Joseph Boardman on C-SPAN

NOVEMBER 23, 2015 @ 8:30 AM Eastern Standard Time

Rail Safety and the Future of Train Travel

Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman discusses security and safety in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks and the Amtrak train derailment in May of this year. He also talks about Amtrak’s ridership, budget, and the future of rail travel.

On March 12, 2015, NJ State Senators Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) and Nicholas Sacco (D-Bergen/Hudson) introduced legislation to modify the existing structure of the NJ Transit Board of Directors. Currently, there are seven voting members and a single non-voting member that was added to the NJ Transit Board several years ago with the intent of providing representation for the public.

Legislative Bill S-2804 includes language that would expand the NJ Transit Board to ten members, nine of which will have voting authority. News reports online indicate that the bill may be amended to also provide voting authority for the existing non-voting member. Another provision of the Bill includes the requirement that members selected to represent the public must be NJ Transit commuters. The related NJ State Assembly Bill, A-4303, was introduced by Assemblyman John Wisniewski (D-Middlesex) and Assemblywoman Elizabeth Maher Muoio (D-Hunterdon/Mercer)

More recently, Senator Lesniak has created an online petition asking residents to support Bill S-2804 via the website Give Commuters a Voice. All New Jersey residents are encouraged to sign the petition as a way to demonstate support for greater transparency and accountability from the NJ Transit Board of Directors.

Volunteers Wanted

If you are a member of the National Railway Historical Society or any of its local chapters, and have time during the middle of the week, the WEDNESDAY REGULARS are looking for you.

if you want to do computerized research about railway history, contact Les Dean at

To access chapter information as well as over 20 railroad publications, call Burt Eisenberg at 267-312-4702.  Call Monday or Tuesday to set up an appointment at the DVARP/NRHS office at 1601 Walnut Street, Suite 1129 in Center City Philadelphia.

Northeast Corridor service to be restored Monday morning

At 5:30 p.m. this afternoon, Amtrak announced the restoration of service between Philadelphia and New York. As stated on the Amtrak website, “Effective with departures from Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m. (Train 110) and New York at 5:30 a.m. (Train 111), all Amtrak Acela, Northeast Regional and other services resume.”

SEPTA has also announced the resumption of service with some modifications. As stated on the SEPTA website, “Trenton service will resume tomorrow AM (5/18) with no service to North Philadelphia, Bridesburg and Tacony stations. Delays are expected.”

The restoration comes following an announcement late last week that service would not resume until Tuesday. Amtrak and contractor personnel have been working around the clock to repair the damage sustained during the derailment. NJ Transit restored service to 30th Street Station on Friday, May 15th.

Amtrak Derailment in Philadelphia

On Tuesday May 12th, at approximately 9:20 PM local time, Amtrak Northeast Regional Train #188 derailed at the curve east of Frankford Junction while enroute to New York City, resulting in the death of 8 and injuring approximately 200 according to news outlets. During a press conference late this afternoon, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesperson Robert Sumwalt stated that preliminary data extracted from the locomotive event recorder indicates that the train was traveling at approximately 106 Miles per Hour as it approached the curve. The approach speed limit is 80 MPH, and the speed limit through the curve is 50 MPH.

Due to NTSB investigation activity and the damage resulting from the derailment, rail service through the affected area is suspended indefinitely, pending Amtrak repairs. This includes Amtrak, the SEPTA Trenton Line, and the NJ Transit Atlantic City Rail Line west of Cherry Hill Station.

This PlanPhilly article: How to go around the Northeast Corridor shutdown after the Frankford Junction derailment provides a comprehensive list of transit alternatives between Trenton and Philadelphia to bypass the affected area.

SEPTA is offering additional trains on the West Trenton Line, which is accessible via special NJ Transit shuttle bus from the Trenton Transportation Center. There is no fare for the special NJ Transit Shuttle but customers must present a valid SEPTA or Amtrak fare to ride.

Atlantic City Rail Line riders can access PATCO at Lindenwold or temporary bus shuttles operating between Cherry Hill and Philadelphia 30th Street Station. NJ Transit is currently cross-honoring Amtrak and SEPTA Regional Rail Division tickets on the Southern Division bus routes and the River Line. Amtrak tickets only are being cross-honored on NJ Transit NEC trains between Trenton and New York City.

PATCO is currently cross-honoring tickets for Amtrak and the NJ Transit Atlantic City Rail Line.

DVARP extends sympathy to the injured, and condolences to the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

DVARP would also like to thank the many participants assisting in the rescue operation. The efforts and professionalism of the first responders is appreciated.

Public Hearings / NJ Transit Fare & Service Proposal

NJ TRANSIT will hold nine scheduled public hearings and one information session beginning Saturday, May 16, 2015 to allow the public the opportunity to learn more about the proposed fare increases and service changes and offer comments before the plan is considered by the Board of Directors on July 8, 2015.

The proposed service and fare changes would take effect in September 2015 and on October 1, 2015, respectively. The proposed fare adjustment would be an average of 9 percent for the majority of NJ TRANSIT customers.

The dates and times of meeting locations most convenient to residents of southern New Jersey include:

DATE: Monday, May 18, 2015
TIME: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Atlantic City Rail Terminal – Lobby
One Atlantic City Expressway, Atlantic City, NJ

DATE: Tuesday, May 19, 2015
TIME: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Camden City Hall – Council Chambers (Floor 2)
520 Market Street, Camden, NJ

DATE: Thursday, May 21, 2015
TIME: 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Trenton Transit Center
72 South Clinton Avenue, Trenton, NJ

For more hearing schedule information, go to the NJ TRANSIT Press Release webpage.

For more information on fare and service restructuring, go to the NJ TRANSIT Fare and Service Proposal webpage.


April 9, 2015 has been designated National Transportation Infrastructure Day.  DVARP has joined a coalition of business, labor organizations, community groups and transportation advocates for all modes urge Congress to enact a long-term sustainable funded authorization of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (P.L. 112-141).  On Thursday, April 9 at 9:00 A.M. we will join a rally at Dilworth Park, adjacent City Hall in Philadelphia.

DVARP to host NARP Regional Meeting on March 28

The Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers (DVARP) will host the 2015 Tri-State Meeting (DE, NJ, PA) of NARP on Saturday, March 28, 2015.  The meeting will take place at the Friends Center, 15th and Cherry Streets, in Philadelphia, which is one block north of SEPTA’s Suburban Station.  SEPTA will accept Amtrak tickets on regional rail trains from 30th Street Station.  Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to be followed by a tour.  NARP President Emeritus Ross Capon; Amishi Castelli from the Volpe Group and Ruby Siegal from AECOM; and Byron Comati from Strategic Planning at SEPTA will address the meeting.  The price of admission, which includes refreshments, a buffet lunch, and a tour, is $35 if received by March 25, and $40 at the door.

Meeting Schedule for NHSL extension

A study is underway by SEPTA concerning a proposal to extend the Norristown High Speed Line (formerly Route 100) from the existing route north of Hughes Park station to the King of Prussia area. The Tier 2 scoping process has reduced the alignment variations to five alternatives.

The meetings include a presentation program by SEPTA and the opportunity for public comment. The schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, March 25,  2015
Presentations at 4:00PM and 6:30PM
Workshops at 4:30PM and 7:00PM
Double Tree Valley Forge Hotel
Jefferson Ballroom
301 W. DeKalb Pike, King of Prussia, PA