HBLR wrote:Yea, sorry i noticed that after i posted. The main point though is more passenger routes could have been salvaged if EL and CNJ were handled a bit better. Lots of towns went from decent service to absolutely nothing within a few years.
You have to look at the bigger picture of the time. There were not people riding the trains. Ridership was plummeting. it feeds on itself, ridership drops, service is cut, ridership further drops, service is further cut and the cycle continues til the entire service is ended. Also the railroads themselves sometimes helped the decreasing ridership by cutting service and changing schedules to discourage ridership.
This was not just an NJ thing, it was nationwide. The state could only do so much, as the railroads were still private companies. Gov subsiding private companies....sound familar? hmmmmm The biggest problem was property taxes and the burdens placed on the railroads, as the towns still looked at them as cash cows and tried to get every dime possible out of them by charging very high tax rates, and taxing structures, infrastructure, etc.
basically had to "trim the branches to save the tree". The entire system from the 50s and 60s was not sustainable at the time and not for a few decades. MAYBE it could be sustainable today, but even that, i bet there would be a few routes that would have little or very low ridership.
Instead, the system was shrunk, and the focus put on the core lines, and they were rebuilt/upgraded. Say what you want about NJT, but considering what they got and the condition of the infrastructure in the 60s and 70s, the condition of it now is simply amazing. Did they get everything right? Of course not, but a large portion they did and the railroad can be ranked among some of the best in the country. Hopefully in the future, some of the branches cut will be rebuilt and put back in service, but like everything else today, its all political and tied to money.