By William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief, Railway Age Magazine; November 23, 2020
Several “project stakeholders” in New Jersey’s passenger rail network—Governor Phil Murphy, U.S. Senators Menendez and Booker (both Democrats), NJ Transit and Amtrak—have expressed “strong reservations” about the feasibility of proposals in an independent report prepared by London Bridge Associates Ltd. (LBA) and released Nov. 23 by the Gateway Program Development Corporation (GDC) on the Hudson Tunnel Project portion of the Gateway Program. Basically, they are saying that one new tunnel must be constructed and placed in service prior to shutdown and rehab of one of the two existing, 110-year-old tunnels.Interestingly, two of the stakeholders are GDC officials.
“Specifically, many of the proposed activities present very significant engineering and operational challenges that have not yet been validated,” the group said in a news release. “They must be carefully considered and evaluated to ensure existing service is not compromised in any way. NJT and Amtrak have noted these concerns to LBA and the other Hudson Tunnel Project stakeholders during the time this report was being prepared. While all the project stakeholders are interested in exploring solutions that could expedite the rehabilitation and improve the customer experience as soon as possible, these recommendations require significant further study before they can be characterized as feasible.