Future of Northeast Corridor Rail Service and One Seat Ride Discussed at RVRC Meeting

Peter Palmer, Chairman of the RVRC and Somerset County Freeholder, answers questions. Credits: M Scarlett

SOMERSET, NJ – The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) held their quarterly meeting at the Somerset County Administration Building Monday morning to see a presentation about the future of the rail system in the North East Corridor and to update members on the progress being made on the “one seat” ride concept.

Ruby Siegel, the Vice President and Senior Project Manager at US Transportation Planning, presented an overview of the Federal Railroad Administration’s current Project, NEC Future--A Rail Investment Plan for the Northeast Corridor.

“This is a collaborative process and our intent is to have the study completed in 2015 … to identify what makes sense and get it down to five reasonable alternatives that fit into the 2040 horizon,” said Siegel.

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The project is using a wide array of criteria to screen various alternatives, including ridership, service effectiveness, environmental impact, and of course, cost.

Peter Palmer, Chairman of the RVRC and Somerset County Freeholder, then spoke briefly regarding the update on the “one seat” ride concept for the Raritan Valley, referring attendees to newspaper articles outlining the meeting that various politicians had with NJ TRANSIT on Aug. 2, where it was announced that a “limited” number of dual locomotive would be deployed on the Raritan Valley Line in the Spring of 2014, but only in off-peak times.

Martin Robins, a RVRC Trustee, commented on how the meeting was a great “first step” and commended Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky for pushing for the meeting.

“However,” said Palmer, “we cannot show up to one meeting and expect to get everything. This is a crusade, not a single battle.”

Tom Jardim, Vice Chairman of the RVRC, agreed with Palmer, saying that it was “not the time to take our foot off the gas pedal.”

Palmer went on to outline how Mindy Scarlett, the Managing Editor of the Scotch Plains/Fanwood edition of The Alternative Press would be organizing the social media, working with other members of a smaller committee to galvanize the “grass roots” action needed to attain the “one seat” ride in peak times on the line.

“Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr will be organizing the mayors all along the line,” said Palmer.  “We really appreciate her efforts, and those of other officials such as Westfield Mayor Andy Skibitsky and Councilman Adrian Mapp from Plainfield.”

John Del Colle, a representative from NJ TRANSIT, gave updates on various projects currently underway on the Raritan Line, but had nothing to add to the ongoing discussion regarding a “one seat” ride.

Anyone with questions or comments can send them to RaritainValleyLine@gmail.com                                  

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