Commuting Will Not Be the Same as It Was before COVID

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has brought many changes to this country and the world at large.  One change is having an effect on major metropolitan areas such as New York (including New Jersey), Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago: a potentially momentous change in commuting habits.  Until the virus hit, millions of commuters would get on a train early in the morning and head to their offices five days a week, only to return home by the same route late in the afternoon or sometime in the evening.

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Coalition Calls for Federal Aid for Transit

At our October meeting, the Coalition passed a resolution calling on Congress to continue the recent practice of providing federal operating assistance for transit providers. Transit agencies have received aid from the Department of Transportation in the form of grants for capital projects over the years, but few federal dollars have customarily been available for operations.

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Mahwah Celebrates Its Original Station

Take a look at the official seal for the Township of Mahwah. You will see a small yellow building with dark trim, obviously built during an earlier era. It is the town’s original train station, built in 1871, and located near the station in use today. It is easy to see from the train window if you look out the left side of the train, going toward New York State. Mahwah is the last stop in New Jersey, before Suffern.

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“Midtown Direct” at 25: A Remembrance

On Monday morning, June 10, 1996, trains on the Morris & Essex (M&E) Line rolled directly into New York’s Penn Station for the first time, and travel on the line changed forever. No longer would it be necessary to go to Hoboken and take a PATH train or a bus to get to Manhattan. Although some riders still go to Hoboken and some now take a ferry to the Financial District, many more take the M&E straight to Penn Station. It was the Kearny Connection, which links the M&E and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) at Swift Interlocking in the Meadowlands that made the new “Midtown Direct” route possible.

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Vintage Lackawanna Parlor Car

A vintage 1912 Lackawanna parlor car, previously used by a subscription “commuting club” will run on the Whippany Railway Museum’s Sunday excursion trains in September and October this year.

Tickets for that car are $22 per person, and museum admission is included. Trains leave from the museum at 1, 2, 3 and 4:00 p.m. The dates are September 12 and 19, and October 3, 10 and 17.

Unfortunately, Whippany is not transit-accessible; at least not on weekends.<br><br>Who is interested in getting a group together to ride?

Details at the museum’s site.

1912 Lackawanna Rail subscription car
Photo from the Whippany Railway Museum Web site.

Weekend Trains Return to the Gladstone Branch

After an absence of 2 years and 8 months, weekend train service returned to the Gladstone Branch on June 6. Trains run hourly as shuttles between Gladstone and Summit, connecting there with Morris & Essex Line trains between Dover and New York Penn Station. For Hoboken or Montclair passengers, there is a train connecting at Broad Street Station in Newark approximately every other hour. The schedule is similar to the one in effect until October 2018, when substitute bus operation began. Running time is 44 minutes eastbound and 54 minutes westbound, compared with 57 minutes eastbound and 62 minutes westbound for the bus operation.

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What We Learned from the Mass Transit Superbowl

By now, everybody knows that New Jersey Transit suffered a defeat at the “Mass Transit Super Bowl” on Feb. 2 that was almost as humiliating as the one that the Seattle Seahawks inflicted on the Denver Broncos in the Meadowlands. On Feb. 24, Commissioner and Board Chair James S. Simpson announced that the NJT Board of Directors will conduct a review of the Super Bowl situation.

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Report From The Chair, March/April 2014

The past four years were controversial and often difficult under Jim Weinstein’s leadership at NJT. We praised him, Commissioner Simpson and Governor Chris Christie for terminating the dead-end tunnel and deep-cavern terminal that the ARC (“Access to the Region’s Core”) Project had become by 2010. We criticized Weinstein for starting his tenure at NJT by implementing the agency’s largest fare increase ever, including the elimination of any discount for customers who ride trains at times other than peak-commuting hours — a 47% fare increase. We also criticized him for leaving nearly 400 locomotives and cars in low-lying yards in the Meadowlands and at Hoboken to flood during Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. We are also aware of NJT’s poor performance in getting fans to and from the stadium for the Super Bowl game in February. It was Weinstein’s last chance to leave NJT on a positive note, and we consider it unfortunate that the event went so badly for him, for NJT and for the fans who were stuck at the stadium for hours after the game.

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Raritan Valley Riders Get One-Seat Ride to NYC, At Least Some of the Time

For the first time in history, riders on the Raritan Valley Line (RVL) can enjoy a one-seat ride between their home stations and Penn Station, New York. The new service started on Monday, March 3, but RVL trains are extended to New York only during mid-day hours on weekdays. NJT rail planner Thomas W. Morgan told the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) that the experiment would be “an open-ended pilot” and did not mention any plans for extending the one-seat ride service to other times. Raritan Valley Rail Coalition Chair Peter S. Palmer called for expansion of the one-seat-ride service to weekday evenings, after peak-commuting hours are over, with later expansion to weekends and then peak-commuting hours.

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