• Ballast Cleaners/Undercutters

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

Moderators: Tadman, nick11a, Kaback9, ACeInTheHole

  by EuroStar
 
Has NJT ever employed ballast cleaners or undercutters for regular track maintenance? It appears to me that there are multiple locations on the lines owned or maintained by NJT that could use ballast maintenance of some sort. At those locations one can see more mud than stones with the track and the ties visibly moving several inches down and up from the weight of the cars. While I have not seen all of the NEC, it appears to me that Amtrak's ballast standards are much higher than NJTs. While NJT maintained lines have lower speed limits than the NEC, more mud than stones seems bad.
  by R&DB
 
sullivan1985 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:55 pm

NJT has not used a ballast cleaner and likely will not.
NJT is a poor custodian of the lines they inherited. I grew up along the NY&LB, and the CNJ maintained the line in great condition until the late '60s. Their running times from Jersey City to Bay Head were faster 100 years ago (yes,steam) than today's Newark to Bay Head and they had more stops. PRR even made engine changes en-route and made better time than NJT. I don't attribute all of the decline to ballast, but it is an indicator of deferred maintenance. How much more it can be deferred is the question.

NJT is under funded and answerable to the State of New Jersey. Unfortunately the State doesn't seem to be answerable to the taxpayers and a lot of those taxpayers are commuters.
  by ryanov
 
The people of NJ constantly say that they want lower taxes, so it does appear that this underfunding is exactly what people are voting for.
  by EuroStar
 
Speaking of ballast, NJT has parked a few cars full of ballast stone west of Secaucus. I am guessing that a few spots will be getting stones added under the tracks and there are spots that really need it. The difference between the amount and the cleanliness of the ballast Amtrak has on the Northeast Corridor and NJT has on its own lines is like the difference between night and day. While some of it might be justifiable due to the lower speeds, most of it is just lack of maintenance.
ryanov wrote:The people of NJ constantly say that they want lower taxes, so it does appear that this underfunding is exactly what people are voting for.
The sad part is that while NJT is still going backwards, as opposed to New York which while also plagued by problems is moving forward. They are just about to complete the double track to Ronkonkoma, preliminary work has started on the third Main track, ESA is happening in spite of the cost overruns and Metro-North's New Heaven line access to Penn will eventually come regardless of whether Cuomo is or is not around. Why should young professionals move to NJ when commuting from Long Island or Westchester is only going to get better? NJ is slowly becoming part of the fly-over/drive-through country and while it is not all due to transit, transit is an important factor for that.