Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by njtmnrrbuff
On Sunday, Mercy College where I attend, will be sponsoring a trip up to Woodbury Commons. Now I know, the Port Jervis Line runs like in back of the shopping center. Are there any good areas on the premise of the mall where I could get good shots?
  by njtmnrrbuff
Today, I got to go to Woodbury Commons. Spaces for railfanning are limited. There is a small area almost on the northeastern side of the mall right near the utility pole(not near 17). You cannot get shots of the entire train but engine shots look good there. I saw two trains, both utilizing transit equipment with Transit F40s and Comet 1s. In the past, I've read about proposals for a station there. Well, I agree. In fact, the best place for it to be would probaly be near where I took my shots. If a new station is build, it will attract plenty of people from New York City as well as other places in Jersey. It will take more cars off the road.

  by Lackawanna484
Glad your trip went well.

The area is developing pretty rapidly, but the relatively new station at Harriman has substantial expansion space built into it. I doubt that MN would have a big station at Woodbury Commons in its immediate plans, although it certainly would be a possibility down the road.

  by JFB
There's already a Woodbury Commons shuttle bus that meets weekend (not sure about weekday) trains at Harriman. It has no problem handling the New York crowd, and, unlike a new station, MN doesn't have to pay for it.

I say that's enough. I don't like the idea of moving a station to benefit a privately-run supermall to begin with, and MN will only lose valuable commuter parking space by relegating itself to a corner of the Woodbury lot (keeping the existing station would be a no-go; it's less than a mile from the mall). Besides, any Woodbury-bound passengers for whom the shuttle bus is a deal-breaker would probably be turned off by taking PATH to Hoboken or driving to an intermediate station anyway. Why accommodate the ultra-picky?
  by railtrailbiker
In a stunning reversal, Metro-North Railroad said yesterday that it will not pursue construction of a new train station at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley.
The railroad advised Woodbury Supervisor Sheila Conroy – first by telephone and then by letter – that it was backing away from the plan after championing it for three years over steadfast community opposition.
"From the very beginning, we've felt we were not being listened to about how we know our traffic situation better than anybody, and about how this wasn't the right place for a train station,'' said a jubilant Conroy yesterday. "Well, they finally heard us."
Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North, said the railroad "has always tried to work with the town in good faith."
Woodbury Common executives couldn't be reached.
Only three months ago, Metro-North told Conroy that it remained committed to the project, had completed the $330,000 environmental impact statement and was prepared to move forward.
The supervisor subsequently appealed to Orange County Executive Edward Diana for support, pointing out that a traffic and land-use study that the county is cosponsoring validates the town's position. A preliminary draft of the study was released last month.
In its letter to Conroy, Metro-North says it is "suspending all work on the environmental impact statement" for several reasons:
- The Town of Woodbury Planning Board may bow to community opposition and decline to approve the necessary changes to Woodbury Common's site plan to permit the station's construction and use of 1,800 of the outlet center's 5,750 parking spaces.
- Ridership on the Port Jervis line has fallen off since Sept. 11, 2001, despite the reopening of PATH service to lower Manhattan, the opening of the Secaucus transfer to Midtown, the purchase of new cars and the addition of more trains.
- Demand for parking is being met through additions at other Port Jervis line stations, the opening of NJ Transit's 1,250-car garage in Ramsey, N.J., the pending expansion at Beacon and the revival of commuter ferry service between Newburgh and Beacon.
- Money for the Woodbury Common project was included in the 2000-2004 capital budget and has now been redirected.
- Chelsea Property Group, the owner of Woodbury Common, is being sold to Simon Property Group and Simon may require the railroad to reopen negotiations for building and running the station.
"They're all good reasons, but I think another reason is the negative publicity,'' said Conroy. "They certainly understood there would be more of it and perhaps they have had enough. I can't imagine Simon would want any part of that, either."
Traffic at the 220-store outlet center, an international tourist attraction, regularly chokes the confluence of routes 32, 17 and 6 with the New York State Thruway and presents the town with perpetual opportunities to rail against Metro-North and the prospect of more congestion and pollution.
In addition, the Times-Herald Record has a lawsuit pending against the railroad that seeks public disclosure of its deal with Woodbury Common – specifically how much money it proposes to pay the wealthy outlet-center owner for building the station and leasing a chunk of the parking lot.
And next month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Metro-North's parent agency, will hold public hearings on its proposal to raise fares for the second time in 18 months to offset a $500 million deficit.
Diana, whose support for the station has been wavering in the wake of the traffic study and the town's lobbying, agreed yesterday that the plan was "not in the best interest of the community … [which is] already overburdened by the heaviest traffic congestion in Orange County."
At the same time, Diana urged Metro-North to focus its planning for inevitable future growth in ridership on the 21.5 acres surrounding its Harriman station. The station, about two miles south of Woodbury Common, has a 935-car parking lot and is the busiest of the seven in the county.
Conroy, who spoke with the county executive yesterday, welcomed his support.
"I told Metro-North the same thing, that we believe in mass transit, that we want our commuters to have good access to mass transit and that we are ready and willing to work with them toward that end – at Harriman,'' said Conroy.

http://www.recordonline.com/archive/200 ... ation0.htm

  by njtmnrrbuff
I could now understand why they don't want to build that station at Woodbury. However, I don't think trolleys meet every train. They should inprove the trolley service so that it meets most trains. In fact, they should shuttle back and forth between the commons and Harriman meeting every train on the weekend.

  by JFB
Agreed, but let's remember that the "they" in this case is Woodbury Commons, who benefits from the shuttle far more than does MN. The onus is Woodbury's to increase--and market--shuttle service.

Uh, and it ain't a trolley.

  by roee
JFB wrote:Uh, and it ain't a trolley.
Maybe that's exactly what they need. An oldtyme trolley that runs from the outlets down to the train station and back. And maybe around the mall. I haven't been to woodbury commons in a long time, but I'm sure you could have a double decker trolley run down the sidewalk, and then make a shuttle down along the ROW to the station. (I'm assuming the ROW is quite close to the mall if they planned to put a station in there). This would avoid the traffic that the 'trolley' has now, and it could be a quaint little feature, and would probably get more use that way. I was in a Mall in LA that had a trolley running around it, The Grove


The Grove Trolley

  by Lackawanna484
That's a very impressive trolley!

  by SecaucusJunction
No way ridership can be down on the Port Jervis Line. Sounds like an excuse to me. The rush hour trains in the PM are packed. The New Secaucus to Harriman train has 5 cars... all filled. The new 7:45 Suffern train has 4 cars, all filled. Not to mention the high numbers of passengers on the weekends and holidays.

  by Nasadowsk
Interesting. It uses inductive pickup to get it's power.

It's electric.

Not overhead.

Not third rail.

Inductive pickup.

Hmm, but doesn't that make it not a trolley? :)
  by LI Loco
I know this has been brought up before, but sitting in 10 mile-backups on the NY Thruway today approaching Exit 16 (Harriman/Woodbury) from both south and north reinforced the need for transportation alternatives to the Woodbury Commons outlet center. The center, with hundreds of outlets for luxury brands, sits just a few hundred yards west of the Metro North's Port Jervis line.

Admittedly today's traffic was prompted by an unusual combination of circumstances - a major storm that kept people whom on Saturday and back-t-school shopping. However, it is clear that Woodbury Commons' lacks adequate parking for peak periods, and the overflow is spilling onto the Thruway as far back as the Sloatsburg rest stop and Exit 17 in Newburgh. It deperately needs transportation alternatives.

The Port Jervis line could play a huge role in this, however, in previous postings it has been pointed out that at this location the line runs through an environmentally sensitive wetlands area, which preclude construction of a depot.

Could the line be rerouted to come closer to the outlet mall? Could a station be constructed just to the north and connected by shuttle buses?

IMHO, Woodbury Commons should be compelled to help finance some of these improvements since it has caused the congestion.
  by FEC_Fan
Metro-North would gladly build a station at Woodbury Common. Wetlands issues could have been overcome, and an Environmental Impact Statement was in the process of being prepared. However, the town of Woodbury effectively stopped it dead because of concerns over an increase in traffic and congestion. In fact, the area leading to Woodbury Commons is subjected to the worst traffic and congestion of all Orange County, and residents are fed up with it. They've stopped the mall from expanding, and are forcing the operator of WC to more effectively manage the parking/congestion issues. See this story for more details.

For the foreseeable future, you can forget a station at the mall. There IS a shuttle bus that runs (weekends only) from Harriman station to the mall. Look here for information. Granted, it's very restrictive in terms of connections, but it's better than nothing.

Let's not forget the fact that most people, given the choice between driving and all the hassles it entails, and taking the train, will still drive. Imagine dragging all those shopping bags on a shuttle bus, then a train, then the subway, then another train, then walking home from the station...people ain't gonna do it.

  by LI Loco
That article is five years old and nothing has been done. Woodbury Commons needs to be compelled to take action to ameliorate the situation. If Orange County won't force them to act, then the state should since their traffic volume interferes with people and trucks destined to places elsewhere in upstate such as Albany, the Adirondacks and Sullican County.

  by njtmnrrbuff
It would be nice for MN to build a station adjacient to Woodbury Commons, as the right of way passes a few feet below the parking lots. However, MN would have to build their own lot on the wetlands. Harriman is close enough and some buses meet trains there.