I've been watching this thread for a while now. I was surprised when NJ Transit announced they would replace the light rail concept on this branch with an FRA compatible DMU operation.
I've read all the speculation in this thread with regards to why the switch was made. Quite frankly, I personally believed the northern branch should be an electrified light rail corridor.
However, I was reading a back issue of Railpace recently about the Northern branch, and something dawned on me that I hadn't considered before.
With that said, I put forth this idea for us all to speculate on!
Could the reason NJ Transit decided to switch modes be that projected ridership might exceed the optimal design limits of a light rail system?
By way of comparison, rush hour trains on the northern branch, at one time, consisted of trains that were 6+ cars in length. Since the ideal length of a light rail trainset is usually about 2 to 3 cars in length, did the possiblility that ridership on the Bergen (northern branch) portion of line could grow faster the capacitity to move all the people via the techonology that was chosen.
Could you imagine the press jumping on an issue like this.
It would be very embarrassing to NJ Transit to be a victim of its own success. The idea that a system might outstrip its capacity before the first year would certainly prove to be intersting fodder for all forms of media, including this one here at railroad.net.
NJT's planners know the ridership will be there.
They spend millions to build the system.
They expect 10,000 daily riders to show up to start.
They build the system to handle 25,000 daily riders.
By the end of the first year the average turns out to be 35,000 daily riders.
Nobody can get on the trains after the first three stops.
They trains are beyond full when they reach Bergenline Avenue.
People in Hoboken scream they can't get on the trains because they are already full.
Imagine the possilbilty of the above-mentioned scenario and the idea comes to mind that maybe there were other factors that came into the picture that led to the decision to switch modes that we hadn't seen before.
It's just my my opinion, but maybe that angle needs to be considered and explored in this debate.
Well, that's all for now folks.
See ya all later.