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Thirdrail7

NJ Transit to suspend entire Atlantic City Line for months

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Wow! I never thought it would come to this. I wonder if their representatives will let them get away with this. There is already a sort of North Jersey vs South Jersey battle for funds. This will make things worse.

 

http://nj1015.com/nj-transit-to-suspend-entire-atlantic-city-line-for-half-a-year/

 

 

 

TRENTON — NJ Transit will suspend service on its Atlantic City Line in September and temporarily suspend off peak one-seat service to New York on the Raritan Valley Line.

The changes were announced Friday as part of NJ Transit's ongoing efforts to outfit train cars with positive train control braking technology.

Both changes take effect Tuesday, September 4 and will last at least four months, according to a statement from the railroad. The changes will allow for PTC work of rail cars and the railroad right of way.

 

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The AC line is lightly traveled.. Rumor has it that the numbers are less then 1000 a day. BUT I'll assume that doesn't include the number of Amtrak workers that are most likely allowed a professional courtesy. If it does include that.. That's sad.

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It's lightly traveled because they have a horrible schedule that includes large head ways. If you don't commit to the service, of course ridership will suffer. Frequent service that actually helps the riders instead of helping the positioning of equipment would be helpful.

 

Knocking the service out will do nothing to improve ridership on this line.

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You have to remember that NJT is perhaps the most ineptly run transit agency in the country at this time, and even the new management appointed by the new Governor is a bunch of incompetent morons with no experience in running anything like NJT, and it shows.

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You have to remember that NJT is perhaps the most ineptly run transit agency in the country at this time, and even the new management appointed by the new Governor is a bunch of incompetent morons with no experience in running anything like NJT, and it shows.

Worse than the MTA? ;)

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You have to remember that NJT is perhaps the most ineptly run transit agency in the country at this time, and even the new management appointed by the new Governor is a bunch of incompetent morons with no experience in running anything like NJT, and it shows.

Worse than the MTA? ;)

 

MTA can provide no credible contest in the department of incompetence to NJT. Many in NJ actually hope that the entire NJT thing would be handed over to the MTA - specifically MNRR. It would be a vast improvement according to them.

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You have to remember that NJT is perhaps the most ineptly run transit agency in the country at this time, and even the new management appointed by the new Governor is a bunch of incompetent morons with no experience in running anything like NJT, and it shows.

Worse than the MTA? ;)

 

MTA can provide no credible contest in the department of incompetence to NJT. Many in NJ actually hope that the entire NJT thing would be handed over to the MTA - specifically MNRR. It would be a vast improvement according to them.

 

MNRR and NJT share some equipment, right?

Edited by cpotisch

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NJT operates MNRR's West of Hudson service under contracts. For that it contributes equipment to the Hoboken pool.

 

MNRR is not particularly happy with NJT's performance according to someone I know on the MNRR Customer Council. But they really have no choice for West of Hudson, since NJT has strangle hold on everything in NJ, and they are working hard at strangling everything while they are at it.

 

It has been quite a fall from getting awards for the Best Transit Agency 15 -20 or so years back. The magic touch of Warrington started the downhill journey. So they named a plaza after him :)

Edited by jis

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Might be more to North Jersey/South Jersey tension than meets the eye here. Steve Sweeney (NJ Senate president) is from way down South Jersey, and Phil Murphy (our new governor) is from way up North. Sweeney and Christie did not always get on, but that was fine in public because they are different parties. Sweeney and Murphy must look on the surface like they can agree on things, because they are from the same party.

 

But Sweeney and Murphy have the North/South divide between them, and Sweeney is very powerful and seems to have been winning the most recent arguments. So, here we have a rail line in South Jersey that goes to one of the most popular tourist places there, and, my goodness, we'd better shut it down for months! (Can you imagine what would happen if they tried to shut down the North Jersey commuter trains for months?) So my guess is that there are wheels within wheels here and under the surface.

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

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And the announcement comes while Murphy is vacationing at his Villa in Italy too :P

 

Notwithstanding all that things are pretty bad up North too. Hoboken Division is in shambles with staff and operable equipment shortages. Somewhere between 10 and 20 trains are getting cancelled on the Morris and Essex Line each day these days. Often weekend service is reduced to one train per two hours, down from hourly.

Edited by jis

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Yes, good timing on the governor's part! :P

 

I have noticed the problems up north, too, just from commuting home from Princeton Junction. I check every day before I leave my office to see which of the several trains I can take (all of which start up in NYC) have been cancelled--at least one early rush hour one each day is, and whichever one I get has twice as many people as usual getting off (and looking even more unhappy than they usually do).

 

By the way, I forgot to mention in my earlier post that Steve Sweeney is one tough dude. As an example, the leaders of the powerful teacher's union (who love Murphy) detest Sweeney because he is a vocal critic of them (not of teachers, just the leaders of their union), and they tried to get him defeated in the last election (they even supported his Republican opponent--unheard of!). Sweeney trounced them and was reelected with no problem, which only made him look tougher.

 

Many observers in NJ think Sweeney has more actual power than Murphy, even though Murphy is the governor. And the only thing keeping them from all-out hostilities may be the assembly leader, who is a peaceable middle-ground (literally--he's from central Jersey :P) kind of person who tries to bring them both together.

 

Whether NJT service to Atlantic City is a pawn in all this is a good question--might be answered by whether the line is still closed down by the start of next tourist season.

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Seriously, who in their right mind wants to go to Atlantic City?🤔

 

How you gonna keep em down @ that Jersey Pit once they've seen Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun?😄

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The NJT Atlantic City Line is actually not one that is used by the "tourists" that much. It is a commuter line used by people going to work or to visit friends and such.

 

The tourist traffic was supposed to be handled by Amtrak, and they bailed a long time back. Then the Casinos tried in conjunction with NJT. That effort wound up after a year or two. NJT's charter does not say it is a "for profit" corporation. It is a for service organization which would no9t survive two days without funding from the state. It is expected to provide service for which the state is supposed to subsidize it. But of course Fatso screwed the pooch while trying to make up his mind about what he stands for. And here we are.

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You have to remember that NJT is perhaps the most ineptly run transit agency in the country at this time, and even the new management appointed by the new Governor is a bunch of incompetent morons with no experience in running anything like NJT, and it shows.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/nyregion/nj-transit-train-delays.html

 

According to the article, the cancellations had to do with a shortage of engineers, for reasons that had been happening for a long time, and probably had a lot to do with the previous management. apparently installation of PTC had also been sucking up a lot of their money. (In fact, with all the angst we are now having about PTC in general as an unfunded mandate, I wonder what the discourse will be like after we have the first rail disaster caused by malfunctioning PTC.)

 

But you gotta cut this guy Corbett some slack. At least he actually commutes to work on New Jersey Transit, thus subjecting himself to whatever he inflicts on his customers. Not every high executive is willing to do that.

Edited by MARC Rider

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Thanks for posting that article link, MARC Rider. I agree with you about Corbett. I think he really did inherit a lot of this mess.

 

I just googled "NJT engineers" and came up with a headline from almost a year ago (September 2017) saying that they were going to soon lose about 50 engineers all at once, many to retirement, others going elsewhere.

 

It doesn't sound like they tried all that hard to recruit new ones. I don't know if they didn't bother, or if they tried, but no engineer wants to be anywhere near NJT if they can find something elsewhere.

 

Now NJT is actually blaming the engineers for the engineer shortage :wacko:, saying some of them are taking unscheduled days off. (Which to my mind are fully deserved days to restore yourself to sanity if you have to work for this outfit!)

 

It is actually so bad that I am considering preparing to retire completely by the end of the year if necessary--I truly don't think they will have PTC done by their deadline, and in the current Amtrak climate, Amtrak may stick to its threat and tell NJT to stay off its tracks. I am lucky to be at the end of my career life if I want to be and feel bad for those who aren't and who must get to their work no matter what. (For those of you thinking "Just drive," driving to New York from New Jersey in rush hour would be a nightmare, and not everyone has a car for each person in their household.)

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

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You need funding to hire crews. If the funding isn't there, you're not going to be able to hire. Additionally, you have to hire well before people retire. That part is easy, but when you have Mafia-North, CTTrails, Wrong Island Railroad and even Amcrap in your neck of the woods, looking for certified T&E employees, and your company refused to sign a contract, your employees will leave for seemingly greener pastures. That is a huge problem that leads to manpower shortages.

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You're completely right, Thirdrail7. I think the part where NJT deserves the blame the most is that they were not proactive and trying to hire way before it was going to become a shortage. They knew the retirement ages of their employees and knew there would be a shortage but didn't do enough earlier recruitment to replace them, I think.

 

I do agree that many possible employees went elsewhere (I heard VRE a couple of years ago, but don't know if that was a rumor or just a few people). Do you think the new Connecticut service really has taken a few? That would make sense--brand new, so they would need all new employees and might be attracting some from elsewhere?

 

By the way, I just checked online to see which afternoon train has been cancelled going south today, and it is the one that gets to PJC at 3:56 (due to not enough available equipment, according to NJT). So they told people to take the next one. The 3:56 is usually a double-decker. The one after that is usually a dumpy, crowded, trash-filled floor, single-level that is full even without twice as many people on it and how they have the nerve to cancel the nice one and keep the garbage one is beyond me. And how can you not have enough equipment? Did 10 train cars all of a sudden become unavailable? Or is that codespeak for "We don't have enough engineers and conductors for all our rush hour trains?" and has nothing at all to do with equipment?

 

And if that sounds like a stream of consciousness rant about NJT, I can only imagine what someone who has to ride the thing all the way from New York must be saying--probably this: :help:

 

And they've just cancelled another one out of New York (no equipment for that one either). Those poor people--this is getting completely out of hand. Never did I think I would feel bad for the New York commuters who I have to avoid being knocked down by as they rush on and off the train at Princeton Junction, but I do now.

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

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Time to get out of Jersey Patty, and move to the Sunshine State which you like!😊

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Seriously, who in their right mind wants to go to Atlantic City?

 

How you gonna keep em down @ that Jersey Pit once they've seen Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun?

 

Believe it or not Jim, AC is coming back right now.

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You're completely right, Thirdrail7. I think the part where NJT deserves the blame the most is that they were not proactive and trying to hire way before it was going to become a shortage. They knew the retirement ages of their employees and knew there would be a shortage but didn't do enough earlier recruitment to replace them, I think.

 

 

Again, when your agency is starved for funds, it is difficult to hire. When your employees aren't operating under an operating agreement, it is hard to entice recruits.

 

 

 

I do agree that many possible employees went elsewhere (I heard VRE a couple of years ago, but don't know if that was a rumor or just a few people). Do you think the new Connecticut service really has taken a few? That would make sense--brand new, so they would need all new employees and might be attracting some from elsewhere?

 

That wasn't a rumor. I think they took 4 or 5 engineers. A bunch have gone to Metro-North and a few went to CT trails. Amtrak has picked up quite few over the last few years and for good reason. Since the compensation package almost balances out, they left NJT to Amtrak so they could make use of the entire network. Most of them moved off the corridor to escape NJ's high cost of living. This is what happens when your compensation package (which comes with a mandatory in state residency) doesn't keep up with the compensation.

 

I didn't even bring up Brightline but I know a few NJT employees and quite a few Amtrak employees went down there. It is cheaper to live.

 

Again, how can you plan for that...unless you're willing to fork it over to your current employees.

 

By the way, I just checked online to see which afternoon train has been cancelled going south today, and it is the one that gets to PJC at 3:56 (due to not enough available equipment, according to NJT). So they told people to take the next one. The 3:56 is usually a double-decker. The one after that is usually a dumpy, crowded, trash-filled floor, single-level that is full even without twice as many people on it and how they have the nerve to cancel the nice one and keep the garbage one is beyond me.And how can you not have enough equipment? Did 10 train cars all of a sudden become unavailable? Or is that codespeak for "We don't have enough engineers and conductors for all our rush hour trains?" and has nothing at all to do with equipment?

 

 

Actually, the two are intertwined. The trains and their lines aren't linear. One of the things I'm harped on for years is trains don't just "appear." Trains represent trains. There must be balance. A 10 car train can become unavailable and there is no equipment...if there is shortage in one area.

 

Allow me to use an example that applies to your neck of the woods. If you check your timetable, you'll notice two trains that seemingly originate and depart from Jersey Ave: Trains 3712 (739a) and train 3714(755a.). These two trains are pains, but the key to this conversation is 3714 that train turned off X377, an extra deadhead move from New York. It arrived at Jersey Ave, wait for 3712 to leave, pulls in on the branch, and turns. As you can see, the window is narrow. The thing about that train is X377 (which becomes a NEC train) turns from 6606, a Midtown Direct train that origins in Dover. When 3712 doesn't operate, sometimes they grab 3928 (an limited stop express) and have that train make additional stops.

 

In this example, if the Hoboken division has a manpower shortage or disruption, there may not be equipment to feed the NEC or any other line that train will touch until they can grab another set from somewhere....and that is another problem.

 

With the PTC mandate looming, numerous cab cars and engines have been removed from service. This is terrible for NJT, since that means when your train arrives at a terminal, it cannot operate in the opposite direction. As such, trains that previously were used to fill in the blanks no longer have the ability to "ping pong" back and forth. What can a train without a cab car or locomotive on the opposite end do when it arrives in Trenton, as an example?

 

Nothing....except continue to Morrisville yard, where they can park the train, cut the engine off, runaround the train, do a brakes test, and report back out. That would take time and the current schedule doesn't have that kind of time since it was based upon push-pull operation.

 

As such, these trains typically make a one way trip, wait for rush hour and make another trip.

 

Another problem is parts for aging equipment. This has been a problem for many railroads, including Amtrak. Add to the fact that is summer, and now you may have coaches o/o/s for hot cars.

 

It isn't one thing, combine to one area. One thing spreads throughout the system because the balance is off. A train that starts in Great Notch may finish in Long Branch while a train that starts in Long Branch will finish in Great Notch.

 

NJT should take a hard look and make realistic schedules.....that aren't influenced by politics. Certain trains that have adjacent trains continue to run merely because some politician or senator demanded must run without regard for the fluidity of the operation.

 

Some of the PJC expresses should get scaled back and make more stops. That would free up more equipment. This should be attempted before you cut off access on another line.

 

 

 

Seriously, who in their right mind wants to go to Atlantic City?

 

How you gonna keep em down @ that Jersey Pit once they've seen Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun?

 

Believe it or not Jim, AC is coming back right now.

 

 

I believe this is part of the politics. There are many people and interests that WANT to see Atlantic City fail. If you recall, they wanted to allow gambling in the Meadowlands but they failed to overturn the law that only allows gambling in Atlantic City. If you starve Atlantic City, it may help the cause.

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Thirdrail7,

 

Thanks again. Your example of how the trains turn (or right now just can't be push-pull like they used to) explains a lot and clears up a lot of the confusion of why there are so many delays.

 

As for staffing, it sounds like you are essentially saying that the other commuter railroads and Amtrak have passed NJT by, offering better packages and of course a contract? Also, if they are forced to live in NJ, a lot of people would say no to any job right there--much better if you could live across the river in (much cheaper) PA and still work for NJT.

 

Although I follow trains a bit, I still needed to have all this explained to me. The sad thing is that the typical NJ commuter just wants to get to work and back, does not follow how trains work like we do here on AU, and probably does not realize that there are legitimate reasons for the mess. Therefore, they are, understandably, really upset with NJT right now. I like your point about making more trains from PJC locals with more stops. Because I only travel between Trenton and Princeton Junction, I can get any train, just as someone going to/from Hamilton can. But someone going farther north is limited in train choice if they need to take a local instead of an express. Not sure how the commuters would react to that, though--the ones who must wait for a local now would be happy, but those who take the express now and would get into New York 20 minutes later would be furious.

 

You are also exactly right about some wanting Atlantic City to fail (North/South again).

 

By the way, there is an article today in the Trenton Times asking "Is Steve Sweeney the most powerful person in New Jersey?" Unfortunately, I'm not sure how he feels about NJT.

 

Jim,

 

You are absolutely right about Florida. That sounds perfect, but perhaps in January or February. Right now, it would be like jumping from one frying pan into another, and, as you might have gathered from my rant about NJT on Friday, I get slightly irritable in hot weather :P. (If there were cancellations on a nice balmy 45 degree day, I would just say "Whatever--something will be along sometime" and be much more philosophical about it!) :)

Edited by Mystic River Dragon

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I'll help Transit out. Me and some friends just applied for engine service. Five men from the steam side. Besides it pays 76k after training a year. Not a bad gig.

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I'll help Transit out. Me and some friends just applied for engine service. Five men from the steam side. Besides it pays 76k after training a year. Not a bad gig.

The Bad News is you have to live in Expensive,Tax Crazy Jersey!😣

 

But Good Luck with the Gig!😉

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I'll help Transit out. Me and some friends just applied for engine service. Five men from the steam side. Besides it pays 76k after training a year. Not a bad gig.

The Bad News is you have to live in Expensive,Tax Crazy Jersey!

 

But Good Luck with the Gig!

I need something to do

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I'll help Transit out. Me and some friends just applied for engine service. Five men from the steam side. Besides it pays 76k after training a year. Not a bad gig.

The Bad News is you have to live in Expensive,Tax Crazy Jersey!

 

But Good Luck with the Gig!

I need something to do

 

 

Are you serious it pays that well! That's better than professional salaries in Chicago - how much does it increase over a hypothetical career and what benny's, like pension, health care, etc?

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