PRINCETON, N.J. – This week, NJ Transit stopped passenger service to the “Dinky” train station in the heart of the Princeton University campus, and instituted temporary service at a station 1,200 feet to the south. NJ Transit operates the service between Princeton Junction, where it connects with the Northeast Corridor, and the university campus with electric MU shuttle trains, nicknamed the Dinky.
The university has pushed for curtailment of the Princeton Branch, moving its end point station to facilitate the development of an arts and entertainment complex on former railroad land. The group “Save the Dinky” says relocation of the station stop and abandonment of the historic station will inconvenience rail passengers by adding a further 700 feet to the distance they must navigate from Nassau Street and, in the case of disabled passengers, a further 1,100 feet. The group also contends this is a first step toward abandonment of the branch, with bus rapid transit taking it place. Already, crews have begun removing overhead wire and have dug a large hole in the station’s platform. It will eventually be turned into a restaurant.
The university is compensating with shuttle buses from University Place to Princeton Junction, with a return stop at the temporary station. NJ Transit is also running buses.
Save the Dinky is waiting for an answer to its request for a court order to stay a ruling permitting NJ Transit to abandon public rights in the historic station. NJ Transit and Princeton University have opposed the request, arguing that it was too late, that there was no real harm, and that the Save the Dinky case was not strong.
More information can be found at savethedinky.org