Princeton Mayor Mark Freda and several supporters of the citizen group Save the Dinky took a field trip to Rockhill Furnace, Pa. on Thursday to ride a bright orange and black train that is powered by a battery.
The environmentally friendly train, the first battery-powered train in the U.S., is the latest project by Princeton University alumnus Henry Posner III, whose company operates regional rail systems in the U.S. and abroad. The two-car train is the pilot project for Posner’s latest venture, Pop-Up Metro. The modular trains can be inserted onto existing rail infrastructure quickly and cheaply, making it easy to demonstrate and test proposals for new train systems or new train equipment. The train being demonstrated in Rockhill Furnace could operate on NJ Transit rail lines and could be an alternative to replace the Dinky train, the shuttle that runs between Princeton and Princeton Junction that NJ Transit has said will soon become obsolete. A transit study is currently underway about the future of the Dinky train, which could be replaced by other train equipment or a bus.
Anita Garoniak of Save the Dinky said she was impressed with Posner’s project and said the train is beautiful.
“It looks like a great option to replace the currents Dinky train cars,” she said. “It’s is electric and does not use fossil fuel. It is more modern, it has USB charging units for every seat, it’s sleek, and it is roomier than the current rail cars. There is no need to change the rail line. It fits right on the tracks. There is also no need for the overhead wires. They could be removed, along with the potential hazard that someone might climb on the train.”