January 25, 2019
Update, Feb. 27: NJ Transit announced Wednesday it will restore service to the Atlantic City Line train, and the Princeton Branch Dinky, starting Friday, May 24.
Original story, Jan. 29: Suspended since Sept. 4, NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Line train is expected to restart service between Philadelphia and the shore city this spring.
The transportation agency said it had hoped to bring service back this month, according to the North Jersey Record, but were handcuffed by a shortage of engineers and a delay in approval from the Federal Railroad Administration because of the ongoing federal government shutdown.
NJ Transit has been running bus service as an alternative means of getting to Atlantic City since it suspended rail service, with a 25 percent discount. The discount will continue until rail service is restored, according to the Record.
"Our goal is to begin restoring a service that remains reliable and predictable for customers as quickly as possible,” NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said in a statement. “I share our customers’ frustration and thank them for their continued patience during this time."
The Atlantic City Line had a bit of a rocky 2018, including the death of a motorist and two weeks of rail repair between Philadelphia and Cherry Hill because a trash truck ran into a bridge.
The line isn’t one of NJ Transit’s most-trafficked rail service routes: Eight of its nine stops were in the bottom half of the agency’s average weekday boardings, and ridership had dipped from 1 million riders in 2014 to 800,000 in 2016. But its connection to a popular shore and casino destination made it useful to Philadelphia residents.
Now, with sports betting legal in Pennsylvania, it will be interesting to see what kind of demand the rail line sees in its return, and into the summer.
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