Timeline:

 

The Past:

 

  • 1909 - Electric passenger train service between Camden and Millville begins
  • 1926 - The Delaware River Joint Commission begins rapid transit service accross the Ben Franklin Bridge. 
  • 1949 - Electric passenger train service between Camden and Millville ends, replaced by diesel powered trains.
  • 1963 - The Delaware River Port Authority authorizes the initial segment of a proposed three-branch PATCO system.
  • 1969 - PATCO service begins between Philadelphia and Lindenwold.
  • 1970 - Passenger rail service between Camden and Millville ends.
  • 1975 & onward - Multiple PATCO expansion studies are conducted by the Delaware River Port Authority and NJ Transit.
  • 1993 - NJ Transit releases a study entitled "Burlington-Gloucester Corridor Assesment".
  • 1996 - NJ Transit releases the Burlington-Gloucester Major Investment Study.
  • 1996 - Local and regional poltical leaders in Gloucester County capitulate to anti-passenger rail NIMBY's (Not In My Back Yard).
  • 1996 - NJ Transit moves the proposed passenger rail project from Gloucester County to Burlington County
  • 2004 - The RiverLine begins service between Camden and Trenton.

 

On May 12, 2009,  elected and appointed officials from the State of New Jersey and the Delaware River Port Authority announced their intent to pursue a Diesel Light Rail Transit system between Camden and Glassboro, utilizing rail vehicle technology similar to that currently operating on the NJ Transit RiverLine.

 

On November 3, 2009 incumbent NJ Governor Corzine was defeated by the conservative Republican challenger Christopher Christie. Before taking office, Christie anounced a review of all NJ State financial commitments as part of a process to adress the budget deficit. To date, the Christie administration has not committed any funding for a Gloucester County passenger rail system.

 

On October 6, 2010, DRPA announced that it would not build or operate the proposed Diesel Light Rail system in the Glassboro-Camden corridor.  The Philly.com article: DRPA won't run Glassboro-Camden rail line - explains the details of this decision.  There is no commitment from NJ Transit to become the lead agency for the project.

 

On February 1, 2012, the DRPA Board Finance Committee approved the contract for an Environmental Impact Study of the Glassboro-Camden Line. See the NJ.com article DRPA panel approves rail study contract for more details.

 

The Present:

 

Gloucester County is the only county within the jurisdiction of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission that is not served by a passenger rail system.  As a result, the percentage of trips utilizing transit is the least among all counties in the Delaware Valley region.

 

Gloucester County has experienced one of the highest population growth rates in the northeastern United States since 1990.  Cumberland County and Salem County, located to the south of Gloucester County, have also experienced population growth.

 

Road congestion on the limited access highways leading to Philadelphia has increased substantially, despite a major capacity improvement project completed in 1998 along NJ State Highway Route 42.  Any new capacity enhancements would be prohibitively expensive.

 

The Future:

 

The population of Gloucester County, Cumberland County and Salem County will continue to increase.  If no action is taken, this larger population will generate even greater traffic congestion and a reduction in quality of life. 

 

The solution to address the issue of reduced mobility is a passenger rail system.  A PATCO Light Rail system can provide the most attractive service through the most cost-efficient use of capital resources.