A dramatic ribbon-cutting photo op commemorated the inaugural run of the Atlantic City Express Service (ACES!) gambler train late last week. All that seemed to be lacking were passengers.
The NY Times reports only a “handful” of paying customers were on board for the maiden voyage Friday. Financed by three casinos and run by New Jersey Transit, ACES runs nine round trips each weekend. The ride takes 2:45 from Penn Station and costs $78 round trip–which comes out to about $78 more than those buses that pay back your fee in gambling credit.
The handful of riders interviewed by the Times included what sounds like a lonely couple that doesn’t get out much, and a train fanboy who didn’t seem all that interested in the gambling.
Also aboard was Kevin Feeney, a train buff who was clutching vintage timetables for two trains that once plied the rails between the New York City area and Atlantic City.
“I took off work,” said Mr. Feeney, a vice president of an information technology consulting company. “Playing hooky.”
Regaling all who would listen with tales of trains long gone, Mr. Feeney talked about the Blue Comet, which ran to Atlantic City from Jersey City, and the Nellie Bly, which departed from Penn Station.
I bet he knows Engine Bob.
[image: NY Times]