• NYSW Passenger Service Restoration

  • 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 uzplayer
 
I have seen you post a number of excellent statements on these forums regarding support for various rail projects in New Jersey. I have also followed your organizations progress over the past 3-5 years with great satisfaction.

The question is, do the current groups organized get the marketing that they need to make a difference. Organizations like yourself exist that advocate a better connected New Jersey/New York/Pennsylvania through alternate transportation (rail/light rail) however they don't get the front-page attention that they deserve.

How does one start an advocacy group though? Incorporation? Website? Group of ppl?
Douglas John Bowen wrote:Start an advocacy group for a specific rail line? Excellent idea! NJ-ARP approves.

Advocacy is, in a word, politics. And for many, that (secretly) sounds daunting enough, because (again, secretly) lots of people talk a good game of politics when there's nothing at stake, nothing to win or lose.

But any secret to success isn't that secret. Most of us do "politics" all the time, whether it's persuading a friend to do this or adjusting to a loved one's "request" to do that. It's human interaction, though often on a larger level and not just one-on-one.

The good news is one gets better with practice -- it's a craft more than a science. The cautionary news is one will get lots of practice for something like rail line restoration. Rail advocacy is not for the faint of heart.

Nor, as NJ-ARP often counsels/reminds other groups, is it very likely to be a job quickly dispatched. It is, much more often, a marathon. Got 10, maybe 20 years of evenings and weekend to devote to your cause? Whether one starts his own organization -- again, a great idea -- and/or joins NJ-ARP for a different/complementary approach -- it takes commitment and tenacity.

  by Jtgshu
 
I think NJ-ARP has a good idea as to what a "long haul" is......hahaha, i had to chucke when Mr. Bowen wrote that - hopefully MOM will get built before I retire, in 30 something years!!!!!!!!

If you want to get a group and some ideas together to advocate service on a line, look towards Monmouth and Ocean counties, and the MOM line. The support down here is TREMENDOUS, with various groups, some "offical" some others just seem to be a group of words with capital first letters, but nevertheless, there are thousands of people in support of the rail line down here, and they do make their support well known. Having a major supporter newspaper, in particular the Asbury Park Press, but other smaller ones are also in support, really helps get the message out, and gives some support and publicity to your cause, and more than you would think, front page news, or at least not an article buried in the bowels of the classified section..

But as we all know with MOM, if the right people don't want a project, the project doesn't get done. More and more "studies" are required, routes changed, excuses made up left and right, all seeming to come out of left field, and continuing to delay the project more and more.

On the "realistic" side of real railroad issues, there are challenges to actually opening up a new line for the railroad, including purchasing equipment, securing station sites, yard and outlying facility sites, upgrades to the track, crossings, existing station buildings (if any) installing or upgrading a signal system, negotiations with current rail operators with regard to scheduling, maintence, servicing local industry, etc, etc. And more obvious, getting the people to run the new line. You gotta hire and train and qualify more people, and of course, make another couple dozen layers of management. and not the obvious people either, like trainmen and engineers, but also dispatchers, track, MOW, buildings and Bridges, signal maintainers, mechanical forces, coach cleaners, car inspectors, especially when things are supposedly stretched a little thin here at NJT, which ive heard, but have a tendency not to believe.....

Its a lot more involved than putting down some rocks next to a few grade xings, and makign trains stop there, unfortunately.
  by Douglas John Bowen
 
We at NJ-ARP hesitate to lay out any "one best way" to start an pro-rail cause. But, as with any voluntary American association in the classic de Tocqueville sense, you use what you have.

It helps to have some one with money to spend. Not necessarily a rich backer or "angel," though that helps, but someone (or group of ones) who won't cringe at all the incremental costs that xeroxing, faxing, and/or (yes, even in this e-world) U.S. postage will generate.

The talent? If one's skills are in PR and marketing, that's a big plus to advocacy. But one wants (and NJ-ARP will always take) skill sets of various kinds. Some people like face-to-face discussions (or confrontations); others would rather do background, unglamorous (but very, very much needed!) work, like mailings, or phone calls, or some such.

Regardless of the skills, it takes determination. Expect to hear "no" a lot. Expect to hear even laughter -- or out-and-out snarling. Expect a hundred reasons -- two or 10 of them real, if not good, the rest unadulterated hot air -- why your goal or target just can't be met. Jtgshu (above) has neatly summed up the MOM issue in all its frustrating, stretch-it-out form. Being "right" might not matter if the "right" people aren't listening.

Know what's not a prerequisite? Intimate knowledge of all things rail. Don't get us wrong -- it sure helps to have a Jtgshu, or a Bill Wright, around to counsel on the physical real-world potential (and limitations) of railroading. But rail-detail people are not, repeat are not, necessarily the best advocates. (Some of NJ-ARP's best, quite frankly, would be hard-pressed distinguishing an Arrow III from an ALP-46. Many, many times, such skill doesn't matter.)

Checking NJ-ARP's own board of eight (8) directors, we have a journalist, a real estate appraiser, an accountant, a county land-use planner, a retired railroad marketing executive, a realtor, a service maintenance worker and a financial analyst. Beyond that, we have lawyers, insurance execs, rail conductors and engineers (We'll take 'em, for sure!), former and (shhh!) current state government employees, students ... one gets the idea.
Last edited by Douglas John Bowen on Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.

  by uzplayer
 
What you say makes sense.

Key is to garner support in and out of the public/private sector.

I'll have to seriously give this some thought.

  by uzplayer
 
So question... Who would be on board from here to form an advocacy group for better transportation alternatives in Sussex County NJ?

  by Steve F45
 
I would. if could find a place up there i would be easier to travel to and from nyc if needed.

  by uzplayer
 
2005Vdub wrote:I would. if could find a place up there i would be easier to travel to and from nyc if needed.
Do you actually live in Sussex County?

  by Steve F45
 
No, but im looking for a place. I live near hackensack. But i'de like to move to an area that has some sort of rail service in the general area to be able to use it. I do not want ot move some place and not have any options but driving to get into this area.

This and the cutoff i'de love to see setup. It would open up so many options for people further west.

  by Ken W2KB
 
2005Vdub wrote:No, but im looking for a place. I live near hackensack. But i'de like to move to an area that has some sort of rail service in the general area to be able to use it. I do not want ot move some place and not have any options but driving to get into this area.

This and the cutoff i'de love to see setup. It would open up so many options for people further west.
The southern part of Sussex is within a couple of miles of the passenger service on the Boonton Line, connections at Denville to the M&E.

  by uzplayer
 
You said the key word there.. Southern part of Sussex.. Most people are moving to the northern part of the county... That's where the biggest need is..
Ken W2KB wrote:
2005Vdub wrote:No, but im looking for a place. I live near hackensack. But i'de like to move to an area that has some sort of rail service in the general area to be able to use it. I do not want ot move some place and not have any options but driving to get into this area.

This and the cutoff i'de love to see setup. It would open up so many options for people further west.
The southern part of Sussex is within a couple of miles of the passenger service on the Boonton Line, connections at Denville to the M&E.

  by Steve F45
 
uzplayer wrote:You said the key word there.. Southern part of Sussex.. Most people are moving to the northern part of the county... That's where the biggest need is..
Ken W2KB wrote:
2005Vdub wrote:No, but im looking for a place. I live near hackensack. But i'de like to move to an area that has some sort of rail service in the general area to be able to use it. I do not want ot move some place and not have any options but driving to get into this area.

This and the cutoff i'de love to see setup. It would open up so many options for people further west.
The southern part of Sussex is within a couple of miles of the passenger service on the Boonton Line, connections at Denville to the M&E.
exactly. But if there was service to PA i'de consider moving there too. but i dont want to drive on 80. I hate driving out there just to get fireworks in the summer. I mean is there any passenger service in norther pa at all?

  by uzplayer
 
There is bus service from my understanding.

It continues to get worse on 23 and 80 everyday. Rail service is needed.

I believe that even Washington DC with their urban sprawl going all the way out to West Virginia now even has rail service provided by Virginia Railway Express. So people actually have a plethora of transportation options in the Washington DC Metro Area.

Perhaps both regions can learn lessons from each other.

  by Steve F45
 
So the only places with rail service are pittsburgh and philly?

  by ryanov
 
Harrisburg and Philly has good frequent service via Amtrak. Cheap, comparatively, also.

  by pgengler
 
2005Vdub wrote:So the only places with rail service are pittsburgh and philly?
While much of SEPTA's activity is in and around Philadelphia, the Regional Rail lines serve some of the outlying areas, with the R2 line going as far as Newark, DE.
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