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Thread: New Jersey Transit

  1. #1
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    Default New Jersey Transit

    NY Times
    September 15, 2005

    No Middle Ground, to Riders' Delight


    A prototype of New Jersey Transit's new two-level trains, on display Wednesday at Newark Penn Station. Each train will have about 225 more seats.

    By PATRICK McGEEHAN
    NEWARK, Sept. 14 - New Jersey Transit officials offered commuters a glimpse of their train-riding future here on Wednesday and it was not drab, rigid or strictly horizontal. But what clearly was most appealing to all who beheld it was that it would eliminate the chance of spending more than an hour a day pressed between two strangers.

    "The middle seat is gone," cheered Maxine Marshall, who commutes from Plainfield, N.J., to work for a trust company in Jersey City.

    Well, it is not gone yet. The gleaming vehicle that had Ms. Marshall grinning was a prototype of New Jersey Transit's first bilevel passenger car, which will not be in service for at least a year. It was unveiled on Wednesday at a ceremony at Newark Penn Station.

    But in late 2006, the railroad plans to start running the first batch of 100 cars to ease crowding on its trains into and out of Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan. Those trains are rapidly approaching full capacity during the rush hours, and there is no room in the tunnel or at Penn Station for additional trains.

    The only solution is to squeeze more people onto each train, and the most comfortable way to do that is to add a second level, said Jack Lettiere, the state's commissioner of transportation and the chairman of New Jersey Transit. With two levels, the cars hold more passengers, even though there are only two seats on each side of the aisle. A typical 10-car train will have 1,375 seats, or about 225 more than on a comparable train today.

    "That dreaded middle seat is the bane of commuters' existence," said Mr. Lettiere, who was on hand for the unveiling. "It becomes a place where people pile things to keep others from sitting there. It's not what the customer wants."

    The railroad's officials said they had figured out what passengers wanted by asking them. A group of riders, including Ms. Marshall, visited Bombardier, the Canadian company that is building the cars, and shared their opinions about how the cars should look and feel.

    Aside from the two-by-two seating, Ms. Marshall said she particularly liked the "soothing" blue walls and seat covers and the "not too bright, not too dark" lighting. She said they were a significant improvement over the brown benches on some of the railroad's older trains.

    "You don't feel too closed in," she said, adding that she would most likely choose to sit on the lower level because she was unsure about her ability to walk down the stairs while the train was moving.

    The cars will have about 65 seats on each level. Each seat has about one inch more legroom than on the railroad's existing cars, said Richard R. Sarles, an assistant executive director who is overseeing the acquisition of the cars.

    The money to buy the first 100 cars, for about $1.9 million each, came from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. John S. Wisniewski, a Democratic assemblyman from Parlin, N.J., who is the chairman of the transportation committee, described the Port Authority's chairman, Anthony R. Coscia, as "our rich uncle."

    But New Jersey Transit already has ordered 131 more of the bilevel cars, and the state will have to come up with its own money for those. Mr. Lettiere said that he was confident there would be enough federal funding to pay for the second batch of cars.

    The new cars will run on the railroad's main Northeast Corridor Line between Trenton and Manhattan and on its North Jersey Coast Line and Midtown Direct routes into Penn Station. At 14 feet, 6 inches high, they barely clear the tunnel under the Hudson River, which is owned by Amtrak. Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road have already spent about $2 million clearing obstacles at Penn Station to make way for bilevel cars that come in from Long Island, an Amtrak official said.

    To make New Jersey Transit's new model fit, Bombardier had to shave the front and rear corners off the roof, giving the car the profile of a giant harmonica. But as Mr. Wisniewski said, the railroad's passengers will be more concerned about what is inside.

    "These are comfortable seats," he said. "The air-conditioning works really well in there. And there are no middle seats."


    A prototype of New Jersey Transit's new two-level trains, unveiled yesterday in Newark. The trains will begin running in late 2006.

  2. #2

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    They look alot like LIRRs double deckers. I'm glad to see it's 2x2 seating.

  3. #3
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    The prototype has a face only a mother could love. Was the Tin-Man its designer?

  4. #4

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    The interiors of these trains will be a great improvement, but the exterior design shows that New Jersey Transit has no interest in whatever riders can be added by projecting a glamorous image.

    This is in marked contrast to European trains, which project images of speed and elegance with swoopy exterior design and slick livery.

  5. #5

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    It already looks like it's been involved in an accident.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ablarc
    This is in marked contrast to European trains, which project images of speed and elegance with swoopy exterior design and slick livery.
    True, compared to Stockholm's new commuter trains, this is pretty sub-par looks-wise. But the rules for passenger cars are way diffrent in the US compared to the EU, which result in US trains looking much more robust. Still, the new NJtrans trains look like they've gone in for that anti-design look.
    Last edited by Swede; September 20th, 2005 at 08:48 PM.

  7. #7

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    Is this train running yet? I will be in MY this April and hope to travel from Newark to Manhattan

  8. #8
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Default Late 2006.

    Take PATH or NJ Transit. PATH gets you right to Ground Zero.

  9. #9

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    The double deckers are not running in service yet. Still stuck with single level coaches for some time.

  10. #10
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    In Test, Someone Forgot to Tell Double-Decker Train to Duck


    By VINCENT M. MALLOZZI
    July 22, 2006

    New Jersey Transit and Amtrak have gotten their signals crushed during a test run of one of the double-decker trains that will begin carrying riders this fall.

    On June 8, the first of New Jersey Transit’s planned fleet of 231 two-tiered rail cars, which cost roughly $1.9 million each, shipped out on a midnight test run to New York.

    Built taller and wider than traditional suburban commuter trains, the bilevel train had trouble passing through one of the two tunnels heading into Pennsylvania Station, tearing down two signals as it chugged past the west end of Track 5.

    Cliff Black, a spokesman for Amtrak, which owns much of the track that New Jersey Transit uses, confirmed that the train had done some damage during its test run, and attributed the problem to signals that were hanging too low from the tunnel ceiling. He said that no passengers were on board that night, and that the train’s engineer and its conductors were not injured.

    “As a result of this incident, a test was made within the station to review any signals that might not comply with the new bilevel equipment,’’ Mr. Black said. “Any noncompliant signals will be adjusted.’’

    Hélène V. Gagnon, a senior director of communications for Bombardier, the Canadian company that made the bilevel trains, said adjustments were being made to ensure that track signals were placed in the proper positions to accommodate the measurements of the new trains.

    “We run the cars on low speed to verify whether they clear all elements on the routes where they will eventually run, such as tunnels, tracks and signals,’’ Ms. Gagnon said. “It was determined by Amtrak that its signals department had installed signal lights that did not conform to the Amtrak clearance profile.’’

    By that, Ms. Gagnon meant that Bombardier was not responsible for last month’s incident.

    “The bottom line is that Bombardier’s new rail cars were within the clearance envelope allowed by Amtrak,’’ she said. “And if the signals were properly located, the car should have cleared all signals.’’

    Ms. Gagnon said she was told by Amtrak that an estimated 25 signals had recently been installed by a new company, and that the new signals hung lower from the ceilings of the two tunnels than those they had replaced. “We are confident that Amtrak will take appropriate actions to ensure clearance of the new cars,’’ she said.

    Mr. Black said Amtrak “did not know for sure if the signals were installed incorrectly, but they certainly did not conform to the profile.’’

    As for the rail cars themselves, Mr. Black said, “As far as we know, they are compliant.’’

    Dan Stessel, a spokesman for New Jersey Transit, said the train that tore down the signals suffered only “minor cosmetic damages.’’


    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  11. #11

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    Mr. Black said Amtrak “did not know for sure if the signals were installed incorrectly, but they certainly did not conform to the profile.’’
    We don't know for sure that a crime actually took place, but we do know that a man with a ski mask and revolver sprinted out of the bank with a sack of money --after pointing the revolver at a bank teller.

  12. #12
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    from the Times Trenton
    Multilevel trains pull into stations today
    Monday, December 11, 2006BY MICHAEL LAVITT
    Special to the Times

    The man standing at the train station stooped down to peer in the window of the train car's lower level, just a foot or so above the platform in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
    "You can ride it starting Monday," said someone who was getting off the train.
    "NJ Transit?" asked the man, who was waiting for one of NJ Transit's more conventional trains.
    Yes, NJ Transit. The state's first production set of multilevel vehicles or MLVs will start carrying passengers starting today with a noon departure from Trenton that is scheduled to reach New York at 1:27 p.m.
    The late Tuesday night-early Wednesday morning trip along the Northeast Corridor was one of the final shakedown trips for the all-new train cars that will be NJ Transit's first without a middle seat.
    NJ Transit allowed a journalist to ride the three-car train that was staffed by the railroad's engineering and operations personnel as well as some contractors who worked on the project.
    The idea was to simulate day-to-day operations as closely as possible without actually carrying passengers, stopping at stations along the Northeast Corridor as it would in normal service. The crew opened the train doors as they would when picking up passengers.
    But there were a couple of notable differences. First, the train had just three cars. And they were pulled by a diesel engine that night instead of one of the electric locomotives that normally ply the Northeast Corridor.
    Also, in order to avoid having this special train delay other traffic on the corridor, Amtrak dispatchers told the crew to skip stops at Princeton Junction and Hamilton.
    Based on my round trip between New Brunswick and Trenton, the new cars appear to live up to their promise of providing a better experience for commuters and other riders.

    Cruising along at more than 80 mph between New Brunswick and Princeton Junction, the ride was smooth and quiet on the upper level. "You really don't feel it," said John F. Squitieri, NJ Transit's director of equipment and design and program manager for the MLVs.
    The train cars will be qualified to run at 100 mph and eventually 125 mph, he added. But you won't see them running that fast in regular service.
    The sculpted seat backs provide better support while also offering 25.27 inches of seat pitch or leg room, a full inch more than you get on NJ Transit's Comet V cars, the newest before today's introduction of the MLVs. Each seat is 2.2 inches wider than those on the Comet Vs, and you'll never have people sitting on both sides of you.
    In fact, there will be two single seats at each end of the cars' upper levels, one with a small luggage rack next to it, near the stairs that lead to the mezzanine level where passengers will enter and leave the train.
    Commuters have a way of finding the best place to sit, so you'll have to be one of the first few people to board if you want one of those coveted seats.
    The seats are covered in two tones of blue vinyl that have a clothlike look and texture. A focus group of passengers from different NJ Transit lines helped select the covering.
    "Ninety-nine percent of the people voted for vinyl," Squitieri said. They believed the vinyl seats would stay cleaner than cloth.
    The seat backs are made of a white plastic that Squitieri said has a coating that will make them resistant to graffiti and easy to clean.
    One tradeoff with the sculpted seats is that they won't flip in different directions, so half the people on a car will be facing backward. But Squitieri said the focus group members felt the tradeoff was worth the additional comfort.
    In addition, not having latching mechanisms means there will be one less thing for NJ Transit to maintain.

    "There are a lot of features that I like and the passengers will like," Conductor Douglas Ritchey said. "You have a clear line of sight from the vestibule. I can see all of my passengers."
    The conductor said some passengers on current trains flip seats so they face each other, put their feet up and place their bags next to them, effectively taking up four seats. They won't be able to do that with the new seats in a fixed position.
    Ritchey said he didn't think the four steps up and down would present a problem for crew or passengers. Crew members "basically walk back and forth to Manhattan all day," he said. "I don't know anybody who's going to be afraid of some stairs."
    In addition to the customer focus groups, NJ Transit engaged conductors, engineers and maintenance staff in designing the new trains, Squitieri said.
    "There are definitely a lot of things that will help us in day-to-day operations," Ritchey said.
    Squitieri said months of testing had shown the need for minor changes, mostly adjustments to software for such things as the public address system, brake forces and environmental controls. Temperatures couldn't be well maintained on older trains, but the MLVs have four temperature zones per car, each with its own sensor.
    All three levels have adequate headroom with a ceiling height of 6 feet 4 inches on the upper and lower levels.
    Only the upper level has overhead racks, while the lower level has coat hooks that fold down from the walls. A fairly full backpack designed to hold a laptop computer was a tight fit on the rack but could be squeezed in.
    Passengers with large suitcases or a lot of packages will probably want to stay on the mezzanine.
    The mezzanine level at each end of the car will have seats that flip down from the side wall of the train. Those seats have lower backs than the ones on the upper and lower levels.

    When the seats are folded up, the area can be used for passengers with wheelchairs or bicycles. There's also a padded "leaning station" that several passengers will be able to use to take the weight off their feet without sitting.
    Most cars will have two doors at each end of the car leading to the mezzanine level. Cars with engineer cabs will have only one door on the end where the cab is located.
    The new cars pack in a number of other passenger-friendly features. There will be call buttons in each car and in each restroom that passengers can push to request help in an emergency.
    Destination signs in the cars will show where the request came from, so crew members will know where the problem is. They will be able to ask what the problem is over the intercom, and passengers will be able to respond.
    "More than 50 percent of the cars will have toilets," Squitieri said. All 127 cab cars will have restrooms, while 132 coach cars will also have rest rooms. There will be 142 more without restrooms.
    The sinks also have a lip around the corner that should help to keep water from splashing onto the floor. The restrooms have a more finished appearance than the industrial-looking ones on older trains.
    All the restrooms comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, providing enough room to turn a wheelchair around with the door closed.
    "You almost have a sheltered, private cove" on the upper and lower levels, Ritchey said. The trains have more seating, more comfortable seats, new technology and a quiet ride, all factors that should make them popular with passengers.
    "I kind of like it," said Marquis Smith, the "rear brake" or assistant conductor on the train. "The passengers will like it, too."

  13. #13
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Lightbulb For all you Metropark commuters.....

    $30 million for Metropark improvements

    NJ Transit will spend nearly $30 million to build longer, wider platforms and to make other improvements at the busy Metropark Station in Woodbridge.

    The agency's board this morning awarded a $29.8 million contract to Anselmi
    & DeCicco Inc. of Maplewood to perform the work.

    Metropark was built in 1971. It serves 106 trains and 7,200 NJ Transit riders on a typical weekday.

    The longer platforms will be able to accommodate trains up to 12 cars long. The project includes improvements to the station building, climate controlled waiting shelters and better pedestrian access from Route 27 to the platforms.

    The work will begin next year and is expected to be completed in 2010, NJ Transit Executive Director George Warrington said.

    Contributed by Tom Feeney

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    Default Scranton Rail Extension

    Hearings continue on rail revival

    Public to review the plan to restore service from Hoboken to Scranton
    Sunday, January 21, 2007BY JIM LOCKWOOD
    Star-Ledger Staff
    Another round of public hearings are being held on a long-sought plan to revive passenger rail service between Hoboken and Scranton, Pa., by restoring the defunct Lackawanna Cutoff in Sussex and Warren counties.
    The concept, though still years away from becoming reality, has taken a step forward with the completion of NJ Transit's "draft environmental assessment," a 154-page document that is posted on the agency's Web site, www.njtransit.com, as well as at various area libraries in both states.
    The draft review is one of the preliminary stages imposed by the Federal Transit Administration before a project can be considered as a possible candidate for federal funding and before engineering can begin.
    "Maybe we're starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel," said Sussex County Transportation Planner Tom Drabic, an advocate for the rail plan.
    The project calls for eight trains daily and stations in Andover and Blairstown in New Jersey, and in Delaware Water Gap, East Stroudsburg, Analomink, Mount Pocono, Tobyhanna and Scranton in Pennsylvania.
    The public hearings are necessary to get input toward a final environmental assessment that goes to the FTA for consideration. If that agency finds there are no significant impacts, the project will then move on to engineering phases and, eventually, construction, if it gets federally funded.
    The first of four NJ Transit hearings was held Wednesday in Scranton.
    The next will be held Tuesday from 3 to 8 p.m. at Perona Farms on Route 517 in Andover Township. At this session, NJ Transit officials will give formal presentations about the plan at 4 and 7 p.m.
    Additional hearings will be held Thursday in Stroudsburg, Pa., and Jan. 29 in Blairstown at the municipal complex on Route 94, both from 3 to 8 p.m.
    The goal of the rail plan is to create a mass-transit commuting option in the growing northwest New Jersey and northeast Pennsylvania region, and to reduce the congestion on perennially overcrowded Route 80.


    Similar hearings held in 2004 elicited both support and opposition, particularly from residents in Byram who believe the rail plan is costly and would destroy the rural character of the area. The Byram Township Council, which already had been on record as opposing the rail line, passed a resolution on Tuesday that calls for the cutoff rail bed to become a recreational trail, in the "Rails to Trails" mode.
    The environmental draft study does not contain any significant environmental impacts from the project. However, it provides an updated cost estimate that shows the price tag has soared from $350 million in 2004 to $551 million in 2006. A decade ago, the cost estimate was $200 million.
    The review also estimates that the rail line from Scranton to Andover would have 3,350 eastbound daily riders, with 280 boarding in Blairstown and 150 in Andover, and the rest getting on at the six stations in Pennsylvania.
    With annual operating and maintenance costs estimated at $26.2 million, and annual revenue estimated at $13.9 million, the rail line would run an annual deficit of $12.3 million that would need to be subsidized, according to the draft.
    Byram Councilman Earl Riley said the project does not make any financial sense, and the funding could be better spent on a fleet of commuter buses.
    "If you reduce it (traffic on Route 80) by their best projections, what's the overall impact on Route 80? Negligible," Riley said. "The whole thing financially is not a viable solution to the transportation problems that affect northwest New Jersey."
    Drabic believes the NJ Transit ridership estimates are "extremely conservative. He also noted that NJ Transit recently spent $250 million on a new light rail line that was only one mile long in Newark, in an area already heavily serviced by trains and buses. And the cost to widen Route 80 is estimated at $50 million per mile, Drabic said.
    The draft assessment also estimates that population and commuting growth in the area will soar.
    "If you think traffic on Route 80 is bad now, you ain't seen nothing yet," Drabic said. "The only option we have is to try to get people out of their cars and into trains."

    Jim Lockwood may be reached at jlockwood@starledger.com or (973) 383-0516.

  15. #15
    Jersey Patriot JCMAN320's Avatar
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    Red face Good and bad!

    ^^That's great to hear anything to help further extend our great extensive commuter rail system and take cars of our roads will help. However the article below isn't good news:

    NJ Transit head recommends 10 percent fare increase

    1/23/2007, 11:23 a.m. ET
    By JANET FRANKSTON LORIN
    The Associated Press

    NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The head of New Jersey Transit is recommending a 10 percent fare hike, which would begin on June 1.

    The increase, the first since July 2005, would apply to both bus and rail fares.

    It would close a budget deficit of about $60 million in the agency's proposed $1.5 billion budget.

    New Jersey Transit will hold public hearings on the proposal in February and March.

    Outgoing NJ Transit executive director George D. Warrington made the recommendation to the agency's board of directors at a meeting Tuesday morning.

    "We need to make up for that number in short order," said Kris Kolluri, state transportation commissioner, referring to the $60 million shortfall.

    Warrington said the increase is necessary to keep up with inflation as well as increases in utility costs and insurance premiums.

    The agency would rather increase fares than cut service, he said.

    Warrington said NJ Transit has cut more than $75 million in costs over the last several years, "leaving very little left to squeeze without impacting service."

    "Given the ridership increases we are experiencing systemwide, we recommend against service reductions," he said.

    He said he would have more details about the fare increase by the February meeting.

    Kolluri said state aid to the transit agency did not increase in the fiscal year that began July 1. In the previous year, the state provided a $22 million increase in aid to the agency.

    Warrington announced earlier this month that he would be leaving the agency at the end of March. Warrington was president of Amtrak, the national commuter rail system, when he was chosen to take charge of NJ Transit in March 2002 by then-Gov. James E. McGreevey.

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