Category Archives: New Jersey

Zim ship first to pass under raised bridge at NY-NJ port

The arrival of the Zim Antwerp, heading under the bridge for Maher Terminals, will open a new era at the East Coast’s largest port.

Larger ships than expected traversing new Panama Canal
The long-anticipated sea change in trans-Pacific shipping networks is well underway a year after the Panama Canal opened its expanded lock system.

Looking for the Ontario & Western….Found Salisbury Mills

Got a request from a viewer about NY Ontario & Western tracks from Cornwall-on-Hudson to Salisbury Mills. The old (at least 1957) O&W tracks appear everywhere across New York State from Cornwall to Utica to Oswego.

Consulted Emily from “I RideThe Harlem Line” and seem to have found an answer.

Salisbury Mills – Cornwall Station. Is on the Graham Line (named after Chief Engineer Joseph M. Graham), which was created to better accomodate freight. Really, the most noteworthy part of the then-Graham Line, today’s Port Jervis Line, is the Moodna Viaduct.

A few of the stations on the Port Jervis line feature a little historical sketch on the canopy. Unfortunately, the one at Salisbury Mills – Cornwall is left blank… which is really too bad.

The original Salisbury Mills station was on the Erie’s Newburgh Branch.
Chester was Always Erie too.

My Railroad Stock!

I am sure some of our readers think I own all kinds of railroad stock.

They are wrong! I own one share of railroad stock! It is from the “Warwick Valley Rail Road Company”. In 1882 in joined in a merger that saw the Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad emerge.

The line extended from Belvidere, NJ to Maybrook, NY where the New Haven Railroad provided a gateway to New England. The L&HR built a bridge between Phillipsburg, NJ and Easton, PA and ran via trackage rights on the Pennsylvania RR and the Jersey Central Railroad to Allentown, PA. The L&HR handled zinc traffic from the area around Franklin, NJ but mostly it was a bridge line carrying overhead freight. The mergers and abandonments of the 1960 did the L&HR harm, but the New York Central – PRR merger in 1968 caused much traffic to be diverted. The line went bankrupt in 1972 and inclusion in Conrail spelled the end in 1976. The line north of Sparta Jct. became part of the New York, Susquehanna & Western main line in 1982 and the line south of that point was abandoned by Conrail in 1986.

Read more about the Lehigh & Hudson River
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/the-warwick-valley-and-other-railroads-west-of-the-hudson/

Erie-Lackawanna Commuting in New Jersey

The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad’s Hoboken Terminal is the only active surviving railroad terminal alongside the Hudson River and is a nationally recognized historical site.

Built in 1907, Hoboken Terminal still serves. It has six ferry slips (now unused) as DL&W operated ferries to 23rd Street, Christopher Street and Barkley Street. It also connects with PATH trains. 18 tracks served both commuter and long distance traffic.

Lackawanna’s New Jersey territory became a major commuter carrier. A lot of money was spent on grade crossing elimination, track elevation and new stations before electrification in 1930 to Dover, Gladstone and Montclair. Electrification was viewed as the best way to squeeze more trains onto existing tracks.

Erie Lackawanna handled about half of the New Jersey/New York commuter volume with over 35,000 daily passengers riding over 200 trains. Much of the ex-DL&W work was done with equipment that was already over thirty years old at the time of the merger. Ex-Erie diesel routes used World War I-vintage coaches. Erie Lackawanna’s brief life saw both the end of Hudson River ferry service (1967) and long distance passenger service (1970). It also saw the rise of government subsidy for commuter service and the introduction of new equipment with this help.

Read more about the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/lackawanna-railroad/

Could this ‘visionary’ plan solve the area’s transit woes? (VIDEO)

NJ.com via California Rail News

With Penn Station’s failing infrastructure at capacity, a plan to merge the area’s train and bus service into one regional system is the cornerstone of an idea floated by a New York design firm as a solution to the region’s commuting problems.

Called ReThink NYC Plan 2050, the centerpiece of the idea is a unified commuter rail that connects NJ Transit, Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road lines through a revamped Penn Station…

Some funding for the plan, estimated to cost $48 billion, would come from scaling back plans to replace the Port Authority Bus Terminal with a smaller structure. It would eliminate plans to build an annex south of Penn Station, which Rick called “a $7 billion to $8 billion mistake.”
The main criticism of Penn South annex is the extra tracks would dead end, limiting their usefulness.

“No other city is building a terminal in its core,” Rick said.
Instead, all platforms under Penn Station would be extended beneath the Moynihan Station, which will be the new name of the converted Farley postal facility.

GOVERNORS CHRISTIE AND CUOMO CALL FOR PRIVATIZING PENN STATION

WABC via California Rail News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a joint letter declaring they have lost all faith in Amtrak. “A professional, qualified, private station operator must be brought in to take over the repairs and manage this entire process going,” the letter read.

Many of the infrastructure problems in the New York Metro Area can be blamed on the Governors of New York and New Jersey. Both States have power over the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority controls most of transportation in the Metro New York area. It is funded from revenue from bridge and tunnel tolls which allow it to issue bonds to build major projects without approval from legislatures or a vote from the people. The problem is many people consider the Port Authority a piggy bank for both state’s governors for money without the need need of dealing with the legislature. At the same time the Authority is not keeping up with maintaining infrastructure they already control. One example is the Port Authority’s Bus Terminal in Manhattan which is literally falling apart and needs replacing. The other is LaGuardia Airport which the Port Authority owns with the other regional airports. It was built in the 1930s and is a favorite butt of jokes. In New York the state has a major role in funding the Subway system. The state hasn’t been willing to fund the Subway which leaves much of the signalling and infrastructure predating the 1950’s. As for New Jersey it was Christie who cut money of the Gateway Project he now has to support and to New Jersey Transit. The result of the NJT cut backs has been in increase of accidents and breakdowns on NJT.

As Christie Hounds Amtrak, N.J. Transit Safety Fines Mount

Bloomberg News has sounded off on Governor Christie of New Jersey

Fresh details of safety lapses are emerging at New Jersey’s beleaguered mass-transit agency even as Governor Chris Christie deflects blame and excoriates Amtrak, the national railroad, for mishaps and riders face upheaval.

In Hoboken, a major hub for New York-bound commuters, a “worn and chipped” track switch remained in use more than three months after it was identified, according to documents that New Jersey Transit provided after a public-records request. The faulty part, cited as a possible cause of a minor two-car derailment in 2014, endangered “thousands of commuters” a day, a Federal Railroad Administration inspector wrote.

At a Morris County yard, inspectors documented out-of-service trains left without brakes applied.

“This car had two wooden chocks under the first wheel, the only measure taken to prevent this string of 13 cars from rolling,” inspector Sean Fitzpatrick wrote in August 2016.

The reports come to light as Amtrak and New Jersey Transit, which share tracks under the Hudson River to Manhattan, tell riders to expect months of inconvenience due to maintenance and repairs after two Amtrak derailments at New York Pennsylvania Station. At the same time, Christie is withholding millions of dollars in fees due to Amtrak to keep its rails in good shape.

“If that’s the political game — pointing across the river to hide your own mismanagement — that’s unacceptable,” said Assemblyman John McKeon, a Democrat presiding over hearings on New Jersey Transit after a fatal wreck in Hoboken in September.

In all, New Jersey Transit faces 67 citations reported over two years that have yet to be settled, as railroads typically litigate them for years.

Passengers already suffer mounting delays and crowding at the hands of the nation’s second-busiest railroad, plus the long-term threat of a failure in Amtrak’s flood-damaged Hudson tunnel. Christie in 2010 canceled construction of a second tunnel, and President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint includes no funding for another passage, part of Amtrak’s proposed $23 billion Gateway project.

No injuries or fatalities have been linked to New Jersey Transit’s violations. In the 2014 Hoboken incident, “passengers were quickly escorted off the train,” Nancy Snyder, a New Jersey Transit spokeswoman, said in an email. The derailment, she said, “was not caused by NJT equipment nor human error, and the FRA inspector finding remains in dispute.”

Steve Santoro, the agency’s executive director, told lawmakers today in a state Senate budget hearing that the Hoboken switch incident was old news.

“We’ve done a lot of things to our railroad in the past two years,” Santoro said. “I can unequivocally say the railroad’s safe.”

As a whole, the reports detail a broader and more serious scope of troubles beyond those disclosed by the railroad at a legislative hearing in November.

In March 2015, for instance, a technician at a Morris County crossing used unapproved cables to bypass wiring that controls gates, warning lights and bells, then failed to reset the circuit, according to the reports. A crew noticed the defect while their train was in the crossing; the technician was given 10 days off without pay.

Can Amtrak bar NJ Transit from Northeast Corridor if state withholds rent?

Governor Chris Christie (best known for George Washington Bridge) posed this question and NJ.com covered the story.

NJ Transit pays Amtrak $93 million a year so that more than 400 of its trains can use the Northeast Corridor, but Gov. Chris Christie wants to stop making the lease payment until he gets answers to maintenance questions after an April 3 derailment in Penn Station…
NJ Transit paid $62 million for maintenance for 2016, in a lump sum payment after executing a contract with Amtrak in February, spokesperson Nancy Snyder said. That payment wasn’t late under the agreement, she said.

NJ Transit officials are waiting for an invoice from Amtrak for this year’s $74 million maintenance payment. That bill will be reviewed and, once any discrepancies have been reconciled, NJ Transit will make arrangements to pay, Snyder said. Amtrak officials said NJ Transit makes monthly rent payments.

At the same time, NJ.com reported Amtrak officials are citing mechanical issues with an NJ Transit train as the cause for the incident that stranded 1,200 passengers for several hours in the Hudson River tunnels between New Jersey and New York on Friday night.

“Amtrak has determined that the incident involving NJ Transit Train 3850 last Friday was not caused by Amtrak infrastructure, and that the preliminary cause appears to be a NJ Transit mechanical problem involving the train’s pantograph (power collector),” said Mike Tolbert, an Amtrak spokesman in a statement on Monday.

Then a story from Bloomburg: After three passenger-train mishaps in the past month underscored the fragility of New York City rail travel, Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Wick Moorman said the only solution is the $23 billion Gateway tunnel project.

“The fundamental problem is: What is plan B?” Moorman, 65, said in an interview at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. “I don’t know.”

Then WABC-TV chimed in: Recent train disruptions in New York that caused cascading delays between Boston and Washington, D.C., have refocused attention on a multibillion-dollar tunnel project that could have ameliorated future problems if it hadn’t been canceled by Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in 2010.

Whether Christie feels any pangs of remorse over the decision was left unanswered Wednesday at a news conference to urge President Donald Trump’s administration to honor a pre-existing commitment to fund a new tunnel project.

Hoboken Train Crash

Train 1614, with a Comet V cab car on the head end, departed from Spring Valley at 7:23 AM and was due to arrive in Hoboken at 8:38 AM. The cab car came to a halt between the terminal’s indoor waiting area and the end of the platform. A metal and glass train shed collapsed. Most of the injuries occurred in the lead car or to people struck by collapsing debris inside the station. Many people were trapped on the train or in the debris. The single fatality was a woman in her 30s who was on the platform.

NJT is in the process of installing PTC system-wide, but does not currently have plans to install it within Hoboken Terminal’s massive and complex interlocking plant. NJT applied for and received from the FRA what is known as a “Main Line Track Exclusion Addendum” (MTEA) to its PTC Implementation Plan (PTCIP) for Hoboken Terminal, where the existing ATC (Automatic Train Control, cab signal with speed control) system enforces an MAS (maximum authorized speed) of 20 mph. PTC would have provided a zero-speed target for the end of the platform, and would have automatically made a penalty brake application if it calculated and determined that the train’s 20 mph-to-0 mph braking curve was insufficient to stop the train just short of the end-of-platform bumping block. ATC does not calculate and enforce braking curves.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials said on Sunday one data recorder recovered so far from the New Jersey Transit commuter train that crashed in Hoboken, killing one and injuring more than 100, was not functioning on the day of the accident.

The locomotive’s recorder has information on train speed. NTSB vice chair T Bella Dinh-Zarr said at a Sunday news conference she was hopeful the data recorder in the cab control car in the front of the train was functional. That has yet to be recovered from the crash site.

PANYNJ to welcome first neo-Panamax vessel

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and GCT USA officials on Friday will greet the Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) Benefactor, the largest container ship ever to call on the port at GCT Bayonne.

The MOL Benefactor, which is a 10,000 20-foot-equivalent-units (TEU) container ship, successfully passed through the newly expanded Panama Canal on July 1. The ship was the first neo-Panamax vessel to complete a commercial transit through the new expanded locks, according to a press release issued by ship owner Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd.

Since opening the expansion June 26, the Panama Canal has been able to accommodate ships as large as 14,000 TEUs. The MOL Benefactor is the first ship to visit an East Coast port after passing through the locks.

Mitsui OSK Lines took delivery of the new ship in March.