NJ Transit meets with frustrated Atlantic City Line riders
ATLANTIC CITY — Riders still do not have an exact date when service on the Atlantic City line will return following a meeting with NJ Transit executives on Thursday night.
Executive Director Kevin Corbett and state Transportation Commissioner Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti met inside the Atlantic City train station with several dozen disgruntled riders and representatives of groups holding events in the area dependent on train service.
The Atlantic City Line was shut down for Positive Train Control work in September 2018 with service expected to resume at the start of 2019. Service remains suspended into the new year, with NJ Transit only saying service would begin in the second quarter.
Vexed by a sound system that didn't work well inside the cavernous station, officials continued to offer the same explanation for the continued suspension: a shortage of engineers who have been moved to other lines since the Atlantic City Line was shut down in September.
Potential new engineers are currently in six classes, with the first group expected to graduate at the end of April.
The closet Corbett came to a firm date was between June 15 and June 30, the end of the second quarter timeframe. It could also be sooner, according to Corbett, who offered apologies for the delay. He said he wants to be sure that everything is ready to go on whatever date is announced.
When one person raised a concern about service still being suspended in August when the annual Atlantic City Airshow takes place, Corbett joked that he would fire himself if the line was still closed at that point, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Freshman Congressman Jeff Van Drew was also at the session, according to a Facebook post by the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. Van Drew has expressed frustration at being "stonewalled" by the agency when he asks for a date.
South Jersey Assemblymen Vince Mazzeo and John Armato, in a joint statement, suggested Gov. Phil Murphy order the line reopened.
"The Governor must know how badly South Jersey commuters are struggling. If NJ Transit won't open the rail line on its own, the Governor should use his authority over the agency to get the Atlantic City line back open," they said.
A second meeting about the impact of the shutdown is scheduled for Wednesday evening at the Cherry Hill Municipal Building.
Chris Coleman contributed to this report.
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