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NJ Transit/Metro-North Port Jervis Line


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#1 Rafi

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 08:56 PM

Folks,
I have a chance to take the train up to Metro-North's Salisbury Mills-Cornwall stop on the Port Jervis line next month, and I'm hoping someone can help fill in some blanks for me, as I'm not from the area and not too familiar with the line.

-Since I'm coming from Baltimore, I can either change to NJ Transit in Newark, NYP, or Trenton (all three still require me to change trains again at Secaucus Junction). Trenton's the cheapest (shaves about $40 off the trip), but would a local trip from Trenton to Salisbury Mills-Cornwall just become too laborious after a while? In other words, should I just bite the bullet and pay for an Amtrak ticket through to NWK or NYP to save time?

-Is a train change required at Suffern? As I understand it, the line is operated by NJ Transit south of Suffern and is operated by Metro-North north of Suffern. Does that mean there will be a change in rolling stock/crew at Suffern?

-I realize that this is a significantly historic line; are there any photo ops for which I should be prepared? Heading north, is there a better side/end of the train on which to sit?

Thanks so much,
Rafi
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#2 AlanB

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 09:22 PM

-Since I'm coming from Baltimore, I can either change to NJ Transit in Newark, NYP, or Trenton (all three still require me to change trains again at Secaucus Junction). Trenton's the cheapest (shaves about $40 off the trip), but would a local trip from Trenton to Salisbury Mills-Cornwall just become too laborious after a while? In other words, should I just bite the bullet and pay for an Amtrak ticket through to NWK or NYP to save time?


Rafi,

I can't really answer your first question, only you can decide if the extra time (probably about a 1/2 hour extra one way) spent on a NJT train from Trenton is worth the savings in money. Personally, I'd stay with Amtrak till the last possible moment, Newark. Mind you when I ride Amtrak, I'm typically in First Class, so that does sway my opinion.

I would not ride into NYP, unless you have some reason to visit the city. That's simply a waste of time, and you may find yourself confronted with a very full train leaving NYP. NJT will also charge you more from NYP, than Newark or Trenton.

-Is a train change required at Suffern? As I understand it, the line is operated by NJ Transit south of Suffern and is operated by Metro-North north of Suffern. Does that mean there will be a change in rolling stock/crew at Suffern?


No change of trains is required at Suffern. Metro North does not actually run the trains in NY, they pay NJT to run the trains for them. Metro North also does contribute equipment, both coaches and engines to NJT, but you could find yourself on either MN equipment or NJT equipment depending on the whim of NJT that day.

-I realize that this is a significantly historic line; are there any photo ops for which I should be prepared? Heading north, is there a better side/end of the train on which to sit?


I'm not so sure that one side is better than the other, but I can link you to a guide that you may find interesting. Kevin Korell (aka. Superliner Diner) wrote a very detailed guide for that line a few years back. It covers all of the highlights of your trip. The guide can be found on his personal website located here. You may wish to print it out and bring it with you for your trip.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#3 Rafi

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 09:59 PM

-Since I'm coming from Baltimore, I can either change to NJ Transit in Newark, NYP, or Trenton (all three still require me to change trains again at Secaucus Junction). Trenton's the cheapest (shaves about $40 off the trip), but would a local trip from Trenton to Salisbury Mills-Cornwall just become too laborious after a while? In other words, should I just bite the bullet and pay for an Amtrak ticket through to NWK or NYP to save time?


Rafi,

I can't really answer your first question, only you can decide if the extra time (probably about a 1/2 hour extra one way) spent on a NJT train from Trenton is worth the savings in money. Personally, I'd stay with Amtrak till the last possible moment, Newark. Mind you when I ride Amtrak, I'm typically in First Class, so that does sway my opinion.

I would not ride into NYP, unless you have some reason to visit the city. That's simply a waste of time, and you may find yourself confronted with a very full train leaving NYP. NJT will also charge you more from NYP, than Newark or Trenton.

-Is a train change required at Suffern? As I understand it, the line is operated by NJ Transit south of Suffern and is operated by Metro-North north of Suffern. Does that mean there will be a change in rolling stock/crew at Suffern?


No change of trains is required at Suffern. Metro North does not actually run the trains in NY, they pay NJT to run the trains for them. Metro North also does contribute equipment, both coaches and engines to NJT, but you could find yourself on either MN equipment or NJT equipment depending on the whim of NJT that day.

-I realize that this is a significantly historic line; are there any photo ops for which I should be prepared? Heading north, is there a better side/end of the train on which to sit?


I'm not so sure that one side is better than the other, but I can link you to a guide that you may find interesting. Kevin Korell (aka. Superliner Diner) wrote a very detailed guide for that line a few years back. It covers all of the highlights of your trip. The guide can be found on his personal website located here. You may wish to print it out and bring it with you for your trip.

Alan,

Fantastic advice. I agree that taking Amtrak through to Newark is probably the best bet comfort and time-wise; thanks for giving the push over the hill, as it were. Kevin's guide also looks incredibly useful and it's printing now.

Can't thank you enough.

Take care,
Rafi
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#4 AlanB

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 11:24 PM

Rafi,

One quick thought, that guide was written in 2003, shortly before the Secaucus transfer was opened. So the bit about the Bergen line seperating after the Bergen tunnels is now wrong.

Furthermore Metro North has started a track project to replace some of that stick rail mentioned with welded rail. I'm not sure just how far they've gotten and I do know that work is on going. In fact I believe this week during midday hours, there is a bus bridge in place for part of the NY run.
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#5 Rafi

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 11:39 PM

Rafi,

One quick thought, that guide was written in 2003, shortly before the Secaucus transfer was opened. So the bit about the Bergen line seperating after the Bergen tunnels is now wrong.

Furthermore Metro North has started a track project to replace some of that stick rail mentioned with welded rail. I'm not sure just how far they've gotten and I do know that work is on going. In fact I believe this week during midday hours, there is a bus bridge in place for part of the NY run.

Alan,

So noted—thanks. I won't be going until December 17th, which is a Saturday, so I'll probably call Metro-North beforehand to make sure I won't hit any obstacles. By the way, do you know if Kevin still hosts his excursions, or was 2003 the last one?

Thanks,
Rafi
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#6 AlanB

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 11:54 PM

Alan,

So noted—thanks. I won't be going until December 17th, which is a Saturday, so I'll probably call Metro-North beforehand to make sure I won't hit any obstacles. By the way, do you know if Kevin still hosts his excursions, or was 2003 the last one?

Thanks,
Rafi

You can check with either MN or NJT, they'll both have the same info. NJT's website can be found here and Metro North's is here.

As for Kevin and his fests, yes, absolutely. We just had one in Dallas this past July, DC in late August. The next scheduled one is in NYC come January 14th & 15th. You can view the home page for the January Big Apple Fest here.

For a history of all the past fest, along with the future plans, check out his home page. He also provides links to just about every train orientated transportation in the US from that page.

Kevin however has sorta given up on writing guides for the fests, as they are quite time consuming. But he still works hard on the planning phase of all of his fests.

If you are interested in attending, then either drop me a PM with your email address and I'll forward it to Kevin or send a PM directly to Kevin. Again he uses the handle of SuperlinerDiner here on the forums.

You are more than welcome to join us for any and all future fests. :)
Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#7 Superliner Diner

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Posted 23 November 2005 - 08:03 PM

Alan,

So noted—thanks. I won't be going until December 17th, which is a Saturday, so I'll probably call Metro-North beforehand to make sure I won't hit any obstacles. By the way, do you know if Kevin still hosts his excursions, or was 2003 the last one?

Thanks,
Rafi

You can check with either MN or NJT, they'll both have the same info. NJT's website can be found here and Metro North's is here.

As for Kevin and his fests, yes, absolutely. We just had one in Dallas this past July, DC in late August. The next scheduled one is in NYC come January 14th & 15th. You can view the home page for the January Big Apple Fest here.

For a history of all the past fest, along with the future plans, check out his home page. He also provides links to just about every train orientated transportation in the US from that page.

Kevin however has sorta given up on writing guides for the fests, as they are quite time consuming. But he still works hard on the planning phase of all of his fests.

If you are interested in attending, then either drop me a PM with your email address and I'll forward it to Kevin or send a PM directly to Kevin. Again he uses the handle of SuperlinerDiner here on the forums.

You are more than welcome to join us for any and all future fests. :)

First of all, thanks to Alan for the plug! :D

Now a few comments:
  • Remember that there is a Burger King restaurant adjacent to the Port Jervis station -- although from past experience in Pennsylvania I would call that Burger King to make sure they are still in business before expecting it.
  • That guide page was from one of our official New York area fests in January of 2003. Ironically, later that year we took another round trip to Port Jervis and back in March. It was only two months later and still a little cold, but it was a big difference without the snowbanks we encountered in January. That second trip, a totally unofficial gathering of railfans, actually attracted more people than the official one in January.
  • Since the winter of 2003, the timetables have changed dramaticially. While more weekend trips were added, the resulting runs were scheduled in such a way that it is hard to do it with the hour or so layover in Port Jervis at lunchtime. The layover is much longer now in Port Jervis, so unless you have other business there, a lot of time has to be wasted off the rails. The beauty of the aforementioned round trips was that we could go via the Bergen County Line in NJ in one direction, and the Main Line in the other. That also may no longer be possible.
  • My suggestion is to do this: Take Train #73, departing Hoboken at 11:21 AM. The new timetable format leaves it unclear whether this train follows the Bergen County or Main Lines, since no stops are made until Ramsey-Route 17. You get to Port Jervis at 1:35 PM. You have roughly an hour and a half layover at that end, and it's not too late for lunch. The return train leaves Port Jervis at 3:06 PM, and clearly follows the Bergen County Line as a local. It gets back to Hoboken 5:33 PM. Unfortunately, you're traveling during the week of the year with the shortest daylight, so it will defintely be dark for much of your trip back through New Jersey. If you took the earlier 9:21 AM departure from Hoboken, you would be on the same return train, so that does not pay.
  • Finally, regarding the future fests for 2006, besides the New York/Long Island area in January as Alan mentioned, most likely we will also do New Jersey (all heavy and light rail transit lines) in March, Montreal in July (with side trips to Toronto and Ottawa), and a combined Baltimore & Philadelphia (including new Girard Avenue streetcar) in late August.




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