• 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 25Hz
 
Lame.
  by gg14870
 
Wow, shorten the service anymore and you might as well discontinue it. The station was already a walk into town!
  by Rodney Fisk
 
Time for an UPDATE: Princeton's Alexander Street/University Place Traffic and Transit Task Force is moving into the home stretch.

The transit consultancy URS has evaluated PRT, BRT and LRT as potential replacements for the Dinky and its extension to Nassau Street. PRT has been ruled out and BRT and LRT will continue in evaluation, despite the fact that community resistance to BRT in the recent past was enough to spur the organization of "Save the Dinky" and induce some 200 townsfolk to turn out against NJ Transit's BRT recommendation at a Princeton Council meeting.

The traffic consultancy AECOM has submitted preliminary recommendations that traffic on University Place be one-way north and Alexander Place be one-way south, creating a counter-clockwise circulation from Nassau Street to the new roundabout at AS and UP.

The town has agreed to a dedicated right-of-way up University Place from the old station to Nassau Street. The principal remaining question is how LRT would proceed from the new station around the new Arts Campus to the old station. Additionally whether BRT would proceed to the Junction along the Dinky right-of-way or along Alexander Road--more "bus" than "rapid transit".

A critical remaining charge for the consultants is to determine the effect on both local traffic flow and potential level of transit service of shared vs. segregated rights-of-way. Specifically, what would be the impact of adding some hundred daily trips by a ninety-foot long LRV (half the time with fewer than ten passengers) to the traffic flow along Alexander Street and around University Place to connect with the dedicated light-rail lane up to Nassau Street. And what would be the impact on the new Dinky's goal of meeting virtually all trains at the Junction from being stuck in traffic for a half mile before rejoining the Dinky's existing tracks at the new station.

A new bypass road has been opened to allow reconstruction of the AS/UP intersection into a roundabout with both entrance and exit lanes reduced from three to two. I would argue that the only realistic option at this stage is for an extended rail service to traverse the green space around the new Arts Campus.

As to whether the Dinky should be independently operated, the commissioner of transportation has determined that that decision will rest with NJDOT rather than NJ Transit. The various suits challenging NJ Transit's right to shorten the Dinky tracks from the old to the new station have generally confirmed that right; the one remaining case should be resolved in November.
  by Patrick Boylan
 
What's PRT?
  by lirr42
 
Patrick Boylan wrote:What's PRT?
Personal Rapid Transit, really small pod car things that move on special tracks.
  by electricron
 
The existing "Dinky" is rarely longer than 2 Budd Arrow cars, approximately 160 seats with 2+2 seating. A single 2/8 Stadler GTW could provide 175 seats. GTWs can be configured with low or high floors. They can be DMUs or EMUs. Stadler can provide the EMUs that can use either 1.5KvDC or 15 kvAC,16.7 Hz. For street running in Princeton, like in Camden with 40 meter curve radii, it might be better to use two 2/6 River Line GTWs instead to reach 140 seats, using 1.5 KvDC instead of 15 KvAC. I wouldn't want to use 15KvAC over city streets.
For the three miles distance, a 50 mph streetcar would be fast enough. There's no doubt light rail or a streetcar could run easily in any streets. All that would be required is changing the voltage for the existing catenary. With the hybrid streetcar models available for ordering today, you wouldn't even need to add catenary wires over the streets of Princeton. The fact you don't need to run wires, means you will not have to worry as much about underground utilities under the streets as well. All you would have to do to extend the streetcar is to lay tracks. Running Arrow IIIs in the streets of Princeton will be very difficult to accomplish. Limiting transfers should be a goal, using the same train on the city streets and existing railroad corridor to the Junction makes sense. I've recommended three different ways to do it.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
The Dinky currently operates with two, double-ended Arrow III's, each capable of independent operation; 238 seats total. Together they consume some $160,000 in propulsion energy each year. Peak load on the Dinky is 80; median load of ten.

There is a variety of equipment on the market more suitable to the Dinky than the DMU's and EMU's that Stadler offers. Generally, an EMU is capable of mainline running and costs nearly double that of a streetcar or LRV; propulsion cost is also about double. A DMU involves twice the complexity of an EMU with much slower acceleration. With the catenary in place, electric seems the way to go, with an LRV as fast as the Dinky, with enough seating and with whole-life cost the principal decision criterion. The most economical ones use less than $20,000 per year electrical power. One has a turning radius of fifty feet. Virtually all are available in hybrid form, with either batteries or supercapacitors. It was never even considered to use overhead wire beyond the new station at the university's arts campus. The catenary would draw 13kV AC from PSE&G and convert it to 750V DC to power the new equipment.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
The public meeting on the new Dinky was held on Saturday, and as expected, the consultant showed light rail running in the middle of each single lane to and from the new station to Nassau Street. In that two days earlier the Princeton planning board confirmed wording in the new circulation element of the master plan to "vigorously support the continuation of the Dinky as a rail link to Princeton Junction", it appears that the zombie BRT proposal has been re-entombed. Most of the discussion responded to attendees' suggestions that the Dinky be extended into West Windsor and to Plainsboro, eventually Lawrenceville. Advocates were not dissuaded by a projected initial $900 million price tag to serve perhaps 900 passengers a day.

The main question now is whether it is worth the cost to extend rail service to the town's main street, as opposed to the Dinky terminating where it ends now with a transfer either to a shuttle to Nassau Street or to a mini-BRT traveling around the town.

Does anyone have a handle on the capital cost per mile of laying track in street?
  by 25Hz
 
Rodney Fisk wrote:The public meeting on the new Dinky was held on Saturday, and as expected, the consultant showed light rail running in the middle of each single lane to and from the new station to Nassau Street. In that two days earlier the Princeton planning board confirmed wording in the new circulation element of the master plan to "vigorously support the continuation of the Dinky as a rail link to Princeton Junction", it appears that the zombie BRT proposal has been re-entombed. Most of the discussion responded to attendees' suggestions that the Dinky be extended into West Windsor and to Plainsboro, eventually Lawrenceville. Advocates were not dissuaded by a projected initial $900 million price tag to serve perhaps 900 passengers a day.

The main question now is whether it is worth the cost to extend rail service to the town's main street, as opposed to the Dinky terminating where it ends now with a transfer either to a shuttle to Nassau Street or to a mini-BRT traveling around the town.

Does anyone have a handle on the capital cost per mile of laying track in street?
You will find little support for light rail replacement of the shuttle on here, even from me, and i am a huge trolley/trackless trolley advocate.

That said, it depends what needs to be moved in the ground, traffic signal changes, intersection changes, signage etc, but for putting it in a street with nothing around it'd probably be equivalent to ballasted track if not a tad more.
  by Rodney Fisk
 
The Dinky has consumed some $30 million in operating subsidy since being taken over by NJ Transit. A new light-rail service, extended to Nassau Street, meeting 13 more trains each day at the Junction, operating without a penny of subsidy, seems like something at least worth considering--except "on here" where you and your personal ilk seem fixated on venerating a wretchedly inefficient mode of transporting customers a mere 2.6 miles.

The extension of the Dinky from the new station around the new Arts Campus will be on standard ballasted track, except using recycled-plastic ties, until entering University Place. The in-street system chosen requires no disruption of subsurface utilities, no changes to existing traffic signals, no intersection with road traffic and and just two new signs, and can be installed in four days, compared with three weeks for ballasted trackwork. And at 20% the cost.

I very much appreciate the challenging feedback from this forum; if I can't provide a convincing response here, then what am I going to say publicly before, say, Princeton Council? And thank goodness, there's usually a bit of positive reinforcement, even encouragement, every now and then.

When I summered in Canada some years ago, current was supplied at 25 Hz; the lights flickered.
  by 25Hz
 
Well, a forum is for just that, discussion! And the 25hz system powered by Niagara Falls & some other plants, I believe has been changed over to 60Hz. There was a significant 25hz power grid in southern Ontario, partly due to heavy industry located along the south shore of Lake Ontario. The 25hz distribution substation near the industrial sectors in Hamilton has been totally replaced by a 60hz instalment which I actually saw myself back in 2012.

As far as the shuttle goes... Light rail cannot just be plopped down in place of a real railroad route. It needs to be completely reliable, predictable, and have redundant backup such as a bus so people do not miss their connections at the NEC station. Not only that, but it's a high level platform at both ends currently... How do you propose handling that? Remember, your answer needs to be easy to use and ADA compliment. What will you put as a vehicle that makes curbside stops and is high level compatible?

And as I'm looking at it, there isn't much of a route that you can make without using some pretty damn awkward moves through parking lots and driveways...
  by Patrick Boylan
 
25Hz wrote: As far as the shuttle goes... Light rail ... needs to be completely reliable, predictable, and have redundant backup such as a bus so people do not miss their connections at the NEC station
Each of these points applies to the existing setup. Why should changing the rail operation mean they'd lose the bus backup that I assume the existing setup has? Or is there currently no bus backup? The one time I rode, a summer Saturday in the late 1980's, there was no bus, just a cab driver hollering "the Dinky ain't running"
  by merrick1
 
25Hz wrote:Well, a forum is for just that, discussion! And the 25hz system powered by Niagara Falls & some other plants, I believe has been changed over to 60Hz. There was a significant 25hz power grid in southern Ontario, partly due to heavy industry located along the south shore of Lake Ontario. The 25hz distribution substation near the industrial sectors in Hamilton has been totally replaced by a 60hz instalment which I actually saw myself back in 2012.
Southern Ontario and the Buffalo, New York area had a 25 Hz power grid. Phase out of 25 Hz power started in the 1930s. Residential customers in Ontario were converted to 60 Hz in the 1950's. 25 Hz service in Buffalo ended in 2006 when the distribution system was damaged by a snow storm and the few remaining customers were not willing to pay for repairs. Many of the customers were office buildings in downtown Buffalo with 25 Hz elevators. In Ontario the 25 Hz system continued in operation until 2009 to power industrial customers' arc furnaces.
  by Ken W2KB
 
Patrick Boylan wrote:
25Hz wrote: As far as the shuttle goes... Light rail ... needs to be completely reliable, predictable, and have redundant backup such as a bus so people do not miss their connections at the NEC station
Each of these points applies to the existing setup. Why should changing the rail operation mean they'd lose the bus backup that I assume the existing setup has? Or is there currently no bus backup? The one time I rode, a summer Saturday in the late 1980's, there was no bus, just a cab driver hollering "the Dinky ain't running"
Given the huge NJT bus fleet, NJT will send buses when rail service is interrupted where bus capability can produce a reasonable result. I've experienced that two or three times on the RVL over the past 15 years.
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