Atlantic City Rail Line shutting down for 5 months

Boyd

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I hadn't heard about this before....

https://nyti.ms/2KIWYLQ

"Last week, New Jersey Transit announced that it would temporarily shut down its southernmost rail line, which runs between Atlantic City and Philadelphia, in September, and redeploy crews to other lines. Mr. Corbett called that a “drastic action,” but added that the line carries fewer than 2,000 of the transit system’s more than 900,000 daily riders."
 

popeofthepines

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I heard this a couple of weeks ago. Truthfully I am not surprised since I always see a train barely full of people and that has been that way for awhile. I rarely think of taking a train to AC.
 

Boyd

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I think it's used by commuters who live and Camden and Atlantic Counties and work in Atlantic City. The people I see waiting at stations like Egg Harbor City don't look like they're headed to the RV show or Bass Pro. This is bad news for them, I guess they'll have to take the bus now. According to this and other articles, it sounds like NJ Transit simply doesn't have enough engineers to run all the trains.
 
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enormiss

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Heard this a little while ago, they blamed the shut down on installation of positive train control. I found it odd a complete shut down is needed and for so long. Probably more to do with "the line carries fewer than 2,000 of the transit system’s more than 900,000 daily riders". Odds they run behind schedule and shut down lasts till spring?
 

46er

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The people I see waiting at stations like Egg Harbor City don't look like they're headed to the RV show or Bass Pro.
Absecon is the one probably used most by the show folks, it is where we park. Close to the GSP and RT9 and a short train ride. South Jersey in general, from Toms River south, has very poor mass transit options if any at all. There is no reasonable mass transit to Philly from Toms River, it all goes to north.
 

Boyd

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Heard this a little while ago, they blamed the shut down on installation of positive train control.
From the article above,

"Mr. Corbett said he was shocked to find upon his arrival that New Jersey Transit had completed less than 10 percent of the installation of positive train control. Now, he said, more than half of the work has been done and the installation should be completed by Dec. 31. If not, New Jersey Transit could be banned from operating on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, which runs up the spine of the state and through Penn Station."
 

Boyd

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Absecon is the one probably used most by the show folks, it is where we park.
Sure, but my point was that lower income working people who depend on the train every day are going to suffer the most, not tourists who visit a few times to look at the new boats or RVs. ;)
 

RednekF350

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I cross their tracks a few times a day, every day in the Waterford and Berlin area. When I have to stop for an actual train crossing I can get a pretty good look at the inside of the cars as they pass, especially at night. Unless the passengers are laying on the floor sleeping, the cars always appear to be nearly empty.

NJDOT had killed the line in 1981 due to a lack of ridership. NJDOT had taken it over from Conrail who already knew it was a loser. So, for the next 8 years local people including me got use to the quietness of the abandoned rail line and never having to stop at a crossing.

Amtrak fired the line back up again in 1989 and it struggled again and lost money. Shocking. The Federal Government had to subsidize it with large cash infusions for a period which also got the locals fired up. People dubbed it the "Ghost Train" because of the chronically empty cars.

I remember when they reactivated the line in 1989 there was a lot of local opposition to it because everyone had gotten used to the absence of trains on the line. When the tracks were part of the former PRSL Seashore Line, the trains moved much more slowly. When it returned in 1989 it was with greatly increased speeds. Trains passing through little towns like Atco moved with frightening speeds which they eventually adjusted but not by much.

I think the current closure is a way of stopping the bleeding for a little while and it will probably return again with more Government $$.
 

46er

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From what I have read, there have been several lines in NJ that has had service stopped to divert resources to the PTC installation and if the positive train control system is not completed by the end of the year all Amtrak service thru NJ may stop. The blame game has begun.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/amtrak-may-end-service-on-tracks-lacking-positive-train-control-safety-gear/

https://www.app.com/story/news/politics/new-jersey/phil-murphy/2018/08/09/nj-transit-murphy-promises-better-communication-not-much-else/951391002/
 

Zach McGarvey

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If NJT could shut down every train operation other than the Trenton to NY Penn run, I believe they would. In my opinion the low ridership is due to intentionally poor scheduling. You would think a train that runs between Cherry Hill and 30th Street Station would be useful to commuters, but it isn't, because there is no train that runs at a time for the normal rush hour crowd. One would either need to arrive in the city very early, or very late, but not at 8am or so. NJT makes money on the Trenton to New York Penn Station route, simply because the infrastructure is not theirs to maintain! It's owned by Amtrak, and not their problem. Every other route to the decision-makers at the top, is a liability-- an infrastructure failure waiting to happen. The quicker they can justify shutting them down, the better, greater good be damned.

The crew shortage may also be true-- we are in an era of very, very low unemployment-- who wants to work nights and weekends (it's actually worse than that- low seniority train crewmen work off the "extra board" which is an on-call system with no guaranteed hours) for mediocre public sector pay, and an uncertain job outlook subject to political whims?
 
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enormiss

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ecampbell

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So that leaves out the February Boat and Car show for me. Those events had a hugh rail turnout requiring additional cars.