• Phillipsburg Rail Service—Four Years, $90 Million

  • 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 NellieBly
 
But I actually rode a regular NJT train to Phillipsburg in 1982! The track is there, the ROW is there. How could it cost $90 million to restore?

When Conrail's former Lehigh Valley bridge over the Delaware was condemned, CR did a "cut and throw" and restored track on the CNJ ROW through Phillipsburg. This would have been in the late 1980s.

The CNJ line connects to the CR (now NS) LV main at a hand-throw turnout a few miles east of Phillipsburg. How complicated could it be to remote the turnout, install signals, and build a layover track in Phillipsburg?
  by cjvrr
 
NellieBly wrote:But I actually rode a regular NJT train to Phillipsburg in 1982! The track is there, the ROW is there. How could it cost $90 million to restore?
The track is no longer there AFAIK. Route 78 bisected the right of way in one spot and I believe the rail was lifted along the ROW east and west of that point. The LV main has a crossover connection in Bloomsbury to the CNJ line to access the one customer there. The rails west from that point to the LV connection in Phillipsburg noted in your post along the CNJ alignment are gone.

Others please correct me if I am wrong.

Also I would not doubt in addition to a complete rebuild of the right of way, station costs, and possibly equipment costs are included in the $90 million figure.

  by Irish Chieftain
 
That sounds about right.

Frequency was low before service was canceled, though; a mere three trains per weekday in each direction.

This scene is from 1983, at Union Station in Phillipsburg. (The LVRR station at Stockton Street is no more, although the ROW is still there with no tracks on it.)

  by PRSL1972
 
Don't bank on any promises from NJT. Lies, lies and more lies are awaiting. Don't get your hopes up; THE Tunnel (or the BS Project, as I call it) will take first priority. MOM Line, West Trenton and Lackawanna Cutoff should be started first and not THE Tunnel. Wait and see; maybe the new ED will set things straight?

  by 35dtmrs92
 
But of course, but they are doing so with a solid basis. finsuburbia has already put my views in very understandable terms. Kudos! :-)
  by henry6
 
End point tallies are not indicative of train value. Nor bus or airplane for that matter. The economics of service routes with defined endpoints usually means the operator serves both endpoints regardless of the number of passengers at the end of the line. Outside of commuter hours there are few passengers aboard trains at the outbound endpoints. But where do you draw a line. Say there are only 10 people per train arriving at Raritan or Dover. Therefore do you stop the train at Plainfield or Morristown? You don't because your endpoints usually have terminal facilities, charter committments, etc. The schedule is built into your economics and vice versa.

All the times...summer time especially...that I have ridden the 8:10am out of Hackettstown I have found the two car train leaving with almost 20 people plus pick ups at Mt. Olive, Netcong and Landing for another 20 to 30. Most transfer at Dover and the train continues to MSU picking up another 30 or so along the way. However, when MSU or even high schools are closed, the train can be almost empty! Also, this train brings about 20 people into Hackettstown about a half hour earlier, so that adds to its importance. And the parking lot is usually at least three quarters full. Have taken the Mt. Olive 10Am train with a full parking lot but the incoming train had no passengers and the three of us were the only ones to get on. But without official counts its hard to really assess.

  by cjvrr
 
henry6,

Just trying to gauge the total ridership from that station. Reason I am curious as to their origin is two fold:
  1. How many riders could be picked up by extending to Washington? (as some have suggested) I do not think traffic to and from Washington is too bad…yet…that those wishing to use train service can go to High Bridge or Hackettstown which is good for those residents as they have access to both lines and more job opportunities, i.e. work in Morristown take the M&E, work in Bridgewater, take the CNJ.
  2. How many riders may be peeled from the Hackettstown, Mount Olive, and Netcong stations once the Mount Arlington station opens?
None of this has anything to do with the original intent of the thread so I am just rambling…
  by henry6
 
One of the things happening right now (I think) is that planners know what they have to do for the future. Although I don't believe they have responded here, I am sure they are aware of what is being said in that it is what they already foresee as possible solutions.

The gamble you put forth: to Washington (with the idea of reaching to Phillipsburg) or reach west from High Bridge. Which in 10, 20, 50, etc. years will be the best for NJ and NJT? With Hackettstown, there was M&M Mars and the International Trade Zone (or whatever) that precipitated the extension of service with hopes of reverse commuting and support from industries. I am sure that there was also the "foot in the door" concept should NJT need to or want to extend further west or just be capable of expansion on present route if and when the need arises.

The Route 78 Corridor, as I have noted elsewhere and earlier, historically is a "social" or "population district", if you will, unto itself based on both the LV and CNJ as the corridor railroads and Route 22 as the former corridor highway. Therefore there are strong motives for NJT to look along the CNJ corridor for answers to future Phillipsburg service rather than to the Washington-Hackettstown (ex DL&W) corridor.

  by Mister Midtown
 
Irish Chieftain wrote:
If a car ride on route 78 is such a horrible thing than why is there so much traffic on it?
Because there is no train.
But that doesn't make sense. The in-service portion of the RVL parallels routes 78 and 22, and they are no picinic. Heck, route 78 has both the RVL and Gladstone Line and it still gets congested. The Morristown Line parallels route 80 and 280, and they can be nightmares. The North Jersey Coastline parallels the GSP, and that is a nightmare, despite Metropark practically straddling it. The North East Corridor parallels I-95 in New York and Connecticut, and that is pretty much the definition of "traffic hell," despite direct service to both Grand Central and Penn station, a multi-track railroad that is meticulously maintained, and very frequent service. Compare that to the single-track extension to Phillipsburg with a few trains a day. How can an RVL extension to Phillipsburg really make a difference on I-78?
Irish Chieftain wrote:
An extension of RVL service to Phillipsburg will be about as successful as the M&E extension to Hackettstown was
What do you mean by "was"? The line is still in operation, and the trains are not empty when running to the end of the line. If the line had NEC-like frequency and the same amount of passengers, then you would have the semblance of a point. And what is "success" in your estimation?
According to this thread, the combined weekday average ridership of Hackettstown plus Mount Olive is 163, which just barely beats Gillette. Heck, Hackettstown doesn't even beat Mount Tabor, and I am under the impression that Tabor is constantly on the chopping block (as it should).

  by northjerseybuff
 
The Morristown Line parallels route 80 and 280, and they can be nightmares. The North Jersey Coastline parallels the GSP, and that is a nightmare, despite Metropark practically straddling it. The North East Corridor parallels I-95 in New York and Connecticut, and that is pretty much the definition of "traffic hell," despite direct service to both Grand Central and Penn station, a multi-track railroad that is meticulously maintained, and very frequent service. Compare that to the single-track extension to Phillipsburg with a few trains a day. How can an RVL extension to Phillipsburg really make a difference on I-78?
You don't get it. Yes, traffic is still bad. But with no rail service. Would it be worse?? you bet. I can speak for people I work with..but the train service to point pleasant is a GREAT value and I have turned several people at work onto this. Sleeping on the train vs stressful driving? i'll take sleeping..besides that..you can have a cold beverage on the train as well. Global warming is going to help these new projects. NJ MUST cut emissions down in the next 2 decades..if not, we might not be looking at NJ in the way we are today..

  by Donko142
 
Some info, in the fall I rode dirt bikes with a friend who lives down there. We got on the row at Greens bridge ( about 1.5 mile ) from Main st heading east. There is a high speed switch there on top of the bridge, we bared left just after the brigde on the line NJT was on till early 80's. It looked good at first all still there 132 RE, just over grown. We got to High St. in Alpha ( behind QUICK CHECK Rt 122 ) were the bridge was taken out, we went a few blocks more and got as far as Seventh St. ( I think that was the name ) bridges gone, crossings are paved over but there. A friend from the M&E that lives there told me the tracks go to RT 78 and the rails from over the highway are laying in the woods at the end of track. I'm told (second hand info ) that speeders and track cars have kept the line open from the other side of RT 78. Lots of ties and chainsaws, from what I know I think the big money would be from Rt 78 to P-burg. But that is only about 5 miles, there are SMALL trees growing in the gauge from Green's bridge to Seventh St.

  by kevikens
 
I was wondering if one of you guys who are familiar with the Phillipsburg area could tell me something. I know there is an old stone arch bridge a couple miles east of the town that looks like a great photo opportunity. Do trains actually use that bridge ? Can you access that spot for a good photo ?

  by Ken W2KB
 
kevikens wrote:I was wondering if one of you guys who are familiar with the Phillipsburg area could tell me something. I know there is an old stone arch bridge a couple miles east of the town that looks like a great photo opportunity. Do trains actually use that bridge ? Can you access that spot for a good photo ?
I believe you mean where there are 2 parallel bridges? As I recall, the northeastern one is ex-CNJ and is abandoned. The southwestern one (closer to P'Burg) is the ex-LV, now active Lehigh Line. The LV track shifts over to the former CNJ ROW just west of the bridge and continues on the ex-CNJ to just west of the Lehigh River. As a matter of note, the Morris Canal passed under those two bridges at that location.

  by Mister Midtown
 
northjerseybuff wrote:...Yes, traffic is still bad. But with no rail service. Would it be worse?? you bet. I can speak for people I work with..but the train service to point pleasant is a GREAT value and I have turned several people at work onto this. Sleeping on the train vs stressful driving? i'll take sleeping..besides that..you can have a cold beverage on the train as well. Global warming is going to help these new projects. NJ MUST cut emissions down in the next 2 decades..if not, we might not be looking at NJ in the way we are today..
You make valid points, but my previous post addressed the assertion that route 78 has so much traffic on it because "there is no train." Based on comparisons with other highways with parallel passenger lines, this assertion appears to lack merit.

I am not saying train service is inherently bad. I am simply saying that there are better places for NJT to spend tax dollars than the Phillipsburg extension of the Raritan Valley service. For example, the Hudson pocket track seems like a good idea. A third, or even fouth, track along the Lehigh Line seems like a good idea, especially when the THE tunnels are a definite (it allows for electrification of the RVL without having to place freight trains under wires). Re-configuring Hunter interlocking with flyover connections, to reduce RVL train inteference with NEC, NJCL, and Amtrak trains is another noble project.

Attempting to put as many people within walking distance of an NJT train station is not an efficient use of tax dollars. Projects that improve on the current system is the way to go. There are still many people that live or work near existing NJT rail service that do not use the service. Why not try to attract those people instead?

  by Irish Chieftain
 
Mr. Midtown: Imagine I-95 with no rail service parallel. This, by inference, is what you are calling for.

And I daresay that you are forgetting that the NEC in New Jersey also has far many other road arteries parallel (US 1, NJ 27) as it does in Connecticut (US 1 again, Merritt Parkway), with many other perpendicular limited-access multi-lane road arteries feeding those New York-bound highways, in both states. You wouldn't call for the reopening of the Camden & Amboy, at least, in the face of that? (which could only go to Bordentown nowadays, thanks to the River Line)

Further consider the past capacity of the Raritan Valley Line. Waste of tax dollars? I would call the deprecation of that corridor the waste thereof—down to two tracks on the formerly four-track segments and down to a single track on the formerly two-track segment. Not to mention, at one time, the Lehigh Line also had parallel rail service. Your solution would instead have us build more parallel road arteries, which would be tantamount to insanity at this point (I-78 is the sole major road route leading towards NYC out of the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers).
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