Immediately after Superstorm Sandy, New Jersey Transit was crippled.
Things have improved overall. On Friday, NJ Transit was proud to announce that “all but one NJ TRANSIT rail lines [would] be running full or modified service effective Monday, November 19. This include[d] the restoration of service along the North Jersey Coast Line, which suffered the brunt of the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy” (NJ Transit News Release).
…Guess which one line STILL doesn’t have service, even after restoration of the line that received “the brunt of the damage?” That’s right, MINE, Gladstone branch.
When NJ Transit talked about all the Morris & Essex line damage they had to fix, they named the rail washout at Kearny junction (which has been fixed) and “major damage” between Summit and Millburn (which have been fixed) and Denville and Morristown (also fixed). And there was something about some poles down near Lyons. The Gladstone line certainly didn’t seem any more damaged than any other line.
Why is it taking so long? Theories abound on NJ Transit’s Facebook page: some say the catenary poles were fragile wood instead of customary steel, so they the majority of them broke; some say the line’s single-track nature does not lend itself to repairs; some say that our Gladstone trains are being used elsewhere to compensate for all the trains that were (preventably) destroyed.
Most of us assume the real reason is that Gladstone branch is “the bastard stepchild of NJT line[s],” and fixing our line is simply not a priority. (We don’t have the highest ridership of the system, it’s true.)
But seriously, everyone else (including the most heavily damaged line) has been fixed for nearly a week at least. This is getting ridiculous.
Enough with my indignation. MOVING ON:
To ease the lack of Gladstone trains, NJ Transit has commissioned free emergency shuttle buses to stop at most Gladstone-branch train stations.
There are two sets of buses (route “A” and route “B”), which together hit most of the stations on the line.
[click here to pan around a Google map of the area]
(I have no idea why they left out poor little Stirling. Every other stop on the Gladstone branch is covered.)
Because New Jersey has apparently run out of buses, they’ve brought in SEPTA buses from Philadelphia (see top photo).
Unfortunately, presumably because these bus drivers don’t know their way around these suburban New Jersey roads, I guess they’re getting lost. Half of the buses never show up.
Basically: You dream about sex, but I dream that my train is running again. It will be a sweet, sweet day.