QUOTE(KevinKorell @ Jul 28 2012, 10:37 AM)
The way it was worded it is confusing whether they were talking just about the future HSR trains, or Amtrak trains in general including the Regionals. I assume that Regionals will follow the pattern they do today. If Secaucus is added as a stop, IMO it probably should not be done by trains that also stop at Newark Airport. An Amtrak train that would stop at New York Penn, Secaucus, Newark Penn, and Newark Airport would be making 4 stops within 13 miles, which kind of defeats the purpose of passengers paying for premium service over commuter trains.
The same train does not have to make all stops. In the UK on the WCML and the ECML for example different trains run with different stop patterns skipping many stops, but on the whole many more stations are served by fast service. It would make sense to have two or three different stopping patterns depending on how many trains are run per hour etc.
BTW, I did point out to the editor the confusing nature of the article.
New Brunswick, NJ has very frequent NJT service; if Amtrak were to be out of the picture at NBK it would not be a problem. But again, trains stopping at Metropark (MET) should not also stop at NBK. I see Metropark as more important because it is primarily a park & ride facility that is near the intersection of most of the state's major highways where they all meet near Woodbridge and Perth Amboy.
Also hand in hand with this should go a common ticketing thing where Amtrak is able to issue a ticket from anywhere on its system to a NJT stop on the NEC via a trnafer at Trenton or Newark as a starter. NEC has only 5 fare zones so this should not break the bank for Amtrak. The NJT leg would simply use whatever NJT zone fare is, just like is done for the ACY Line. I have actually talked about this to NJT powers that be and they are recptive to it. next we need to talk to Amtrak, which will be done in the next few months, and then we can see where this may or may not go.
Keystones that run through New Jersey essentially provide express service and also serve as a relef valve for the busy PHL-NYP market. They could make more stops, but keeping most of the ridership between those two endpoints makes them more attractive and frees up seats on the Regionals for those travelling further distances outside that 91-mile segment of the corridor.
The primary attraction of Keystone is its generally lower fare. One or two additional stops will add 5 to 10 mins to the overall run time if that, and should not break the bank either. The primary issue here is not the stops themselves but the conflict with NJT on the outer tracks and the need for more careful path scheduling at the stations where Amtrak trains stop. Higher speed crossovers and more of them at more critical places as envisaged in the NEC plan will make this easier to handle in the future than it is now.