• MOM Rail Service

  • 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

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  by ApproachMedium
 
The mom line is still of interest to many down here. With all the congestion, it would be a real lifesaver. Even if some kind of DMU service was installed that went 20mph it would still be better than the nothing we have!
  by E-44
 
It's all about the slots. And I don't mean the ones in AC casinos. Until the NEC is a three-track railroad east of SJ (meaning the Portal bridge replacement) and has the new tunnels to PSNY AND new storage/turnaround tracks and platforms, it ain't happening. No place to put those trains. All of the proposed MOM routes share this problem and NIMBY opposition. Only likely non-NIMBY-opposed solutions would be to upgrade the Southern from Red Bank to Winslow or run down the River Line from Trenton to a rebuilt wye in Pennsauken to join the ACL. That's assuming all you want is NY to AC traffic that moves faster than the ill-fated Casino Express (ACES). It does nothing to relieve the MOM problems of traffic on the Rt.9 corridor and at the Lincoln tunnel. And you would still need the mythical PSNY "South" and its additional (if any) capacity for NJT.
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
Let's look at this for a second. The MOM project is one of 20 years ago. The three parts now make even less sense than they did 20 years ago. The branch to Freehold via Monmouth Junction makes positively no sense now and is a flaw of rail design. The service to Lakehurst from Red Bank made the most sense logically for commuter work.

That being said, the allure of Atlantic City is gone. There are casinos everywhere in the area (Bensalem, Bethlehem), so Philadelphians don't have to make the long trip down the Atlantic City Expressway or ride the AC Line or PATCO to do so. New Yorkers have the casino in Bethelehem, can go to Aqueduct Racetrack or Yonkers Raceway or Monticello Raceway and still get their gambling obsessions going. Atlantic City's days as a casino hub are done. It made logical sense 30 years ago when there was no place basically east of Vegas. Now, Atlantic City is stuck trying to figure out what it should do with itself. In reality, it would be better if Atlantic City turned into a tech hub for Philadelphia or some other form that would help attract new business to the city. They also should really work hard on trying to be a big summer beach hub like many of its neighbors and sister cities. Atlantic City needs to get itself out of the 1990s and into the 2020s. Find some big tech firm, get down to business.

There is going to be no incentive for a service from NYC to Red Bank to Lakehurst to Winslow Junction to Atlantic City right now. There just isn't. NJ Transit doesn't have the capacity, the track ownership, the money, the equipment or the manpower to do it. There's barely enough incentive to keep the Atlantic City Line going, which they should, but in pure hindsight, the decisions to cut off Cape May and Ocean City were bad, but for the latter it's too late.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Until Gateway Project is done, we aren't counting on MOM happening. First, if it were to happen, my first thought would be to reactivate the former CNJ route south of Matawan running through Marlboro so that way you can serve Freehold and of course terminate in Lakewood. The trains would follow the NJCL down to Aberdeen-Matawan Station and then take the restored old CNJ route. The other alternative and this would likely involve missing Freehold since it would be a little out of the way to the west-have the trains follow the NJCL down to Red Bank and then follow the Southern Secondary to Lakewood ending there. I would ditch the plan to have the trains follow the NEC to Midway Interlocking and then cut though Monroe Twp, Jamesburg, Englishtown, and Freehold-this route would take too long if you work in NWK, JC, and NYC. It would be fine if it was a train going as far as New Brunswick and then back through Monroe Twp, Jamesburg, Englishtown, and Freehold.

As for ACRL service, if that were to ever happen, then the best scenario would be to reactivate the old CNJ route south of Matawan-this would be a combination MOM and trains heading to AC. I wouldn't count on train service from NYC to AC happening anytime soon by way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. AC has made a comeback and it sounds like the casino business isn't emphasized as much there as maybe in the 80s and 90s. Even then, the Amtrak Atlantic City Express didn't perform high enough ridershipwise. The NJT ACES train did poorly ridershipwise too, even though it made very few stops. The route that it took was too long. When the one way fare was raised to 75 dollars, that was a turnoff for many people. They could get down to AC cheaper and a little faster on NJT's 319 bus. If AC was a tech city, then it would be great. Fortunately, there is the beach. I don't know how safe the downtown area is in Atlantic City but I know that that city has issues with crime and poverty. Casinos don't help bring down the crime and poverty levels of cities. Look at Chester, PA-the casino is there but the Chester is still a very dangerous place, even in the downtown area.
  by ApproachMedium
 
All of you do nothing but think just like NJT and the state do. NYC access. Lets forget that. Theres a lot of other places people commute to in NJ that are not NYC. Something to relieve traffic for those commuting on Rt18, anything to help keep people from driving up over the driscoll bridge to 287. There is so much traffic in this area in general and its not all people going to the city, its often people just trying to get around to do their every day stuff in between those who work in the very populated center of NJ and north jersey. I think if some relief was given in the form of some kind of local commuter system or even interurban it would greatly reduce the need for some to even own cars, or drive them as often as they do.

I dont think there will ever be a need for anything to go NYC to AC, other than the possibility of something to provide beach/shore access to take drivers off the parkway. This would be more of a north to south situation than a NYC to AC situation though.
  by Pensyfan19
 
It's still an essential service for the many communities in Central Jersey which use to have rail service but now have been stranded for decades without rail, such as Toms River NJ. Also, the Trans Regional Express proposal goes into detail about the MOM service for more information about it.
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
ApproachMedium wrote: Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:36 pm All of you do nothing but think just like NJT and the state do. NYC access. Lets forget that. Theres a lot of other places people commute to in NJ that are not NYC. Something to relieve traffic for those commuting on Rt18, anything to help keep people from driving up over the driscoll bridge to 287. There is so much traffic in this area in general and its not all people going to the city, its often people just trying to get around to do their every day stuff in between those who work in the very populated center of NJ and north jersey. I think if some relief was given in the form of some kind of local commuter system or even interurban it would greatly reduce the need for some to even own cars, or drive them as often as they do.

I dont think there will ever be a need for anything to go NYC to AC, other than the possibility of something to provide beach/shore access to take drivers off the parkway. This would be more of a north to south situation than a NYC to AC situation though.
For one thing, the majority of the NJ population and service are in North Jersey and in general, north of 195. So, yes it's in the state's best interest to make sure North Jersey, which is also very reliant on NYC, is running. There is money that should be spent south of 195, but the idea that all of South Jersey is going to Atlantic CIty is insane and incorrect. NJ Transit should be focusing that market through Philadelphia, not NYC. Atlantic City needs to focus on being a tech hub east of Philadelphia, since there is land and opportunity along the corridor. If the original point was a service from NYC to Atlantic City that serves NJ communities, then that what was what I focused on in my argument.

NYC has Lakewood/Lakehurst and Freehold in need of service, along with others in New Jersey, but for Philadelphia, the focus should be more access to shore communities. Unfortunately, that's limited over the years. Many railroads in South Jersey are long history and unusuable, so it becomes working with what we can.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Any MOM service will have to run express on existing rail lines with a few stops. On the NJCL, I would run express up to Matawan and if the route from Red Bank to Lakehurst gets reactivated, then maybe have the trains stop at Hazlet, Middletown, and Red Bank before taking the Southern Secondary. If MOM takes the Southern Secondary, we don't want any trains to skip Red Bank if possible as that is an important commercial town along the route, Plus, it's one of the busiest NJT bus hubs in Monmouth County. If MOM does get reinstated, the best route would probably be the route along the Southern Secondary given that there is already existing right of ways. I think the old CNJ route from Matawan was ripped up and the tracks aren't in place. The old CNJ route south of Matawan runs closely parallel to Rt. 9 and that road is used as NJT's busiest commuter bus route out of Port Authority-the 139. There are plenty of abandoned rail routes not just in South Jersey but in Central NJ and up north too. For rail service to happen to Lakewood, not only does Gateway need to be finished. There should be capacity improvements on the NJCL, such as a third track as far as at least Matawan. I know that NJT is supposed to replace River Draw in the short term.
  by ApproachMedium
 
How about instead of the train connecting at red bank to go to NYC if it was just a DMU that went to a transfer platform in red bank. Walk across the street to catch the regular train to NYC. Leaves the slotting issue out of the problem.
  by rr503
 
@ApproachMedium is entirely right about commute markets. Here's a map of the NY region showing the % of people commuting to the NYC CBD (in red)
Image
...it's not a lot.

There's something to be said for the fact that CBD trips are the easiest to capture (dense employment lends itself to transit), but outside of the US, for example in Toronto, transit service providers have no trouble getting 20+% mode share in suburban office parks with frequent or reliably scheduled bus service closely integrated with rail. To say the least, that's not what we have here.

As for the design of an MOM service, I'd build out the w/b half of the Waterfront Connection and run a train, idk, every half hour from Lakewood to HOB all day. Have a bunch of feeder buses timed to meet the train, integrate fares, etc etc etc. One thing I don't think we should do (and this applies to all NJT services, not just MOM) is continue with the "50 different stopping patterns" school of service planning. It's confusing for riders, discourages intra-corridor ridership, and reduces overall flexibility. On the NJCL, there's also a capacity argument to be made. If you have trains skip more than a handful of stops, your capacity constraint quickly becomes keeping these disparate patterns out of each others' way rather than constraints in Penn.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Passengers connecting from a NJCL train would have to probably walk across Chestnut St to get to the platform for the shuttle train to Lakewood. I'm not sure if they will like that. Something pretty similar is done at the Trenton Transit Center where passengers who are coming off of NJT trains at Trenton have to exit the north end of the station and cross S. Clinton Avenue to get to the RiverLine light rail trains. People don't want to have to cross busy streets to get from one platform at the same station to another platform at that same station.

I don't know if running trains every 30 minutes all day between Lakewood to Hoboken would be justified. A train can handle a lot more than several busloads of people. The NJT 139 bus and this train would serve different towns while still running close to each other.
  by ApproachMedium
 
You would be surprised how fast people will like something, or not care if it makes their commute and their day easier. i have never heard of anybody complain about the trenton river line being across the street because it sure gets people riding it.

Theres also solutions that could be made to prevent the crossing of tracks/streets in the form of bridges walkways and or tunnels. Plus, if you are getting off the train in red bank to take the shuttle youd probably be in the first car, youd get across the street before the train you just got off clears the crossing anyhow. it works that way for me when i take the train home and have to walk to my car thats usually parked just as far away as a shuttle platform would be.
  by GSC
 
Reading the ideas presented in this thread, I'm of the version with a shuttle at Red Bank. As it was stated, there would be no problem of storage of any more trains at NY Penn. Going this route, I would include Lakewood, Lakehurst, and Toms River. Ciba-Geigy has (had?) a yard and enough land to build a park & ride terminal there. Toms River and that area needs better mass transit than just Route 9 buses. And maybe a station could be established at Collingwood flea market or at the old McDowell asphalt plant on Asbury Road, a midway stop between Lakewood and Red Bank. (We can dream)
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
In general terms, the overall bus service can be improved and feeder bus routes that run frequently that connect easily to trains would be good. Those buses that run up and down Route 9 probably get delayed a lot and having a train to Lakewood would be good. Somebody mentioned that if the former CNJ route closer to Rt. 9 was reactivated, the train could eat into the ridership of the NJT buses but if that happened, it would probably not be by much. The 139 bus will still have many advantages over the train-more bus stops within walking distance of the commercial businesses along Rt. 9.
  by FANWOODGUY
 
These ideas are all interesting however, the revenue stream in NJ has been destroyed. Funding of any project in NJ will be difficult at best. NJ has been running on borrowed money and time for far too long. The piper in the form an economic destructive virus has arrived and is demanding payment. The best hope is for service levels to be restored once this event ends. Also for what it is worth expect there will be come changes in commuting patterns as more people have discovered the joy of working from home. Ridership may not return to current levels for some time if ever.
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