Planet Princeton

NJ Appellate Court Upholds Dinky Train Station Move

Dinky Train PrincetonA New Jersey appellate court today rejected two court cases brought by residents regarding the Dinky station move by Princeton University.

The school, with the approval of New Jersey Transit, had the Dinky station moved about 460 feet south of its previous location, and the two historic station buildings will be converted into a restaurant and a cafe.

Individual residents and a group called Save the Dinky challenged the move, arguing it would reduce ridership and eventually lead to the demise of the line.

Princeton University bought the old station and land surrounding it on University Place in 1984, and has argued that the station move is necessary for its arts and transit neighborhood.

The new station on Alexander Street opened in November of 2014. Ridership had declined since the station move.

The Appellate Division judges upheld the move, saying while the railway station was abandoned, railway services are not being abandoned as a result of the change, and that a 460-foot move is not an abandonment or substantial curtailment of services.

“While it is true the exact station location will no longer be in use, Dinky line rail passenger service continues between Princeton and Princeton Junction,” said one of the judges.

The Save the Dinky group has not decided whether to appeal the latest decisions.

“We respect the legal process, but we are obviously disappointed by today’s rulings. If the law permits New Jersey Transit to turn over precious public transportation assets to a private developer without a hearing to show the plan serves the best interests of New Jersey Transit’s riders, the law should be changed,” the statement reads.

“Princeton has lost a historic, in-town, operating train station with pedestrian access from a public street. In return, we have a park-and-ride station further from town and a resulting significant loss of ridership on the Dinky,” the statement reads. “It is unfortunate that the court has shown so little sensitivity to the vital public interest at stake in these cases. We fought this battle to give voice to those interests, and we are grateful to our supports to have recognized that this was one of those battles worth fighting, win or lose.”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

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