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State Auditor’s findings reinforce much of what we already know. New Jersey Transit isn’t doing enough to fix what’s wrong!

Ridgewood_Train_station_train _is_coming_theridgewoodblog

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood N J, Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean responded to serious concerns about New Jersey Transit (NJT) that were raised in a new report by the State Auditor.

“Virtually every aspect of New Jersey Transit’s rail operations, including poor on-time performance, problems with safety upgrades, and badly maintained infrastructure were laid bare in the State Auditor’s report,” said Kean. “As I’ve said repeatedly, rail commuters deserve improvement from New Jersey Transit, not more delays and excuses.”

Continue reading State Auditor’s findings reinforce much of what we already know. New Jersey Transit isn’t doing enough to fix what’s wrong!

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Ridgewood Train Station

file photo by ArtChick

October 28, 2016
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, NJ TRANSIT is stepping up its annual battle against Mother Nature and fallen leaves on the rails.  Based on the success of its original leaf-clearing unit, NJ TRANSIT is deploying a second AquaTrack machine throughout the fall season.

The equipment is a high-pressure power-washing system which removes leaves and oily residue from the tracks in an effort to prevent train delays caused by “slippery rail” conditions.

The second AquaTrack unit will allow the cleaning process to maintain a larger coverage area in helping to prevent delays.

“While there is no way to completely eliminate the effect Mother Nature has on the railroad, the AquaTrack unit has had great success in prior years when it comes to managing leaf-related slippage on our rails,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Steve Santoro.  “By utilizing these two highly specialized pieces of equipment, we can keep the rails free and clear of fallen leaves, which increases safety and keep trains running on time.”

Fallen leaves left on rail tracks can cause a condition known as “slippery rail” – a challenge facing all railroads in the Northeast and other parts of the world where deciduous trees are prevalent.  The decaying leaves create an oily residue that coats the rails and causes poor traction.  The decreased train speeds, in turn, create delays.

The AquaTrack system has been in use by NJ TRANSIT since October 2003.  It consists of two 250-horsepower diesel-engine units mounted on a flat car with an operator control cab.  Two pressure-pump units dispense water up to 20,000 pounds-per-square-inch directly to the top of the rail. The process uses 17 gallons of water per minute.

Traditionally, the original AquaTrack operated primarily on the M&E and Montclair-Boonton lines, which are particularly challenged including the hilly areas around Glen Ridge and Summit stations, washing the rails twice a day Monday through Friday—once overnight and again during midday hours.  On weekends, the Pascack Valley and Main/Bergen County lines are usually covered.  The addition of a second unit will add cleaning on the Raritan Valley and North Jersey Coast Lines.

In addition to AquaTrack, NJ TRANSIT also strategically spreads sand on the rails in front of peak-period trains to increase traction.  NJ TRANSIT also trims trees to help stem the amount of leaves on the tracks.  The leaf clearing operation runs from mid-October through mid-December.

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Rep. Scott Garrett hosts a forum between local officials, rail industry ,emergency management coordinators and officials from the Federal Railroad Administration

Scott Garrett

August 12,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Bergenfield NJ,  Rep. Scott Garrett (NJ-05) today called on Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Regional Administrator Les Fiorenzo to address the concerns brought up by local officials and emergency management coordinators at a July 25th forum held by the Congressman in Bergenfield. With oil trains travelling in areas of Bergen County, Rep. Garrett has led numerous efforts to ensure that residents know that their families and their property are safe when a freight train travels through our communities.

Rep. Garrett brought in high-ranking federal regulators and representatives from the rail industry so local elected officials and emergency management coordinators could hear directly from them about efforts to ensure the safe movement of goods on our nation’s rail network. The forum included presentations from FRA Regional Director Fiorenzo and CSX representatives to explain the resources available in New Jersey communities, such as crisis management exercises and emergency management coordinator training.

Local officials were also given an opportunity to express concerns directly to the FRA  Regional Administrator—the federal regulator directly overseeing northern New Jersey. Some of those concerns have already been remedied or moved to the top of the FRA’s priority list thanks to the discussion at the forum. The goal of the forum was to create an open and transparent line of communication between federal and local officials.

Today, Garrett is following-up to get answers from the FRA on five specific concerns that were brought up during the forum:

  1. Concerns regarding idling trains in residential areas and the security of these trains;
  2. Obstructed grade crossing sightlines due to overgrown vegetation;
  3. Requirements and the processes for establishing quiet zones in residential communities;
  4. Reports of grade crossing malfunctions; and
  5. The damaged railroad crossing on Broadway Avenue in Norwood.

To read the entire letter, click here.