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Farewell to Metro North West-of-Hudson rail service?
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




Joined: 18 Dec 2007
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Location: NEW JOISEY

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also, back in the 1970's, there was much talk about extending PATH out to "bedroom communities" along the CNJ; PATH trains would have utilized the CNJ rails.

There were also plans to extend PATH out to Newark Airport.

Ironically, in 1974, CNJ employees began boarding up the windows of stations, in preparation for the abandonment of all passenger service on the railroad; the NJDOT then extended its passenger service contract for several months, in hopes of ConRail taking over passenger service.

There was, not surprisingly, much opposition from commuters along the CNJ, who did not want to commute via the small, cramped PATH cars; this ill-advised plan, of course, fell through.

Interestingly, about this time, GE submitted a bid to electrify the CNJ main line for MU service, and, also, operate it under a 10-yeaar contract.

Had this electrification taken place, the CNJ commuters would have enjoyed a one-seat ride into Manhattan......

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a few interesting links, w/history, details of present-day operations, photos, etc......

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raritan_Valley_Line (this is all that remains of the former "Main Line" of the CNJ; note section on "Proposed Extensions")
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillipsburg_Union_Station (this former depot was once served by both the CNJ and the DL&W)
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Jersey_Transit_Rail_Operations (this page details the history and present-day operations of NJT Rail Operations)
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Branch_Corridor_Project (until 1966, E-L commuter trains out of Hoboken operated on this line; for a number of years now, there have been many plans and proposals to bring back passenger service on this route, as an extension of the HBLR, that currently terminates in North Bergen, at Tonnelle Avenue)
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Bergen_Light_Rail (history and operation of the HBLR; note possible/proposed extensions)
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another link on the proposed HBLR extension into Bergen County......

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen-Passaic_Rail_Line
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the most ambitious passenger rail projects to ever be conjured was the extension of the H&M southwards from just east of Summit Avenue (JSQ) through a new set of tubes that would have taken the trains to a point near the CNJ's ROW, just west of the Communipaw ferry terminal.

At this point, the trains would have used CNJ rails (eerily echoing the failed PATH extension project via CNJ rails, in the 1970's) south to the tip of Bayonne, where the trains would have again dove underground, and crossed over into Staten Island.

Given the fact that the B&O already had a tight rein in Staten Island, I doubt that the Company would have welcomed an "upstart" from New Jersey.

Needless to say, this early plan never got beyond the talking stages.....

"NYO"
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N4 Jamaica




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting a few posts back that you should have contrasted the cramped PATH cars with the CNJ coaches on the Raritan Valley line. I never thought of that real problem. It ended up preferable to ride Multilevels to Penn Station than 51-foot cars with hard seats to Hudson Terminal. Thank you.
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Post script: I am no expert on the Raritan Valley Line, but transit folk sometimes overlook the importance of a one-seat ride. Did the Aldene Plan offer commuters an easier ride? Or was it a sign of the gradual loss of jobs in the Financial District? Maybe not, because at Newark Penn Station the choice was still offered: to Hudson Terminal via PATH or midtown via a crowded connecting train.
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On the other hand, who carries more passengers out of the Raritan Valley, the train or the bus on U.S. 22 to PABT?
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Joe:

The Aldene Plan never offered CNJ commuters a one-seat ride into New York; instead of transferring to the CNJ's ferryboats at Jersey City, they now had to transfer to PATH trains at Newark (ferry voyage from Jersey City was roughly 10 minutes; PATH trip from Newark to Hudson Terminal was at least twice that)

At Jersey City, several hundred commuters had little problems boarding the commodius ferryboats for the short voyage to Liberty Street; each of the CNJ ferries had the capacity of roughly 1800 passengers (right up until the end, CNJ boats were mobbed at rush hours; at the very end of ferry service, the only CNJ ferryboats still active were the "WILKES-BARRE", which was only used during the rush hours, and the "ELIZABETH". The other two ferryboats in CNJ service to Liberty St. were the ex-69th St. boats, the diesel-electric "THE TIDES" and "THE NARROWS")

There was also plenty of seating aboard the boats at rush hours, even on the heaviest peak-hour sailings; at Newark, however, a trainload of CNJ commuters would vie for space aboard a jammed HUDSON TERMINAL-bound PATH train, at Newark.

Many, of course, had to stand in the cramped cars for the 20-minute ride into Manhattan, unless they transferred at JSQ to a 33rd St. train.

With the Aldene Plan, there was no longer the PRR/PATH "joint service"; the operation was now 100% PATH. PATH tokens replaced the railroad-style tickets used previously.

After the PRR dropped out, PATH also eliminated rush hour NEWARK-HUDSON TERMINAL runs.

The CNJ was reduced to "tenant" status at Penn Station; trains could not linger at Penn Station, as they did at Jersey City, clearing the track for the next arrival.

At Jersey City, several trains could load/unload at the same time (the terminal had 18 tracks, most of which were used during rush hours)

The real "benefit" of the Aldene Plan was that the CNJ saved millions on operating the ferries; there had been rumors, several years prior, of the Department of Marine and Aviation (operator of the Staten Island Ferry) taking over the CNJ's ferry operation, but that never got beyond the talking stage.

Also, the PANY&NJ was anxious to get rid of the CNJ's massive Newark Bay lift bridge, which, they believed, hampered the growing container ship traffic on the Bay.

To this day, there is still talk of conspiracy to hasten the removal of the bridge, when a ship (oddly enough, about to be sent to the scrapyard) rammed into the bridge on a clear, sunny, tranquil day, knocking out two of the lift spans, in 1966.

The cash-strapped CNJ, not about to spend precious cash on bridge repairs, simply removed those spans from services, and shifted traffic (both passenger and freight) onto the two other tracks (needless to say, this created quite a bottleneck at rush hours; remember, too, the CNJ still had extensive freight operations in Jersey City at that time, and RDG passenger trains also were still using CNJ rails to connect with the ferries at Jersey City)

To this day, the RVL trains (ex-CNJ "Main Line") still carry more commuters than the buses; pre-NJT, SOMERSET served communities along the CNJ "Main Line", running into both Newark and New York.

You also mentioned NJT's Multi-Level coaches*; the current cars are, of course, locomotive-hauled; however, NJT has ordered a new generation of multi-level commuter coaches as I type these words, but these will be MU's.......

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_MultiLevel_Coach

"NYO"


Last edited by NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629 on Sun Oct 04, 2020 12:55 am; edited 3 times in total
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Non-commuter usage of NJT's Multi-Level cars*......

NJT's short-lived "ACES" express train service to Atlantic City failed, in part, due to its lengthy travel time from the city, as well as its convoluted routing; direct PRR passenger service from New York/Newark to Atlantic City ended in the 1960's, and the former route (long severed) of the CNJ's famed "BLUE COMET" to Atlantic City, switching off the NY&LB at Red Bank, has also been long unavailable to any sort of revived direct passenger service between New York/Newark and Atlantic City.

The buses to AC, at least, run direct to AC, without having to endure convoluted "detours", as did the ACES trains.

*The multi-level "ACES" cars, interestingly enough, were only assigned to these trains, and were not used in regular commuter service.

See:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_City_Express_Service
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet another "casualty" of the 1967 "Aldene Plan" was the abandonment of commuter service on the Newark Branch to the terminal on Broad St.; until the late 1940's, this was the western terminal of the CNJ's "Direct Line" between Jersey City and Newark.

When a steamship knocked out the bridge carrying this line, service was truncated; on the west side, the service became a shuttle between Elizabethport and Broad St.; on the eastern side, push-pull commuter trains (often utilizing a Camelback engine at each end) ran between West Side Avenue in Jersey City and the Communipaw ferry terminal (a portion of the original CNJ row in Jersey City is today used by HBLR trains heading to West Side Avenue)

This shuttle was short-lived, and never saw diesels.

By the 1960's, the four-track terminal at Broad St. (two tracks were removed from service after the abandonment of through service to Jersey City, and the tower was also closed) was serving mostly the RDC shuttles to E' Port; however, two through trains ran during the rush hours.

One was a Plainfield train; the other was an Atlantic Highlands train.

After Atlantic Highlands passenger service ended in late 1966 (pre-Aldene); the Atlantic Highlands train was then cut back to Matawan, with a bus connection.

All service to Broad St. ended with the Aldene Plan.

The elegant, ornamental station headhouse, dating to about 1915, housed a broad, high-ceilinged passageway up to train level; the main concourse was a smaller version of the train concourse at Jersey City.

In the early 1980's, the Bush trainsheds and the concourse were destroyed, with no remains of the station approaches remaining.

Today the Prudential arena abuts the rear of the former headhouse, which, sadly, is nothing more than a shell.

It had been planned to use the former headhouse as an entrance to the arena, but plans fell through a number of years back.

To this day, the trestle that carried CNJ trains over the PRR/PATH tracks just west of the platforms at Penn Station, remains intact to this day, well over 50 years since the the last CNJ trains crossed it.

This line, if intact and in use today, would have provided another commuter route out of the city, as well as an alternate to Penn Station, Newark, had there been service outages........

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In its last years, the CNJ's Atlantic Highlands branch, like the Newark Branch, was served most of the time by RDC shuttles.

These shuttles operated between the NY&LB at Matawan and Atlantic highlands; however, during rush hours, through service was offered from both Jersey City and, also, from Broad St. (Newark)

On certain rush-hour runs from Jersey City in the PM rush, the last several cars of a Bay Head Jct. train would be for passengers traveling to points along the Atlantic Highlands Branch.

At Matawan, the train would be cut; a "stand by" engine would be coupled to the rear cars of the Bay Head train, and then hauled to Atlantic Highlands.

The Broad St. trains operated direct to Atlantic Highlands, using the NY&LB as far as Matawan.

In late 1966, the Atlantic Highlands line lost passenger service; until Aldene, the trains out of Jersey City were cut back to Matawan.

The through trains from Newark, likewise, were also cut back to Matawan.......

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet another example of long-term "fallout" from the Aldene Plan......

Prior to Aldene, CNJ "Shore" trains to and from Jersey City utilized the Perth Amboy Branch, between Elizabethport and Perth Amboy; here, the trains literally threaded their way through the complex ganglia of refineries and chemical plants along the "Chemical Coast".

All CNJ seashore trains from Jersey City used this line; this also included trains to Atlantic Highlands and Freehold, and, until 1941, the "Blue Comet" also used this route.

After Aldene, the CNJ trains ran along the PRR from Perth Amboy into Penn Station.

In later years, however, this arrangement could wreak havoc for many Shore commuters, in the event of an Amtrak strike (or, some other serious issue, such as a derailment or power outage)

As Amtrak owns the former PRR line into Penn Station, NJT's North Jersey Coast line trains would then have no access to either Newark or New York, in the event of an Amtrak job action.

The former CNJ connections to the Perth Amboy near E'Port have long since vanished, and the "Chemical Coast" line now only serves heavy tanker and container traffic.

Yet another valuable rail link vanished forever......

"NYO"


Last edited by NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629 on Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More on the "Chemical Coast" line......

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_Coast
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See also:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExpressRail
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"THE B&O RR IN NEW JERSEY":

https://jcrhs.org/B&O.html

This extensive, well-researched page offers much in the way of the history and operations (both rail and marine) of the B&O in New Jersey, as well as in Staten Island and, also, in Manhattan.

Amazing to think of what complex rail/marine operations abounded in the NY Harbor area, and sobering to think that virtually all of it is now gone......

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As part of the Aldene Plan, PATH took delivery of a number of new "PA" cars, to handle the extra crowds boarding at Newark.

New PATH signalling was also installed on the Newark line, replacing the time-honored PRR position lights.

The "K" cars, in use on the Newark line since 1958, were replaced by these new cars, and were then largely relegated to rush hour service only, primarily on the Hoboken-Hudson Terminal line.

With the withdrawal of the PRR from the Newark service, the operation became a 100% PATH run.

New fencing and turnstiles were erected at Penn Station (Newark) and the use of tickets ended, replaced by (30 cents) tokens.

Interestingly (and not surprisingly) the CNJ reduced its commuter coach fleet by more than half with the start of the Aldene Plan; not only were many services reduced in frequency, but also, with the closing of the Jersey City ferry terminal (and its sprawling Johnston Avenue coach yards) there was no other location to store the CNJ's massive passenger fleet between runs.

All trains were now push-pull, as passenger power would no longer be able to be serviced at the Communipaw Engine Terminal, which continued to serve freight power until 1973; a new, compact engine facility was built at Raritan.

A new CNJ "coach yard" (for the push-pull sets) was built in Harrison, partially on the site of the former H&M loop tracks at Manhattan Transfer, which closed in 1937.

When the Aldene Plan went into affect, the CNJ retired all combines, which were still hauling express items and newspapers (RPO service on the CNJ ended in 1965)

The last remnants of passenger service to Pennsylvania from Jersey City also ended in 1967; CNJ freight service to Pennsylvania ended in the early 1970's.

The "Big Little Railroad" was now, more accurately, "The Little Railroad"......

"NYO"
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NEW YORK OMNIBUS 2629




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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2020 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Modernized and elevated in the late 1930's, CNJ's busy Elizabethport station was, for many years, indeed "the heart of the CNJ"; all trains to and from Jersey City passed through here.

This also included B&O and RDG trains.

Many CNJ rush hour expresses also stopped here, to allow commuters to transfer from, say, a "main line" train to a Newark train.

This station was unique in that it boasted both high level and low level platforms.

At street level, there was a station house with a waiting room and a ticket office/baggage room; at platform level, there were also enclosed auxiliary waiting shelters.

Pre-Aldene, there were a number of interesting moves through E'Port; for example, in the PM rush, a train would operate as a local from Jersey City to E-Port, and then (after discharging passengers), with the trainman now standing in the rear vestibule of the last car, the train would then back up the Newark Branch to Broad St., where it would then become the evening through train to Atlantic Highlands (a similar move was also made for the PM train to Plainfield, from Newark)

After Aldene, the station house at E-Port was boarded up, as were the waiting shelters at platform level; now, the formerly busy station was reduced to nothing more than a glorified "flag stop", with only one platform serving the Bayonne-Cranford shuttles ("The Scoot")

The once-busy tracks became weed-grown, and several crossovers and switches were also removed; it was not uncommon, post-Aldene, seeing long cuts of freight cars sitting on the tracks once used by passenger trains to and from Jersey City.

Besides the shuttles, the only other passenger trains to stop here were the seasonal specials that ran to Monmouth Park Racetrack.

When "The Scoot" was abandoned by ConRail in 1978, the station was totally closed, and, some years later, razed.

Virtually no trace of this once-busy station complex remains today; the destruction of this highly-valuable rail junction was nothing short of foolish......

"NYO"
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