We had a wonderful time exploring New Jersey's three light rail lines, as well as riding PATCO, a good portion of PATH, and NJ TRANSIT's Northeast Corridor Line between Trenton and Newark.
Things went almost according to plan. The trackwork on PATCO really did not adversely affect us; in fact it cut down on our dwell time at Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden. Many of us ate our lunch in Newark Penn Station perched on the benches in the station's waiting room. It wasn't gourmet style dining, but heck we're railfans and sometimes we can expect to "rough it" a bit. Although many had dropped away by then, a good number of us had dinner together at Sbarro near New York Penn Station, the same location where we had dined two months prior after the Big Apple RailFest.
The only other difference between our plan and what actually took place was that we bailed out of the HBLRT at Pavonia/Newport rather than Exchange Place, because the time was running out on our second fares. In hindsight, when I planned the fest I took in only travel time on the trains, not the time we would be spending standing on the platform within the fare paid zone awaiting our first train. For the time we were scheduled to spend on the system, as well as waiting times, three tickets would have been required rather than two. So we boarded the PATH at Pavonia/Newport, and thus were able to ride directly to 33rd Street at Herald Square rather than going into Hoboken and out again. This gave us a little more time for dinner, and more padding in New York City for those of us who had to catch trains to other places.
For me, the fest began when we started out with Lou in Lindenwold on an inbound PATCO train to the official meeting location in Philadelphia, and it didn't end until Sloan, Maurice, Michael, and I got off the VERMONTER in Philadelphia in the evening. That was a span of almost 13 hours for which I will recount in a future report!