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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Report from the Chair: Sept./Oct. 2021

On August 23rd we once again met in person at Millburn Town Hall, where we had an informative presentation from Josh Crandall of Clever Commute. Josh, who had given us a presentation a few years ago, reminded us of the project’s start when a group of 6 friend started sharing updates in 2006, just helping each other get to and from work with less stress. Since that time, Josh used his IT skills to transform the project into a full-fledged “app”, with a free and premium version. It had taken off successfully through February 2020—and then SARS-CoV-2 arrived, bringing a drop in rail ridership of 90%. Lots of Clever Commuters allowed their subscriptions to expire, not knowing what the future might hold.

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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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Hearings on N.Y.C. Congestion Pricing

Congestion-pricing hearings are being planned from midSeptember to midOctober, all virtual: 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT) and New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) today announced they will hold 13 public meetings between Thursday, Sept. 23, and Wednesday, Oct. 13, on the proposed Central Business District Tolling Program (CBDTP), also known as congestion pricing. The meetings, which will all be held virtually, will allow the public in a 28-county region in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to learn more about the initiative and offer comments.

There is a Web site for information on the project.  The 13 hearings are broken down by region, with 3 specifically devoted to environmental-justice (EJ) issues.  New Jersey’s dates are September 24, 10 a.m. to 12 noon; October 4, 6 to 8 p.m.; and October 12, 6 to 8 p.m. (EJ).

There are also 2 new phone lines. The first, (646) 252-7440, would allow the public to leave comments or questions about the proposed program. The second, (646) 252-6777, allows the public to hear a brief description of the project, to register to speak at the public meetings, or request in advance language or American Sign Language services, or request language at least five days in advance of each meeting. American Sign Language services and CART Captioning will be provided for all meetings.

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.

NJ Transit “Reform” Bill Even Weaker

We were disappointed, but not surprised, to read this article. (No word on whether the Assembly version has made a similar change):

https://www.trains.com/trn/news-reviews/news-wire/nj-transit-reform-bill-drops-key-provision/

TRENTON, N.J. — A bill proposing reforms for management of NJ Transit has removed one of its key proposals, changing the way the agency’s board chair is selected.
 
NorthJersey.com reports state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, majority leader and the bill’s sponsor, has dropped the requirement that the chair be selected by board members, instead of automatically going to the commissioner of the state Department of Transportation.

NJTPA Hosts Open House, Seeks Comments

On July 27th from 4 to 7 p.m., the New Jersey Transportation Planning Association (NJTPA) will hold a virtual open-house meeting: drop in any time to see an introductory presentation, then join staffed break-out rooms to ask questions and share your thoughts on NJTPA’s Plan 2050 (https://njtpa-plan-2050-njtpa.hub.arcgis.com). The plan includes the long-range Plan 2050 as well as draft plans for the periods 2022–2025 and 2022–2031. In addition, there is a draft Air Quality Conformity Determination. In addition to its open house, the agency is taking written comment through August 4th at Plan2050@njtpa.org. Our first comment? Do better than so many government agencies and actually allow for reflection time after their presentation before the public-comment period closes—we’d like the NJTPA to accept comments until late August.

Which Train Is This?

For some time, Coalition Secretary Daniel Chazin has been reporting on confused passengers on the 12:45 Pascack Valley train to Spring Valley.  Because a 12:49 Bergen line train to Middletown is scheduled on Track H at 12:49, only 4 minutes later, the automatic announcement that a “train is expected in 8 minutes” can cause inexperienced passengers, or those rushing to board one of the trains, to mistake the Pascack Valley train, arriving first, for the Middletown train right behind it.

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“Celebrating” the PANYNJ’s 100th Anniversary

OPINION

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) was formed by an act of Congress 100 years ago, on April 30, 1921, and has been celebrating its landmark anniversary. However, many local advocates for the region’s rail riders don’t see much reason to celebrate. Instead, we reflect on how the Port Authority has let riders down and resisted all reform efforts.

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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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