jp1822 wrote:It would not be impossible for Amtrak to terminate such a train in Newark
Not impossible, no, but Amtrak would not do it.
Terminating in Newark would be easiest due to change of power required to get in and out of NYC, let alone capacity issues
If you terminate in Newark, then you wouldn't be looking for a "change of power" to go to/from NY Penn, would you? Plus, if the dual-modes are used (which would take a minor extension of the North River Tunnel's third-rail westward), there would be no changes of power.
And equipment could still get rotated into Sunnyside Yard via a deadhead move for a few miles!
If you're going to Sunnyside anyway, it makes zero sense to terminate at Newark Penn. Only if you were going to use NJT's yards and facilities in Kearny would you terminate in Newark.
But I would propose Amtrak operating an express schedule on NJT's Raritan Valley Line - stopping more in the western part of the state to attract monthly riders (offering a more comfortable ride over long distance but on an express schedule that the Raritan Valley line falls short or doesn't serve). This is similiar to how Amtrak operates the Empire Corridor between Albany and NYC as well as on the NEC. NJT's Raritan Valley Line only goes to High Bridge (about 15 miles or so short of the PA border and Phillipsburg)…
Some capital improvements in NJ and PA would need to be implemented for the line (connecting the Jersey Central main line on the west end into the Lehigh Valley RR line and negotiations between Bethlehem and Allentown for starters).
The former CNJ has been severed by I-78 in Alpha, NJ since 1984; and west of High Bridge, the track is in bad shape. There is an existing connector from the CNJ to the Lehigh Line in Bloomsbury, NJ; but if you take the Lehigh Line from Hunter Interlocking all the way into PA, there would be no tracks to rebuild, and you won't cause congestion on the former CNJ.
However, NJT really needs to get back into the Phillipsburg area to relieve Interstate 78 traffic. But NJT would also need to learn how to operate express trains on the Raritan Valley line! Current travel time is just too slow! But that is a separate topic
Yes it is. If you want express trains on the Raritan Valley Line, then the right-of-way needs four tracks again, instead of two.
Interesting that towns are booming on this route - particularly the Lehigh Valley - which most would concede the heart is Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton. I have business in the Lehigh Valley area, and people often ask me about my Amtrak trips and where's the closest Amtrak station to them. After I tell them Philly or Newark would be the closest I get a deer in head lights look…
And since the train would cross into PA and serve Easton, Bethlehem, Allentown, Reading and Harrisburg (and possibly out to Pittsburgh to compliment the Pennsylvanian), you'd have to have Amtrak operate the service, as opposed to NJT. Only way to get such a train started is to negotiate with the freight RR's and get state money from NJ and PA. I think NJ would kick in the money before PA
You would be hoping against hope. Note that PA has put in quite a bit of money for the Lackawanna Cutoff whereas NJ has not put in dime one as yet, other than to buy the Cutoff a number of years back. The state of NJ is also in the hole for approximately $30 billion or more.
You completely discounting federal money? This is a potential winner here, and could even be more successful than the rejuvenated service on the former PRR Main Line. This corridor is, historically, the first "road to the west" between the New York area and places like Chicago and St. Louis…and it has quite the number of busy and burgeoning metro areas along it, as you mentioned.