Dinky Station Relocation Bad for Ridership
The Milepost 3 marker of the Princeton branch stands alone on the University campus near Blair Arch, a lone perhaps forgotten testament to the former length of the rail line built in 1865 by the Camden & Amboy Railroad That marker is now over one-half mile from the end of active NJ Transit service, the latest truncation and one of four undertaken by the University over the years, each with common themes – University expansion, student safety and greater inconvenience to the daily commuter.
As president of the Camden & Amboy Railroad Historians, with a 34-year railroading career that followed graduate work in transportation management, the Princeton Branch has a special interest for me. The branch was created when the Camden & Amboy Railroad realigned their route between Trenton and New Brunswick in the 1860s to handle Civil War traffic. I have written about it for a national publication, and led several tours to MP 3 over the past five years for rail historians from around the country.
Recently I read that Dinky ridership has declined 10% since the relocation of Princeton’s station 1200 feet away from the convenient 1920s-built structure. The NJ Transit report also states that, “The ‘Dinky’ decline appears to correspond with the start of free Shuttle buses operated by Princeton University between Princeton and Princeton Junction.” The decline came at the same time as Northeast Corridor ridership was record-setting with a 10% increase in ridership for the same reporting period.
I must conclude the station relocation and this free bus service are the major reasons for the decline in Dinky ridership. A January 9 article in Planet Princeton reported that in October of 2013, the free bus made 2,288 trips and averaged just over 4 passengers per bus trip. In addition, the bus’s time-keeping during the winter mouths was pitiful. These are hardy positive developments for Princeton mass transportation.
The reasons for the station relocation have been well-reported, including our governor’s public role. His private role is suspect, given the multi-hats he wears with both the University and NJ Transit. (His handling of a more recent scandal involving another transportation link crossing a river casts suspicion on the administration’s involvement in the Dinky’s latest service cut!)
Save The Dinky will have a booth at Communiversity in downtown Princeton on Sunday, April 27th from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm. I support the group’s agenda. I encourage your readers to stop by their table to learn more about rail transportation in and around Princeton, the various stations that have disappeared over the years, and the five ongoing legal appeals to restore service to the terminal across from McCarter Theatre, buildings that have been designated as a working historic railroad station on the federal National Historic Register. The booth will be the southernmost one on Nassau Street, near the corner of Alexander Street, and very near where the original C&A Princeton Station was located.
Princeton HealthCare CEO Thanks First Responders
To the Editor:
I am writing to express our deep appreciation for the exceptional work of local first responders following the explosion at University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.
Thank you to the Plainsboro Police and all the fire companies and ambulance crews that responded—including Plainsboro, Princeton, Princeton Junction, Monmouth Junction, Kingston, Kendall Park and the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory—along with the county fire coordinators for Mercer and Middlesex. We also would like to thank the local Plainsboro officials, the Middlesex County Fire Investigation Unit and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, who continue investigating the cause of the explosion.
We are grateful to these groups for their rapid response, expertise and effective collaboration with our physicians, nurses and other staff. There was a tremendous sense of teamwork as everyone involved responded with skill and compassion in the midst of a challenging situation.
The collaboration between all first responders at the hospital that night helped us to ensure the safety and well-being of our patients and visitors, as well as the injured staff member.
Barry S. Rabner
President and CEO
Princeton HealthCare System
Director of Nursing at UMCPP Thanks Staff
To the Editor:
When I arrived home the Friday night after the explosion at the hospital, I couldn’t help but think about the preceding 24 hours and the many powerful emotions I was feeling. The first was sadness for our staff member who was injured in the explosion Thursday night, her family, and our staff. My second emotion was pride and appreciation for all the amazing people I work with. We were faced with a crisis situation, but because of the many competent, brave staff and physicians, this disaster was so much less than it could have been. I was amazed by the quick thinking and bravery exhibited by all. Everyone did what they needed to do, including our patients and their families.
It is truly difficult to put everything into perspective at the present time, but we all continue to learn from these situations. I was struck by how well we do the things we do and I want to acknowledge and thank all the staff on telemetry and throughout the hospital who were here Thursday night, as well as the staff continuing to help and support our organization. I feel such a sense of pride and appreciation and want to recognize all who are part of this amazing organization.
I went home feeling, “I am in the right place with the right people!”
Kathleen Ryan, BSN, RN, BC
Director of Nursing and Peri-op Services, UMCPP