, since I thought there would have been plenty of time for our train to pull up to the station platform, unload it's passengers, then back down to the passing track to await the EB.
More passing tracks would alleviate these long waits, and allow for more mid-day service west (north) of North Hackensack. Too bad for those towns who protested the project. Who knows how long it will be before NJT has the money to build another passing track.
There could have easily been one in Oradell, along the reservoir.

FW
  by Steve F45
 
fw2008 wrote:
Port Jervis wrote:
chessiegp39 wrote:There is a large industrial building sitting on the right of way just west of Monsey. They built it a few years ago. Don't forget about the NIMBYS in Rockland Co. who would love to see more trains running through their neck of the woods. You would have to get their approval first.
The only reason I suggested this was to provide rail service to Monsey and Tallman. If they don't want it, then screw 'em.

I have a cousin who works in Monsey. She's told me that the Jewish residents up there will lay down on the tracks to stop any passanger service from running.
I'm sure they (the residents of Monsey) would do just that, no kidding!
I live in Teaneck, NJ where there is a large population of Orthadox Jews (I'm a Jew as well, but very, very reformed<g>), and they would love to see CSX shut the Riverline down <vbg>.

FW
of course they would. but maybe they should be given a history lesson on who has been in teaneck longer.
  by ryanov
 
andy wrote:
The connection from Newark was a little tight though. Trains coming up the corridor on weekends are always late, and this is a problem in Secaucus for intra-state travel.
The weekend schedules for the PVL are designed mainly for New York bound connections. The same, also for late evening weekdays. I brought this up when the schedules first came out; from my understanding, NJ Transit says it is due to "operational limitations" as a result of the locations of the various sidings. Having taken it several times, you really have to sprint from one train to the other at Secaucus if anything is running late (forget the transfers at Newark Penn, especially if you have to connect from the RVL).
I disagree with them though. The problem is the NY-bound trains that you could take to transfer at Secaucus to the PVL do not run on time. If they did, it would be maybe a brisk walk, but it wouldn't be unreasonable. If they could make that schedule resemble reality, or make reality resemble the schedule, it would work out.
Port Jervis wrote:I have a cousin who works in Monsey. She's told me that the Jewish residents up there will lay down on the tracks to stop any passanger service from running.
Ready the cowcatchers!
  by andy
 
Not sure if anyone saw a copy of the MTA's MilePosts West for Sept-Oct 2008, but they announced some of the schedule changes for the PVL effective 10/26:

* Train #1600 will depart Spring Valley 10 minutes earlier at 4:56 a.m.
* Train #1620 will depart Spring Valley at 9:32 a.m. It SEEMS like they might be consolidating #1620 and #1652, because it doesn't make sense to run both of them. We'll have to wait and see the schedule.

* Train #1633 will depart Hoboken 10 minutes earlier at 5:55 p.m.
* Train #1635 will add stops at Emerson, Westwood and Woodcliff Lake (stopping at all stations).

The move for #1620 seems like a good idea, but that moves the two hour gap from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. It also seems like they want to "spread out" the afternoon PM trains for better load management. Not sure what's up with #1600 - maybe it's just a Secaucus connection change requiring the train to be earlier.
  by Steve F45
 
I took the 834 train from river edge this morning with my fiance and friend from work. I figured we'de be the only people on the train at that time of the day. When we got on i was surprised at how many people were onboard. Wasn't huge but maybe like 30 or so people. Got to Secaucus and the train was fairly packed. Pretty good sign of improvements in ridership since the inception of weekend/off peak service last year. Now on the trip home we got the 525 i think it was from secaucus. Had roughly 3 minutes to spare. Platform H was packed with people waiting, this was shocking to me. We get on the train and the entire train is stuffed, all 5 cars. There were barely enough seats for the people on the platform at secaucus. Woodridge had some get off, we skipped teterboro both going/coming. Essex street let out alot, anderson same. North Hackensack, ehh maybe 2. River Edge just us 3.

Very happy to see ridership this high. Oh and track machines are set up at the east end of the meadowlands wye. Track might be laid soon over the viaduct.
  by Hawaiitiki
 
I don't know if anyone here can explain this but there was somewhat of a circus occuring at the Westwood Plaza(http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qtzk6d ... od%2C%20NJ) on the PVL in Westwood, NJ. I was doing some lunch hour shopping and the second I entered the strip mall(which is only accesible via two grade crossings), the crossing gates lowered. There was no whistle, no rumble...no train. I went about my shopping figuring whatever may have been going on was likely to be over but...it wasn't. As both crossing gates had been closed for about 15-20 minutes at this point, people were beginning to realize that they were "locked in". People were waiting in line for one crossing, then for some reason, darting to the other crossing believing it would magically be open. It looked like synchronized swimming in the parking lot as people were relentlessly looping believing the opposite gate would be open. During this whole endeavor which lasted a little longer than a half hour; no train passed and no MOW workers were anywhere in sight(which I realize doesn't mean they weren't there somewhere). I know NJT can't make everybody happy all the time but peak lunch hour seemed like a bad time...if it was a test. Was this a test? Was this a glitch? Were there tresspassers? Just curious and if nobody can answer it, it was still a pretty funny sight.
  by oknazevad
 
That spot does have a habit of malfunctioning gates. I think that maybe trespasser related. I've seen far too many people use the adjacent bridge over the Pascack Brook as a shortcut, and they may be setting off something accidentally. Or it could just be a car nearby. There's a lot of crossings along the stretch that includes Westwood and Hillsdale stations.
  by RichM
 
There was a NJTransit signal maintainer working on the relay box just south of the KMart this morning around 6:45. Looked like he was waiting for the next train south (5-10 min) to activate the controllers.
  by airman00
 
I saw that last week near k-mart as well. (don't remember which day, was a weekday evening) The train actually had to come to a complete stop right before the crossing, then the NJT guy waved him through. The crossing then came down on it's own after the train passed through, so the guy had to raise the crossings by working something in those little metal control sheds. Must be related to all this hot weather, something shorted out?
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