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About GTJ

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    Flushing, Queens (New York City)
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    Buses, railroads, public transportation
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    Relais Nordik
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  1. I was thinking the same thing about the type of buses being used on the 119. You may remember that NJT timetable covers used to depict the type of equipment typically assigned to each route, but no longer is that the case. The timetable does indicate that the 119 departs from gate 1 at PABT, which is on the lower level of the old building, and is typically used only by over-the-road coaches (with underfloor luggage bays). The timetable also indicates that the route is operated for NJT under contract by Academy (No. 22 Hillside Bus Corp.), and for which the fleet roster shows a mixed fleet of transit buses and over-the-road coaches (but no other routes other than 119 and Atlantic City would use over-the-road coaches . . . but I think Atlantic City is an error since the 319 timetable shows all service to Atlantic City being directly operated by NJT and nothing contracted to Academy. And the timetable also shows that the 119 is an exact fare route, thus unlikely to rely upon over-the-road coaches (but that being said, I've been an over-the-road coach on the 126 to Hoboken, even though it is nominally an exact fare route). Then, there's this picture from a 1986 news article showing an RTS operating the 119 route. Finally, there's this video showing a NABI transit bus leaving PABT gate 1 on the 119, where it is readily visible that there is standard transit seating, with plenty of room for bringing in luggage. Here's a picture of the interior of one of those buses, showing room under the flip-up seats at the front. Bottom line is that I cannot be positive as to what equipment NJT (or more accurately, Academy) is assigning to the 119, though I think the weight of the evidence is that standard NABI transit buses are being used. Perhaps the next time I am in midtown I will wander over to PABT and take a look at what is operated out of gate 1. If transit buses are being used, and there is platform seating, then I would agree as to the potential suitcase problem. But if transit buses are being used with typical transit seating, then it should not be a problem. And if over-the-road coaches are assigned, then luggage is east. (As to PATH, all the stations in New Jersey (except New York-bound at Harrison) are accessible, but in New York only 33rd Street and World Trade Center stations are accessible. At other stations passengers must be able to carry their luggage up or down flights of stairs. Of course, NJT LRT is fully accessible.)
  2. You make it so tempting for this New Yorker to say something about drivers in New Jersey . . . but I am biting my tongue on that one! I was looking at both the aerial views and street views, and after the Harbor Pointe Apartments, the roadway narrows, and there's a dirt path between the roadway and the water, but well out of the way of the roadway upon which the wackos are driving. At the end of the path, the roadway widens and there looks to be sidewalks or wide shoulders the rest of the way. (I really dislike automotive travel for a variety of reasons. I will acquiesce to an Uber vehicle because my wife will be with me, but otherwise I would consider all other alternatives before stepping foot into an automobile.) Sounds a bit like that scene in North by Northwest, where Cary Grant alights from the Greyhound Lines bus in a rural part of Indiana, standing alone on the highway waiting for someone (only to be mowed down by a crop duster!). Having worked in the bus industry for nearly 40 years, I supposed I am more predisposed to bus travel than most people. As well, the idea of waiting on a street corner with luggage is in the "been there, done that" category, so that aspect does not really faze me. To the me, the main distinctions between PATH + NJT LRT and NJT 119 are that (1) no need to transfer with NJT 119, and (2) the PATH + NJT LRT both operate much more frequently, so it is a balancing that is nearly evenly weighted.
  3. I would travel via Staten Island if the S89 bus operated midday, if only because the PATH train and NJT LRT are old hat, and I always prefer doing something new and different if possible. I've walked over the Bayonne Bridge (and those inconvenient steps at West 4th Street) several times, but with the bridge now closed to pedestrian traffic for the duration of the reconstruction project, the S89 is the only option available over that span. Certainly not a convenient route to take--especially for people from outside of New York City, or not otherwise accustomed to travel by, public transportation--and Staten Island has had problems with disruptive passengers who refuse to pay their bus fares. But certainly more interesting than a routine train ride, and no problem for an experienced transit professional. Interested in knowing your perception regarding the 119 bus. I traveled that route several times when it was operated as route 99S by Drogin Bus Co., and in later years by a Coach USA subsidiary. I never had any issues . . . but admittedly I haven't been on the route since it was taken over by New Jersey Transit. My understanding is that they have since cleaned up at least part of the former M.O.T. property, and it is now accessible to all. Indeed, a Google street view of the entrance, Port Terminal Boulevard at NJ-440, clearly shows a "pedestrian path" sign. The walkway turns into a dirt path, but appears to be readily traversable. I would just walk if I were by myself, but my wife likes Uber so we will likely do that. Have you attempted the hike recently? I almost always arrive last minute (I still remember one time arriving at Union Station in Chicago with only five minutes to go before the train to Seattle would depart!). It seems like everyone else aims to arrive and board the vessel as early as possible, and to then later aim to depart and alight the vessel as early as possible. Much more comfortable after the masses have dissipated. As well, staterooms may not be available for occupancy until later. So we might move up arrival a short amount, but no plan to be at the passenger terminal prior to 1:00 p.m. for a 4:00 p.m. scheduled departure.
  4. I had found a flyer, apparently issued by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., stating that "Royal Caribbean International will provide a complimentary shuttle bus between the light rail station and Cape Liberty Cruise Port." While the sentence literally limits its application to just the Royal Caribbean International brand, and Celebrity Cruises, Inc., is a separate subsidiary of the corporation, it was reasonable to assume that the same type of arrangement would be available for both lines. Alas, the flyer shows a copyright date of 2004, so perhaps in these intervening fifteen years the arrangement was withdrawn. Seemingly, that would make Cape Liberty Cruise Port the only major passenger transportation terminal not connected with public transportation. We will be coming from Flushing, Queens, so I anticipate that we will take the no. 7 train either to 74th Street-Broadway for the F train, or to Queensboro Plaza for the N or W train, and head to 34th Street-Herald Square (or LIRR from Flushing to Pennsylvania Station, then walk over to Herald Square). Then the PATH train to Hoboken (and maybe stop in at Grimaldi's on Washington Street for a bite to eat). Next the NJT light rail train to 34th Street. But it might be easier just staying on the no. 7 train to Times Square-42nd Street, walk over to the PABT for the NJT no. 119, and go directly to John F. Kennedy Boulevard, at 33rd Street. I had also thought about taking the subway to South Ferry, crossing over to St. George on the ferry, then the S44 or S48 to Richmond Avenue (or subway to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, then S79 SBS to Richmond Avenue), and get the S89 to 34th Street Bayonne . . . but the S89 is rush hours only. Lots of options, all easy to do for any New Yorker. I don't think we're really that anxious to arrive early in Bayonne. Our experience is that late arrival, two hours before scheduled departure, means that there are no lines and that checking-in is a breeze. My inclination is to arrive at 34th Street between 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., and be at the passenger terminal within a half hour.
  5. On days Celebrity Cruises arrives and departs Bayonne, is any transportation available between the 34th Street light rail station and Cape Liberty, other than taxis/Uber/Lyft?
  6. I have the pictorial history of the railroad, written in 1980 by Stan Cohen, but it is an historic perspective rather than a description of current operations (you may know that there was a significant change when the mine closed, and the railroad discontinued all operations; when revived six years later, the route was truncated, and no longer served Whitehorse, other than by connecting motorcoach). But as noted another poster, the company shops are located at milepost 2.3, and consist of facilities where the equipment is maintained and stored, and where there exists a station called "Shops." The downtown station building, where there exists a store where persons may "shop" for various tourist-related items, is called "Skagway," and is located at milepost 0.0. (Other stations include "Denver" at milepost 5.9; "Glacier" at milepost 14.1; "White Pass" at milepost 20.4; "Fraser" at milepost 27.7; "Bennett" at milepost 40.6; and "Carcross" at milepost 67.5; on the docks there are yard tracks, used for cruise line charter trains, but no stations.)
  7. So it is just the 7:30 a.m. train (the first train of the day from Skagway) that is destined for Carcross that departs which the company shops, but all the other regular non-cruise trains (destined for Fraser and for White Pass) depart from the downtown station. And that is because there are other movements, bringing trains from the company shops to the downtown station, around the same time as the Carcross train departure, for which the single track would not allow for the Carcross train to leave the downtown station, correct? Is there a bus that takes passengers from the downtown station to the company shops, to board the Carcross departure, or does everyone have to make their own way to the departure point? And on the way back, does the train from Carcross discharge passengers at the downtown station, or only at the company shops? It is nice that the company posts an employee timetable on the website (!), but like most railroads today, its schedules are no longer published in the timetables (but are instead all operated as extras), and so it is difficult to tell the details of the actual train movements. As well, the website is written largely in narrative form, presumably for mass market appeal, so it is difficult to extract accurate operating information. It would be great were the railroad to post a "real" schedule somewhere on the website!
  8. So if I understand correctly, the HAL cruise train originates at the main Alaska Railroad station near downtown Anchorage, not at any distinct station specially for HAL passengers. As well, the HAL cruise train does not wye at the airport station, but instead proceeds nonstop to cruise ship terminal in Seward. This is very helpful to know that the HAL cruise train is distinct from all the other Seward-bound cruise trains, which depart exclusively from the airport station in Anchorage.
  9. Some of the information relating to the operation of the White Pass & Yukon Route passenger trains is unclear, and I hope that someone with actual recent experience can clarify. I refer specifically to the regular passenger trains, and not the extra trains that go directly to the cruise ship dock. It appears that not all of the regular passenger trains depart from the downtown Skagway passenger train station, and that some trains may instead depart from the company’s shops. Which trains, if any, depart from the company shops in Skagway? The trains to Fraser? The trains to Carcross? Do trains that depart from the company shops in Skagway return to the company shops? Or do these trains return to the downtown Skagway station? Is a bus provided to transport passengers between the downtown Skagway station and the company shops? If so, is the advertised departure time the time that the connecting bus departs from the downtown Skagway station? Or is the advertised departure time the time that the train departs from the company shops?
  10. Some information relating to the operation of the Holland America Line Cruise Train by the Alaska Railroad is unclear, and I hope that someone with actual recent experience can clarify. It is clear that the Cruise Train, when contracted by Royal Caribbean International (including Celebrity Cruises), Silversea Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line, operates between Seward (cruise ship dock) and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. However, the 2018 Summer Operational Information for Alaska Railroad passenger operations shows the Cruise Train, when contracted by Holland America Line, serves a “South Anchorage Depot” (rather than the airport station). The operating plan also describes the operation of the train as: “This train takes guests from cruise ship to airport (or Anchorage for those participating in land tours). The southbound trip takes guests from airport to cruise ship.” Likewise, the 2018 summer consists show the Holland America Line Cruise Train operating round-trip from Seward to “S of Depot.” (Interestingly, the Holland America Line Cruise Train is also shown as operating with all seven Alaska Railroad low-level dome coaches, as it does when operating the Cruise Train under contract to Princess Cruises as the McKinley Express service, between Whittier and the railroad siding at Woodpecker Avenue near Talkeetna, and not just five of the Alaska Railroad low-level dome coaches when operating the Cruise Train under contract to the other cruise lines.) While the 2018 cruise season is concluding, I expect that the railroad operating plan for next year will be similar, if not identical. So the questions I have, and hope that some others can answer from their experience, are as follows. Is there a “South Anchorage Depot,” presumably south of the main Anchorage downtown station, that is served by the Holland America Line Cruise Train? If so, where is this station located? Does the Holland America Line Cruise Train make passenger stops at both the airport and this presumed “South Anchorage Depot”? Or does it stop solely at the “South Anchorage Depot,” from which, presumably, motorcoaches transfer passengers to either the airport or to the Eagan Center?
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