Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The railroad divide

There are roughly nine branches of NJ Transit train lines in the North and "Central" areas of New Jersey. This is not including the PATH system, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail or the Newark Light Rail.

In South Jersey there is one, the Atlantic City Line. But there is also the River Line and the PATCO. . . which are kind of the southern equivalents of the PATH and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

The biggest reason why this passenger rail divide exists is purely population . . the center of the state's population (as of 2000) is in East Brunswick in Middlesex County. . . and that is why most of the rail lines are north of the pop. center (notice how the above map divides the state too).

But New Jersey used to have some older railroads. Check out this great website and see the progression of South Jersey's railroads. Then check out this North Jersey historic rail site (which could use some updating).

There are also some in Northwestern NJ that are still around for tourists today. Some that I have not mentioned are freight railroads - a pretty good list can be found here of all rail lines in New Jersey.

So the question is - if you could build a passenger rail line in New Jersey, possibly to make your work commute easier, (of course NOT keeping in mind our state's deficit) . . . where from and where to would you build it?


Jen A. Miller said...

There's been talk about a commuter rail down the Garden State Parkway (south area closer to me). I've also heard plans about creating a PATCO line through Gloucester City into Philadelphia.

But given that PATCO can't even open the Washington Square entrance/exit into PATCO, I think they're both a long ways away...though a Walt Whitman PATCO would make getting to the sports complex a lot easier...

Jen A. Miller said...

I'd also like to add that PATCO's new "freedom" fare system is buggy.

The new sysem gives you two bad options: buy disposable paper tickets per ride (waste waste waste) or reusable cards for which they charge you $5. Plus, the smallest amount they'll let you add to the card is $20. PLUS, I've been double charged three times so far.

So give me back the old plastic ticket system. Those things lasted forever and weren't nearly as wonky.