• 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

  by loufah
Rodney Fisk wrote:With a New Dinky meeting every train on the NEC and returning $2800 per day in operating subsidy to the state, this is a win-win for everyone concerned.
IIRC, from something earlier in this thread, the alleged subsidy is the result of NJT quoting a fictitious, high cost for electricity. So the Dinky riders could very well be subsidizing other NJT operations right now. With that revenue gone, riders on other NJT routes will be paying more. And the current Dinky crew may be out of a job. That might not be a win-win there.
  by Rodney Fisk
It seems that NJ Transit included a one-time capital expenditure as "propulsion cost" last year. The yearly cost billed by Amtrak is actually $180,000; electric power for the super-efficient LRV we favor is $20,000.

The $2800 per day is based on the Dinky's total operating subsidy of just over $1 million, none of it needed for a New Dinky. And no Dinky crew member will lose a job; they will all just join the general duty roster.

The New Dinky follows a NEW paradigm: choose equipment best suited for a 3-mile shuttle, operated by a rational crew paid market wages (labor cost per crew of $75,000) rather than oversized, overpowered Arrow IIIs, operated by a traditional crew paid negotiated wages (cost per crew of $250,000). Bottom line: meet all 53 trains at the Junction--13 more than the current Dinky--with all costs covered at the farebox, with a simple fare of $2.00, yielding a modest profit. This projection has been confirmed by an accountant chosen by NJ Transit.
  by Rodney Fisk
Well, it seems that we've run the course on this topic. Many thanks for all the comment and criticism. Some have changed the proposal significantly: solar power was eliminated from the scheme; the need to rebuild platforms was obviated by deciding on LRVs operating solely from high-level platforms; supercaps are no longer needed for the redesigned and enhanced project; I'm sure there are others.

Very helpful were the spontaneous reactions/critiques from all the ultracrepidarians out there. They forced me to refocus my thinking, leading to further research and analysis to confirm or modify certain elements of the plan. The formal proposal for a New Dinky will be stronger and better for this input.

Best of all was the practice in batting away dumb ideas and responding seriously to serious questions or honest misconceptions. As for those with immutable, preconceived notions, I give up. The irrational belief that rail transit somehow can't earn a profit except by cutting service or raising fares seems widespread--and firmly entrenched. More disturbing is the sense I get that it would somehow be unethical for me to profit from providing this service, especially when it's "never" been done. In this country for too many years the received wisdom has been that all rail transit should be, and remain a public responsibility, publicly subsidized forever.

If any of the numerous visitors to this topic has some encouraging input or supportive arguments--even a positive comment, now is the time to join the well-represented skeptics in a spirited debate. Argue among yourselves.
  by Dcell
So NJT will make the route trackless electric buses when the Arrows are retired. Kinda a bummer.
  by N91566
I will toss a little bit of useless history into this, but way back in the early 1970's NJDOT approached the Black River about operating the PJ&B. Don't think it went much beyond kicking it around on the phone between them, but it is my memory that BR&W gave it some thought.
  by Matt Johnson
Dcell wrote:So NJT will make the route trackless electric buses when the Arrows are retired. Kinda a bummer.
Really? Even after building a new station? That sucks. What about the next gen EMU?
  by andrewjw
Do you have any evidence to support this claim? I have heard nothing about it... NJT has tried to bustitute the line before, and the University and town have ensured they did not.
  by Matt Johnson
Seems questionable, especially after all the controversy over the arts center that eventually led to a slight cutback of the line but a nice new station...

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkCAIzTHEFl" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
MJ: Good Princeton Planet article...The "PJ&B" is probably some of the best T&E jobs on NJT
taking note to the veteran railroaders that regularly work the Dinky. I remember past write ups
about crew members and how well liked they are by the regular riders.

From what I remember there have been replacement schemes to replace the line in the past such
as converting to a light rail and extending the line further into Princeton Borough. Another was to
pave over the route for a busway operation. To me the best way would be to retain at least four
single unit Arrow Three cars to permanently be assigned to the Dinky operation. It would not make
any sense to attempt to run a two car push-pull train with single level or multilevel cars on this
route. This is the type of line that the current MU cars are best suited for...MACTRAXX
  by andrewjw
I don't understand why a pair of bilevel MUs couldn't be run - they currently run a pair of single level MUs, which will be replaced by bilevel MUs. The reason for a pair is presumably in case of one failure. There are no low clearances - the train runs on bridges for all the major crossings.
AJW: Bilevel MUs? In the case of the Dinky-Maybe...

Have you ever ridden the short five minute scheduled run of the Dinky? The Conductor is normally
working by themselves and has to try and punch and/or collect all tickets during that short ride.
Just one or two on-board cash fares can mean that other tickets can go unserviced. The NJT on-
board $5 penalty charge is a strong deterrent to collecting cash on board but not always...

Placing bilevel MU cars on the Dinky would make the Conductor's job harder in that they would
have to climb stairs and check four distinct levels of a two car train (if the crew size remains the
same) in that same short five minute period. If NJT were to adopt automatic or POP fares then
it would likely not matter which MU car type was used on the route.

NJT will assign two single units or a married pair of A3 cars to the Dinky. There are busy travel
periods in which two cars are best used instead of crowding everyone into one car. The Arrows
have to use the end doors only at Princeton Junction because of the large gap that exists there
for the center doors which is the one drawback concerning their use on the Dinky.

There is one road crossing: Faculty Road on the Princeton end of the line - and one bridge over
US Route 1 which I believe was built in the late 1980s when the road below was widened and
converted into a divided highway replacing an older PRR constructed bridge.

Single level MU cars such as the Arrows are quite adequate for the current state of the Dinky.
The question is will the Dinky remain the same into the future? MACTRAXX
  by Matt Johnson
If they isolated the line, would it still have to be FRA compliant? If not, how much would it cost to convert to this?
  by andrewjw
I've ridden it many times. I happen to be a current student. They currently block off one of the cars (except during Reunions) - they could easily block off one of the levels as well. It would be pretty unpopular though, since so much of the usage is by students going to and from EWR, who often have heavy suitcases. That's my main issue with a busway - I doubt it would have level boarding, which matters a lot.

Also, the conductors rarely add the $5 penalty on board, they usually just charge $3 if someone is not traveling further (adding it for NYC bound tickets).

The only connection to the NEC is the switch at PJC. Some kind of high-level tram could easily serve the line if that connection were severed. I doubt light rail would ever take, since I doubt it would be extended into the town and would be somewhat isolated.

The only reason I'd mention the bilevel MUs is they are the planned replacement for the Arrows, and thus would minimize the special needs of the line.
  by Matt Johnson
How about ripping up the tracks and installing one of these along the right of way?
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