Frequently Asked Questions

In an effort to educate on the benefits of passenger rail service, we have developed this section to answer questions and put to rest any potential myths. This section will be updated as questions are asked about passenger rail service in general, and the restoration of service on the NYS&W in particular.

People have said passenger rail brings crime.
Answer: False
This is a very common misconception about passenger rail service. There is no statistical proof that rail service brings crime. In fact, in South Jersey, a general study was conducted by the Glocester County Times centering around PATCO expansion and the introduction of the RiverLINE. The analysis showed that not only did crime not go up, but in many cases, crime went down in towns along the RIVERLine. To read the full article, click here.

Passenger Rail Service causes more traffic than it takes away.
Answer: False
There is no statistical evidence that passenger rail service will cause more traffic than it would take away.  In fact, not only would passenger rail service alleviate commuter traffic, but as per the resolution passed by the Morris County NJ freeholders, the proposed service would also "reduce the impact on the state, county and municipal infrastructure; and lower carbon emissions to benefit the environment." (Article link.)

Many people make the argument that bus service could in fact work as a viable substitute for removing traffic from the roads. While there is some truth to this, and the group is not looking at having bus service removed altogether, a typical bus carries up to 300 passengers in a single trip (Article Link). Whereas a passenger train properly configured, could carry up to 1,500 passengers in a single trip. In addition, the rail line in question for the restoration is barely used for freight service on a weekly basis, freeing up that right-of-way for a more consistent schedule and running speed as opposed to the highway corridors that border the line.  (Article Link / US Railcar Information.) Considering that buses share a right-of-way with cars, and traffic consistently is going up on busy corridors such as Route 23, passenger rail service has become more viable.

Passenger Rail Service will have a positive impact on property values.
Answer: True
Whether making a commitment to redevelopment and improvement of mobility, or implementing the right transit alternatives in existing areas, numerous studies have shown that the institution of rail service has had a positive impact on property values.  One such study, centering around the now defunct Access to the Regions Core project, stated that "the value of homes near stations on the improved rail lines (were) projected to increase by about $19,000 on average after the rail improvements are completed.  Homes within one-half mile of stations (would have seen) increases up to $29,000."  For the full article, click here.

Passenger Rail Service brings economic opportunity
Answer: True
Most local studies have only looked at the potential for reducing congestion on highways. However, the other side of the argument is how passenger rail could generate a flurry of new economic opportunity. Take for example, the studies conducted on instituting passenger rail service in Kansas. The following bullet points were extracted from an article published in the Wichita Eagle regarding the development of a regional passenger rail service throughout the state:

* The University of Kansas School of Business' financial-impact study has projected an economic impact of $3.20 for every $1 invested in infrastructure for and operation of passenger-rail service along a route that would bring trains up from Oklahoma City through Wichita to Kansas City.

* The Oklahoma experience with trains between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City has been particularly reassuring. Towns along that route in Oklahoma averaged $4 million in expanded economic activity the first year after the trains' arrival.

* The Kansas Department of Transportation has conducted an economic-impact analysis of expanded passenger-rail service, a comprehensive study that shows positive numbers on return of investment, short- and long-term growth, and overall stimulation of the Kansas economy.

With the continued increasing density of towns in Sussex, Passaic and Bergen Counties, the entities in question need to also look at how much economic activity will be generated through the re-institution of passenger rail service on the NYS&W.  Read the full article here.

There is no money available for the service
Answer: True and False
As of right now, most of New Jersey Transit's capital funds are committed to projects.  However, what people do not realize is that many outside-of-the-box alternatives do in fact exist for funding this service.  A regional transit authority consisting of the towns and counties that border the line could be formed, pooling their resources together to hire an entity to offer the service.

In addition, privatized rail service, while not an option in the past, is starting to become more viable with the price of gas projected to go up.  Part of the master plan of the Codorus Creek Railway Corporation out of Pennsylvania is to offer private passenger rail service from York, PA to Baltimore, MD by utilizing renovated equipment.  In theory, a similar service could be offered on the NYS&W either for commuting to transfer to key points within the New Jersey Transit network, or for tourist trains to Sussex Counties agro-tourist sites and resorts.  For more information on the Codorus Creek Railway Corporation, click here to view their website, or here to check out their Facebook page.

Passenger Rail Service will make towns in Sussex County such as Vernon seem more like a town closer to New York City.
Answer: False
While the connection between economic opportunities and the development of passenger rail is clear, the notion that rail service would take away the charm of a town is unfounded.  If anything, in towns such as Vernon Township in New Jersey, passenger rail service, as part of an overall plan including Main Street and other projects has the potential to help increase the mobility of residents, and potentially through a ski train, bring additional tourists to the town.

Do you have any questions you would like to see here?  Send us a message by clicking here.

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