All Aboard! by Kenneth J. Calemmo, Jr.

I cannot remember when my love of trains began.  From an early age I just loved the sheer size and power of these machines.  There is just something about trains that says America.  Over the years I still remain a huge fan, however, my appreciation is now more – let’s say – economic and utilitarian.  I still love to ride trains and consider them by far one of the best ways to travel and connect communities.  The ultimate goal in transportation is Convenient Accessibility – people’s ability to access services, jobs, markets, worksites, products, raw materials, families and friends.  My vote goes to the railways.

I was extremely delighted when scanning the “Atlantic County Master Plan, Farmland Preservation Plan, and Open Space and Recreation Plan” dated May 2017 (Click HERE for a copy of the Executive Summary).  Midway down  page 7 the first  bullet point reads–

  • Encourage the creation of a second track on the NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Line to provide improved freight rail and passenger rail service between Atlantic City and Hammonton and points between Atlantic County and Philadelphia.

That means MORE TRAINS!!!  That one bullet point is a tremendous economic impact driver with long ranging influence over our region.   I recognize there is NO silver bullet that will solve all the economic ills that we may be facing, but a SILVER BULLET TRAIN is a game changer.  If you take a close look around many of the train stations in the Northeast you will see growing business and development, job growth and economic activity.  Having only a single rail line between AC and Philly complicates the scheduling and movement along the rails.  At present the connection between AC and Philly is nearly a 90 minute trek.

Now add that second rail and a faster train that connects AC and Philly in 35 to 40 minutes – GAME CHANGER!!   Convenient Accessibility now comes into play.   People will move between AC and Philly for jobs, entertainment/gaming, professional services, shopping etc. with ease.  Atlantic City and surrounding shore towns are conveniently connected to the Delaware Valley.  People can live at the beach with great food, entertainment, activities, ocean and boardwalk and work in communities between Atlantic City and Philadelphia.  We also give an added boost to manufacturing concerns along this rail line for economic cost effective shipment of product, as well as  shipment of agriculture and seafood through the northeast corridor and beyond.

This is an idea whose time has come and I fully support Atlantic County’s efforts to enhance rail service.  Yes, there will be significant hurdles and costs that must be overcome.   However, in the long term economic impact will return ten-fold.

Get on the TRAIN with me – and KEEP MOVING FORWARD!!