But there is some good news.
NJ Transit finally made its long-anticipated announcement on Wednesday: full Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL) service returns May 24.
The bad news is it doesn’t help those looking to hit the Atlantic City sportsbooks for the big NJ sports betting events.
The NCAA Tournament, The Masters, and Major League Baseball’s opening day are all taking place before then.
At least fans of the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup, and NFL will have nothing to worry about.
NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett provided an update on the Atlantic City Rail Line via a press release on the website.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy commented on the situation:
“ … 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.”
Off the Atlantic City tracks
The ACRL serves customers from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and several South Jersey locations. This includes Cherry Hill and Egg Harbor City.
Back in August, Corbett announced that “in order to update the tracks to meet federal safety standards,” NJ Transit would be shutting down the ACRL from Sept. 5 through Dec. 31.
While the new release does not address the five-month delay, Corbett is well aware the train service is in high demand.
More from the presser:
“ … 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.
“Thank you to all of our customers for their patience, which allowed us to accelerate the installation of Positive Train Control and meet the required year end federal milestones. We look forward to, once again, providing our ACRL and Princeton Dinky customers a predictable and reliable rail service they deserve.”
Delays but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel
While delays create inconveniences, safety is a No. 1 concern. There was a federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31 for the installation of the new collision-avoidance system.
NJ Transit did not meet it, of course, and it has led to some back-and-forth banter.
In a story by the Press of Atlantic City, state Sen. Chris Brown called the delay a big concern.
“It makes no sense to have taken this long to reopen, considering (Atlantic City) is such an economic driver for the entire state. We want to focus on now expanding the rail line so it better serves the community and this $2.6 billion (casino) industry.”
The prime season for that $2.6 billion industry unofficially begins over Memorial Day Weekend, the same day ACRL service expects to resume.
Until then, there is always NJ online gambling.