The Dinky, the train line that runs from Princeton to Princeton Junction, is set to resume service on May 24, after its initially scheduled return in January was postponed to an indefinite date in the second quarter of 2019. The line has been “temporarily discontinued” since Oct.14.
The University’s spring exam period ends on May 25, meaning that many students may be able to use the Dinky for transportation off campus at the end of this academic year.
The date was announced to the public in a Feb. 27 press release by New Jersey (NJ) Transit. Kevin Corbett, NJ Transit’s executive director, and Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, said at a forum at the Cherry Hill Municipal Building that the Princeton Branch (Dinky) and the Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL) are confirmed to resume full service on that date.
“We understand just how much our customers depend on the service we provide on these two rail lines,” Corbett said at the forum. “The decision to temporarily suspend service on the ACRL and the Princeton Dinky was not made lightly, but we’ve remained committed to restoring service as soon as we possibly could.”
Corbett mentioned the federally mandated installations of Positive Train Control equipment, which necessitated the discontinuation of the ACRL and the Dinky in the first place, and thanked NJ Transit customers for their patience throughout the process.
When an audience member asked whether the new return date could be trusted, Gutierrez-Scaccetti replied, “We made a commitment to the governor that [May 24] is the latest date.”
“We would never give you a date that we didn’t think we could meet,” she continued.
“We understand that providing this timeline is so important to our customers’ ability to get their lives back to normal,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti added. “We know that customers were inconvenienced by the service disruptions to the ACRL and the Dinky, and I’m pleased that these disruptions will be ending soon.”
The buses that have been shuttling between the University campus and Princeton Junction, as a substitute for the Dinky, have occasionally stirred up discontent. Common complaints voiced by the student body included discomfort and delays, both stemming directly from their reduced carrying capacity as compared to the train.
If NJ Transit successfully restores service to the Dinky by May 24, it will have done so right at one of the most active periods of traffic to Princeton Junction, when students are moving out of dorms for the summer.
“I am pleased to see that the Princeton Dinky, which is so important to thousands of commuters, and the Atlantic City Rail Line, which is a key part of the life blood of the Jersey Shore, will be operating in time for Memorial Day weekend and the kickoff to the summer tourism season,” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said, also while in attendance at the Cherry Hill forum.