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  1. #46
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    That's great news. There's been a couple of times when I wanted to use that line but couldn't because it was the weekend.

  2. #47
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Cool Scranton-Hoboken Rail Line may become reality

    Scranton-N.J. rail line could help ease commuter woes

    BY ROBERT SWIFT
    HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF
    10/10/2007

    As commuter traffic from Monroe County to New York City continues to worsen, local leaders predict it's only a matter of time before passenger train service through the Poconos becomes a reality.

    "The train is going to come," said Poconos builder Larry Simon, chairman of LTS Builder and Realty. "I think that is inevitable if the political hurdles in New Jersey can be surmounted."

    The dream of a commuter rail link to New York City has been alive since the 1980s, when local rail authorities began purchasing miles of abandoned rail freight track in the Poconos.

    Public patience has been tested as a series of unofficial train startup dates over the years slipped by unmet.

    Area transit officials believe the train will be propelled into existence by a compelling demographic trend: The 20,000 commuters going from Monroe to the New York metro region each workday could double to 40,000 by 2020.

    Since Interstate 80 can barely handle rush-hour traffic now, the necessity for a commuter rail is becoming more and more apparent, said Larry Malski, chief operating officer of the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Rail Authority.

    The project

    The estimated $550 million project is envisioned as a 133-mile line linking Hoboken, N.J., with Scranton, where a new transportation hub is taking shape. If the vision is realized, there would be nine eastbound commuter trains and nine westbound trains running daily.

    The project calls for building a Scranton yard facility at the western end of the line where trains would be serviced. The rail yard would be adjacent to the planned Scranton Intermodal Transportation Center, concentrating train, bus and taxi service on Lackawanna Avenue.

    Boosters anticipate great things from this nexus.

    "I think it is a great opportunity for growth for us," said state Rep. Ken Smith, D- Dunmore, who wrote a law this year to convey a parcel of state property for the center. "We hope people will see Northeast Pennsylvania as a very vibrant place to live and be able to commute into the city."

    Determining factors

    The rail line's future will be determined by several factors, including approval by the Federal Transit Administration of an environmental impact study, a meeting of the minds between the regional rail authority and New Jersey, and overcoming the competitive funding process overseen by the FTA.

    The environmental analysis is a key document. For example, the FTA evaluates projects based on their ability to reduce auto emissions, a contributor to ozone. Reductions in emissions can help the region comply with federal air-quality standards. The environmental report discussed at public meetings this year concludes the trains would have little impact on the region's wetlands and other natural habitat, but suggests steps would need to be taken to create "quiet zones" at grade crossings in residential areas.

    NJ Transit has a big say in how fast the project will move forward because it will operate the trains. NJ Transit has to make a decision on rebuilding track at the Lackawanna Cutoff, a 28-mile stretch of right of way that constitutes a missing link on the line.

    NJ Transit is engaged in a $7.5 billion project to build a new trans-Hudson River rail tunnel linking New Jersey with Manhattan and a new passenger station on 34th Street. This is the centerpiece of a plan to expand commuter service in the Northeast corridor. If Manhattan can't accommodate more passengers, it doesn't do much good to add service to outlying areas, officials say.


    "Our project is critical to New Jersey," said Jack Kanarek, senior director of project development for NJ Transit. "It's needed to allow our existing system to continue to grow. It will provide capacity for future lines. The Lackawanna Cutoff is one of those future lines."

    Cost concerns

    On the crucial question of how costs should be apportioned to bring passenger service to the Poconos, officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania are only at the discussion stage, said Mr. Kanarek.

    In the FTA's lexicon, the Scranton-Hoboken commuter rail is considered a "New Start" project. The FTA releases about $1.5 billion in federal funds annually for New Start projects, said agency spokesman Paul Griffo.

    FTA officials decide which projects receive money through a highly competitive process evaluating such factors as cost-effectiveness, operating efficiency and environmental impact.

    For the first time, Pennsylvania will provide money to help New Start projects pay for capital expenses. The new transportation law enacted in the summer provides up to $50 million annually for such projects. That pot of money will be divvied up among projects across the state, however.

    Vital link

    To some, a commuter rail line evokes thoughts of more than just a ribbon of steel through mountainous terrain.

    "That is the literal and figurative link between the Scranton area and the Poconos," said Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Avoca.

    Contact the writer: rswift@timesshamrock.com

  3. #48
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    "I think it is a great opportunity for growth for us," said state Rep. Ken Smith, D- Dunmore, who wrote a law this year to convey a parcel of state property for the center. "We hope people will see Northeast Pennsylvania as a very vibrant place to live and be able to commute into the city.""

    That's the problem not a benefit of this proposal. "A great opportunity for growth" for NE Pennsylvania means more suburban sprawl to replace forested valleys. More fuel consumption to ferry people longer distances to and from work, school, and home. Just stupid and inefficient. More oil $$$ leaving America for Dubai and Saudi Arabia, higher trade deficits. Also, more subsidies for roads and other infrastructure for far-off developments.

    Zone for higher density closer to the CBD, and keep the wilderness off limits to Walmarts and McMansions.

  4. #49
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    Exclamation NJTransit Rules

    No litter or loud talkers, NJ Transit launches campaign

    by The Associated Press Sunday October 14, 2007, 6:21 PM

    People who gab on the cell phone, spread their belongings across a number of seats or listen to loud music are being targeted by a new NJ Transit campaign.

    The agency is launching a courtesy campaign aimed to curb the practices that drive many commuters crazy. As part of the campaign, the agency is putting up posters on all trains by the end of the month that feature pictures of people venting about many of the problems that commuters complain to NJ Transit about.

    "The posters are a social safety valve," Doug Bown, president of the New Jersey Association of Railroad Passengers told the Asbury Park Press for today's newspapers. "Instead of having to initiate your case, you can point to the poster."

    One poster shows a woman whose mouth is wide open, appearing to be screaming, under the words "How many seats do you need?" Another poster shows a man plugging his ears with his fingers under the words "I can't take the noise!"

    The campaign came about after complaints from riders increased by 30 percent as of May, said Lynn Bowersox, an NJ Transit spokeswoman. About half of all complaints the agency receives are about loud talking.

  5. #50
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    Thumbs up Wesr Trenton Line Public Hearings

    NJ TRANSIT TO HOST MEETINGS ON PROPOSED WEST TRENTON RAIL LINE
    Public invited to comment on plan at Hillsborough and Ewing


    November 20, 2007
    Contact: Dan Stessel (973) 491-7078

    NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT is inviting the public to meetings in Somerset and Mercer counties to learn about and comment on a proposal to restore passenger rail service on the West Trenton Line.

    The proposed 27-mile line would link the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) West Trenton Station in Ewing (Mercer County) to NJ TRANSIT’s Raritan Valley Line in Bridgewater (Somerset County). Service on the Raritan Valley Line continues to Newark Penn Station.

    New stations are proposed in Ewing, Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough, Montgomery and Hillsborough. The line would provide additional transportation options in central New Jersey and promote Smart Growth planning and land-use principles near the stations, reducing roadway congestion.

    The public meetings are scheduled for 4-8 p.m. on November 29 at the Hillsborough Township Municipal Complex, 379 South Branch Road, Hillsborough and December 6 at the Ewing community/Senior Center, the former JCC building, 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing.

    Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment will be accepted at the meetings and until January 15, 2008 by mail sent to Thomas Clark, Office of Government and Community Relations, NJ TRANSIT, One Penn Plaza East, Newark, NJ 07105-2245 or by email at WestTrentonEA@njtransit.com.

    Funding has not been identified for the project, estimated to cost $219 million.

  6. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCMAN320 View Post
    NJ TRANSIT TO HOST MEETINGS ON PROPOSED WEST TRENTON RAIL LINE
    Public invited to comment on plan at Hillsborough and Ewing


    November 20, 2007
    Contact: Dan Stessel (973) 491-7078

    NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT is inviting the public to meetings in Somerset and Mercer counties to learn about and comment on a proposal to restore passenger rail service on the West Trenton Line.

    The proposed 27-mile line would link the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) West Trenton Station in Ewing (Mercer County) to NJ TRANSIT’s Raritan Valley Line in Bridgewater (Somerset County). Service on the Raritan Valley Line continues to Newark Penn Station.

    New stations are proposed in Ewing, Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough, Montgomery and Hillsborough. The line would provide additional transportation options in central New Jersey and promote Smart Growth planning and land-use principles near the stations, reducing roadway congestion.

    The public meetings are scheduled for 4-8 p.m. on November 29 at the Hillsborough Township Municipal Complex, 379 South Branch Road, Hillsborough and December 6 at the Ewing community/Senior Center, the former JCC building, 999 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing.

    Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment will be accepted at the meetings and until January 15, 2008 by mail sent to Thomas Clark, Office of Government and Community Relations, NJ TRANSIT, One Penn Plaza East, Newark, NJ 07105-2245 or by email at WestTrentonEA@njtransit.com.

    Funding has not been identified for the project, estimated to cost $219 million.

    Wow. The northeast corridor is really trying to make transportations sans automobiles more convenient and efficient. This along with the one about the Poconos rail line are good projects.

  7. #52
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    It is very refreshing to see that New Jersey is taking a very proactive approach to try and limit car use. Expansion or reuse of rail lines is always a positive note.

  8. #53

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    I know that in July NJ Transit issued a press release announcing their second double-decker train set. It has been pretty quiet since then, even though I happen to know that they added a third set in early August. Does anyone have an idea of how many double-decker sets are currently operating on the Northeast Corridor line, and during which time slots?

  9. #54
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    Thumbs up West Trenton Up and Running?

    All aboard?

    Sunday, December 02, 2007
    BY ANDREW KITCHENMAN

    EWING -- The West Trenton Train Station is quiet after the weekday morning rush hour, the parking lot and platform reduced to gravel after years of use as the end of a Pennsylvania commuter line.

    When the number of passengers on NJ Transit's West Trenton line dwindled to 200 in 1982, the agency pulled the plug, leaving the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) to maintain the station.

    While many proposals to revive the line have been floated in the past 25 years, recent studies on restarting the line are more advanced than at any time since the line ended. The public will have a chance to weigh in on the potential revival of a second Mercer County rail link to North Jersey at a public meeting Thursday in Ewing.

    "This is something that should be a priority from both a state and a federal perspective," Assemblyman W. Reed Gusciora, D-Princeton Borough, said of the line.

    The projected $219 million project's future is uncertain because NJ Transit hasn't figured out how it will pay for the project and has listed other projects ahead of West Trenton in the line for funding. However, local officials are intensely interested in seeing whether the line can be revived, providing relief for residents interested in traveling north without using the heavily used Northeast Corridor line.

    "We're going to have to take a look at ideas like reopening the WT line simply because of the pressures that are on our system already," Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said.

    The rail line was first built in the 1870s by the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad and continued as a passenger line under various owners for more than 100 years. The line is still maintained south of the West Trenton Station by SEPTA, which uses it for its R3 line. North of West Trenton, CSX Transportation maintains a single track for freight traffic.

    The project would include a series of improvements, including new tracks and train cars; a new rail yard and 90 new parking spaces in West Trenton, as well as new stations in West Trenton, near Interstate 95 in Hopewell Township, Hopewell Borough, the Belle Mead section of Montgomery, and Hillsborough. The 27-mile line would link with the NJ Transit's Raritan Valley line in Bridgewater before heading to Newark, where passengers would transfer to go to New York.

    The new stations would be basic structures with canopies and windscreens to protect passengers from the elements, according to NJ Transit spokesman Joseph Dee. The exception is the Belle Mead station, where an existing structure could be renovated. There also is a small red-brick building in West Trenton, but the large original West Trenton Station was sold in 1989 to Clarke Caton Hintz, an architectural firm that renovated the building for office use.


    Hopewell Township Mayor Vanessa Sandom said she supports the concept in a general way, but township officials want to know the plan's specifics, such as the exact location of stations.

    "As a concept, whenever you move people out of car and into mass transit, the state as a whole benefits, and that includes Hopewell Township," Sandom said. "I think there's a great deal of interest in the town."

    Sandom wants to make sure that parking and traffic concerns are worked out by NJ Transit.

    A $3.3 million environmental assessment found the project would have no significant impact on either the environment, traffic or the historical heritage of the area around the line.

    Jack Kanarek, NJ Transit senior director of project development, said the assessment was done with the expectation that it wouldn't cause problems because the line has been used in the past.

    "The goal of these documents is to plan for the project," Kanarek said.

    NJ Transit plans to finalize the assessment after the public comment period closes. From that point forward, nothing is certain.

    "There just isn't any funding that's available," Kanarek said.

    If the agency finds a way to restart the line, the trip from West Trenton to Newark's Penn Station would be one hour and 20 minutes, which is longer than the trip from the Trenton Train Station to Newark, which ranges from 45 minutes to one hour and 20 minutes de pending on the time and the number of stops.

    NJ Transit projects that the West Trenton line would generate 2,660 daily trips by 2025 if the line was restarted.


    Ewing resident Steve Carroll said it would be convenient to start trips to visit friends in Boston by taking a train from West Trenton.

    "It would be nice to park right here," said Carroll, whose family operates Carroll Service Center, a Gulf gas station across Railroad Avenue from the West Trenton station.

    Ewing Mayor Jack Ball said the possible rail line could relieve local traffic to employers like Merrill Lynch.

    "I definitely think it would be of benefit to our residents and I think it's important to encourage people to use mass transit," said Ball, who cautioned that the state's difficult financial straits could make funding the project difficult.

    Mercer County Freeholder Lucy Walter noted that these trips would provide relief for local drivers, as well as the Northeast Corridor trains. That line's Hamilton and Princeton Junction stations are at or exceeding their parking capacity. Walter urged the county to support the expansion.

    "I think Mercer County and cer tainly the whole corridor that we live in is heavily populated," Walter said. "Everybody knows that and we can't keep putting cars on the roads."

    Walter, a Ewing resident, said the project should be a priority for both NJ Transit and the federal government.

    "This project should have been in place long before all of the hous ing developments were allowed to be built," Walter said.

    On a recent day at the West Trenton Station, New York resident Elijah Rodrigez said he would like to be able to take a northbound train from West Trenton. He was returning from a week visiting his girlfriend and newborn son in Lower Moreland, Pa.

    Rodrigez said he took a taxi from Trenton to Ewing to take the R3 to its Bethayres station.

    "That would be a whole lot more convenient," he said of a new rail line.

    The public meeting on the draft environmental assessment will be Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Ewing Senior/Community Center, 999 Lower Ferry Road. NJ Transit will accept comments on the plan until Jan. 15.

    NJ Transit's board of directors would then decide whether to have the project advance to a preliminary design.

    Even if the board of directors decides to proceed, many details would have to be worked out. These include reaching an agreement with CSX on splitting the line's use between commuter and freight, as well as Merrill Lynch's concern that no parking be located on its side of the proposed Interstate 95 station.

    Both Gusciora and Hughes expressed hope the next federal administration could bolster the project's chances by increasing funding for mass transit.

    The assessment is available on the Web at www.njtransit.com, under the system expansion section of the capital projects page.


    Contact Andrew Kitchenman at akitchenman@njtimes.com or (609) 989-5706.

  10. #55
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Arrow Pay?

    Scranton-Hoboken railroad - who pays?

    by Carly Thursday December 27, 2007, 11:38 AM

    The Scranton Times-Tribune published a list today of Pennsylvania county projects and the earmark funds used to pay for them. Included in that list is the Scranton to Hoboken passenger train - $1.3 million was earmarked to continue planning the somewhat controversial rail line.

    In total, the train is estimated to cost $550 million and will be a 133-mile line link from Hoboken to Scranton, where a new transportation hub is being built. Once completed, there would be nine eastbound commuter trains and nine westbound trains running daily.

    Supporters say the train will alleviate rush-hour traffic on Route 80, as Pennsylvania towns like Scranton and Easton have become NYC commuting hot spots. From Hoboken, train riders can take the PATH into the Manhattan. Those against the rail line say the plan would waste hundreds of millions of dollars and bring suburban sprawl to the Poconos.

  11. #56
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    133 miles seems very long for a commuter rail line. It doesn't seem too practical.

  12. #57

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    The line makes perfect sense and will be a big success.

    Northeast PA is the fastest growing part of metro NYC. In fact, it is the fastest growing part of the U.S. Northeast.

  13. #58

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    Does anyone know anything about the big station they built next to Route 80 in the Ledgewood / Succassuna area? Exit 30-ish. I saw it when I was going home for the holidays and was very surprised... it's not really a big train area.

    You would think a project that large would be on their NJ Transit capital improvements page but I can't find it.

  14. #59

  15. #60
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    NJ TRANSIT CELEBRATES OPENING OF NEW WAYNE/ROUTE 23 TRANSIT CENTER
    Intermodal facility opens to bus commuters on January 12; rail service begins January 14


    January 11, 2008
    NJT-08-006

    NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles joined Assemblyman Scott T. Rumana and new Wayne Mayor Christopher P. Vergano to celebrate the opening of the new Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center, which will offer commuters along routes 23, 46 and Interstate 80 greater public transportation flexibility and more convenience.

    The intermodal facility—which offers express bus, local bus and train service—opens to bus commuters tomorrow, January 12, with rail service beginning Monday, January 14.

    "This project brings two modes of transit service to one location, offering improved access to public transportation for both bus and rail customers," said Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Kris Kolluri. "With its convenient location, the new facility will help to relieve congestion along busy routes 23, 46 and Interstate 80."

    "We are pleased to have worked with NJ TRANSIT on the Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center, which will ensure the long-term availability of parking for Wayne residents and area commuters along this heavily-traveled corridor," said Assemblyman and former Wayne Mayor Rumana.

    "The Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center is part of a new generation of NJ TRANSIT facilities that maximizes flexibility and choice for customers," said Sarles. "This new facility serves as a model of an intermodal hub where commuters can easily turn off the highway and step aboard a bus or train."

    "Projects like the Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center are key to ensuring the mobility of the region, offering commuters easy access to transportation options and the ability to leave their cars behind," said Susan Bass Levin, Deputy Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, which helped fund the project.

    "We welcome the addition of the Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center to our community and are excited that this new transit hub will serve as a model of intermodalism for the state," said Vergano.

    On weekdays starting Monday, January 14, the Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center will be served by trains on the Montclair-Boonton Line, offering customers a new level of travel flexibility with 22 trains per day—eight inbound to Hoboken and 14 outbound. (Mountain View Station will remain open.)

    The new facility also will provide more than 1,000 parking spaces, heated shelters and bus service seven days a week. In addition, NJ TRANSIT has created a new bus route—the 324 Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center-New York Express line—to provide frequent express service between the new facility and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan.

    The Transit Center will also be served by the 194 Newfoundland-New York route and the new 198 William Paterson University-New York route (weekends only). Local service will be offered on the 75 Butler-Newark line (weekday peak periods only) and the 748 Paterson-Willowbrook line (Monday-Saturday).

    Portions of the Mothers Park & Ride (located one mile north of the new facility) will remain open with weekday-only bus service and new hours of operation. Effective Monday, January 14, the new hours for New York bus departures will be 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Return service to Mothers will be available throughout the day via the 194 and 324 lines.

    With the opening of the new Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center, the Willowbrook Park & Ride also will become a weekday-only operation. The Willowbrook Shoppers’ Stop will continue to be served seven days a week.


    In September 2006, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors awarded a $16.3 million contract to J.H. Reid General Contractor of South Plainfield for construction of the facility, which includes an ADA-accessible high-level train platform, bus-boarding areas and a 1,000-space surface parking lot. The project also included equipping the facility with canopies and heated waiting areas for passenger comfort, as well as passenger information displays.

    Located on a 10-acre parcel at the West Belt Road Interchange near the intersection of routes 23, 46 and Interstate 80, the new Wayne/Route 23 Transit Center is directly accessible from Route 23, eliminating the need for commuters to use local roads.

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