• New Dinky to Nassau Street

  • 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 Rodney Fisk
 
I meant your attachment to the current Dinky heavy rail operation, which is precluded from increasing trip numbers by NJTransit labor contract. Also, Arrow IIIs use $630,000 worth of propulsion power (NJT number) per year; LRVs just $20,000. Arrow IIIs: crew of two; LRVs, crew of one. Bottom line: yearly subsidy of more than $1 million vs. zero operating subsidy.

A trolley bus would delay or be delayed by other traffic, plus require a driver just like a regular bus, to say nothing of the capital cost of the OHL. Now that's a "huge waste of money".

Increasing Dinky service to meet all trains at the Junction (meeting 13 more, including 3 express trains) and meeting them from an origin in the center of town, all for $20 million would jump to the top for Federal funding, based on FTA's published decision criteria.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
dowlingm wrote:British builder you say. My spidey sense is tingling. It isn't TramPower is it?

Also: I'm pretty sure Siemens Sacramento haven't thrown away the plans for the SD-160 high floor.
The Trampower Very Light Rail Vehicle is the tram best suited for the new Dinky. The Siemens SD-160 is three times as heavy, consuming three times the electric propulsion power and costs three times as much. It was out of the running from Day One.
  by dowlingm
 
I see. If the taskforce is seriously considering Trampower that's a... courageous... call to make given their track record.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
Hey, we're a courageous group. The Trampower VLRV is transformative technology, and the Dinky is the perfect test track for it in the US. The current iteration is even lighter, more powerful and more efficient than the prototype. And I hope better looking. We feel the same way about the 2getthere aBus for the new Dinky extension.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
The basic direction to be followed for optimizing the Dinky will be clear tomorrow, after the task force's next meeting. Will it be LRT all the way to Nassau Street--or LRT just to the new station, with GRT to Nassau Street--and possibly serving office complexes along Alexander Road? Update tomorrow.
  by 25Hz
 
I'm glad you enjoy meeting abut this topic, but no one is going to want to fund or ride this service. There are no LRV's that can work on the line. There is no mandate nor demand for such a service. The costs involved in converting the line plus extensions plus fleet and new hires to staff and work shed is i'd guess in the ballpark of 400-600 million dollars. Then there is the justification of the annual loss vs current cost.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
The Princeton transit task force was established and funded by the municipality and the university in response to a clear community demand for extending Dinky service into town, and thereby provided an implicit mandate to pursue this major transit-service improvement, even setting aside $500,000 to support projects such as this.

There are dozens of LRVs on the market that could provide extraordinary enhancement to the current Dinky service, limited as it is currently to only three roundtrips per hour, missing meets with thirteen trains at Princeton Junction. (The New Dinky will meet EVERY train at the NEC.)

The total capital budget for the entire conversion and extension of the Dinky is $20 million--and that includes 20% for contingent costs. $20,000,000 = 0.04 x $500,000,000 [your estimate] -- off by a factor of 25.

The current Dinky operates with a yearly loss of a million bux--$30 million total since state takeover. The New Dinky will require no operating subsidy whatsoever, a first in some seventy years in the U.S.

Justification? There is no justification for continued support of the limited and costly service now provided by the Dinky.
  by 25Hz
 
Please post links to LRV that can work with both high and low platforms. Show me where there is space for a storage & maintenance shed and platforms/station stops, and show me in the NJT budget where they have spare cash laying around to tear up roads and sidewalks to put tracks in where there arent any and overhead power support structures where there arent any.

Sounds like a simple adjustment in the schedule is all that is needed. And unsubsidized, how much will the tickets be, 65 dollars one way?

I do not think you realize how involved building a light rail line actually is, especially one not connected to any other existing light rail line. Most LRV's i'm aware of use DC power. Where will you put the inverter to get from AC to DC? The present power comes from amtrak off their trunk line at the former nassau interlocking. Im going to go out on a limb and say they wont want anything to do with it and simply sever the connection completely.

It would be far more useful to have a restored wye and let jersey ave trains go down the branch, change ends, and continue to morrisville or trenton. Those trains currently deadhead west all the way from jersey ave.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
The VLRV that we have specified can be delivered to operate from either high- OR low-level platforms, an option from virtually any builder; both stations to be served by a New Dinky already have high-level platforms.

There is just enough space where the current Arrow IIIs are stored overnight to build a covered storage/maintenance facility, all on available property.

NJ Transit will be responsible for no capital contribution to this project whatsoever. Moreover, any new tracks will be built on ballast over open space or placed in a shallow channel in the street paving. Furthermore, any LRVs operating beyond the new station will operate with power stored in supercapacitors, obviating overhead power-support structures altogether.

You're absolutely right that a simple schedule adjustment would solve the problem of missed meets at the Junction, but, as I've said before, NJ Transit's labor contracts preclude any more than three trips an hour (or fewer than two persons per crew).

Ticket price will not increase from the current $2.75 one-way to $65.00. Rather it will be reduced to $2.00. And we'll still earn a fair profit.

We have no interest in Amtrak power and we will sever the connection ourselves. Two modular sub-stations will be delivered to poured concrete slabs at the 1/3 and 2/3 points along the ROW and be connected to PSE&G.

Your idea to extend Jersey Avenue trains to serve the Dinky would cut service to Princeton to less than half what it is currently, plus a restored wye would require the sacrifice of hundreds of parking spaces. No further analysis is required.

"Assumption is the cheapest form of research."
  by amtrakowitz
 
The New Dinky will require no operating subsidy whatsoever
Nobody buys that. The regulatory environment that the FRA and FTA have set up guarantees state/federal servitude.
  by Ken W2KB
 
amtrakowitz wrote:
The New Dinky will require no operating subsidy whatsoever
Nobody buys that. The regulatory environment that the FRA and FTA have set up guarantees state/federal servitude.
So long as the track is severed from the interstate rail system, which as described above it would be, there is no FRA jurisdiction. It is also my understanding that FTA jurisdiction extends only to the extent that FTA grant money or assistance is utilized for a project so that may not be a factor.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
Hey, this is the USA! In a market economy, if one offers a service for which there is a legitimate demand, and one can sell that service for more than it costs to deliver, then the service provider should earn a nice profit. Why should rail transit be exempt from this fundemental element of our economic system? Because of rigid work rules and negotiated wages.

The current Dinky operates with a two-person crew, each with a labor cost exceeding $120,000 per year; five crews total per week. The current Dinky sucks $630,000 in electrical power from the catenanry evey year (NJTransit's number). So, in a nutshell, cutting propulsion cost to $20,000 per year and operating the service with a single driver, earning (a mere) $45 per hour, brings cost of delivery to the level where the operator can earn that "nice profit" while reducing the one-way fare from $2.75 to a paltry two bux.

Some may not "buy that", but it's a fact recognized world-wide, with the exception of in the United States. Consider this: If the base-level employee, in the case of commuter railroads, the conductor, costs the state $120,000 per year, then his boss should earn more, then her boss even more, until you reach the Executive Director, who becomes the highest paid state imployee, earning vastly more that the governor.

This is luncacy on flanged wheels
  by loufah
 
What does the labor contract say about the possibility of ending the existing service?
  by Rodney Fisk
 
According to the Railway Labor Act, the ONLY way around the existing, restrictive work rules and labor costs negotiated to a very high level by threat of system shutdown [current LIRR situation] is to abandon service!

That's not anything unusual: hundreds of freight short lines have been created out of "abandoned" branch lines of Class 1 carriers. The trunk lines' labor contracts mandated eight hours' pay for (say) two hours' work, separate crews for separate "crafts and classifications" (as defined by the RLA). To the point that Conrail, NS, CSX, et al. encouraged these spinoff opportunities.

The newly established short lines, beginning with no interruption of service and operating smaller, more economical locomotives, with the owner as the engineer and his son as the conductor, switchman,etc., earned a fair return; the new Class 3 provided retail feed to the wholesale trunk carrier, and both sides won.

The analogy to the proposal for a New Dinky to Nassau Street is direct and irrefutable.
  by 25Hz
 
Show me a link to LRV's that can serve BOTH high and low platforms on the SAME LINE. I have never seen any ever anywhere online or in person.

Supercapacitors? None exist that can propel a vehicle the size of a bus. The most powerful supercapacitors only turn over diesel locomotive & mine truck prime movers. Running a huge heavy vehicle on them with ights & HVAC and seasonal temperature fluctuations..... Pure fiction. NJT not paying to operate it? Who will pay then? These things don't materialize out of thin air. Channels in the pavement, you're joking right? Trains of any type need lateral bracing in the tracks they run on. Simply putting U rails in the pavement is beyond daft.

The more i hear details of this concept the more i'm certain it will never happen. Have fun with it though, seems like a hobby you're really into.

If the main issue is service, then they should rework the agreement or whatever needs being done to provide 5-8 round trips an hour.
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