The RAIL Users’ Network (RUN) will be coming to Newark on Friday, April 28, for its first “in person” conference since the COVID-19 pandemic sent RUN, the Lackawanna Coalition, and most of society into “virtual space” for the past few years.
The conference itself will take place from 8:30 A.M. until 4:50 P.M. at the offices of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), located at One Newark Center, one block from Penn Station on McCarter Highway. The Lackawanna Coalition, an organizational member of RUN, is the “advocacy host” for the event, and Chairperson Sally Jane Gellert will be on hand to welcome attendees.
The theme for the conference will be “Good Connections: Why the Northeastern Rail Network is Important to the Entire U.S.” William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief of Railway Age, will give the keynote address. Also featured will be Arthur S. Guzzetti, Vice-President for Policy and Mobility at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and an original employee at NJ Transit when it was founded in 1979. He will focus on infrastructure and how it affects the Northeast Region. Two Coalition members who are also Contributing Editors at Railway Age will also present on a panel about “Making the Case: Presenting Your Ideas to Managers, Politicians, and Journalists”. RUN Board member and former Coalition chair David Peter Alan will moderate. The panel will include Jim Blaze, a transportation economist and Railway Age contributing editor; RUN Vice-Chair Andrew Albert, who is also Chair of the NYC Transit Riders’ Council; and longtime journalist and legislative staffer Mark Magyar, who is now Director of the Sweeney Center at Rowan University.
Amtrak and the Gateway Program Development Corp. will be represented, as will advocates with expanding passenger rail in Pennsylvania and rail transit in Baltimore. There will also be a Public Forum, at which attendees can present their own ideas for improving rail service in the Northeast. The cost for attending the conference in person is $50 for RUN members and $65 for nonmembers. Online attendance is also available for $25 for members and $40 for nonmembers. Nonmembers will receive a RUN membership for the rest of the year.
There will be other events in connection with the conference, including an informal post-session dinner in the Ironbound. On Saturday, there will be an optional tour that features places where transit modes connect with each other on New Jersey Transit, including a walking tour of Penn Station New York led by Lackawanna Coalition member and former LIRR Planning Director Joseph Clift. After that, we will take the subway to Brooklyn and visit the unique and world-famous New York Transit Museum. We will also have dinner at Junior’s, a famous restaurant in downtown Brooklyn, and conclude the tour with a look at the historic Grand Central Terminal and the brand new Long Island Rail Road station.
So RUN to Newark on Friday, April 28, for the conference, stay on Saturday for the tour, and spend some time riding on NJ Transit. We look forward to seeing you then. To register, go to the RUN website, https://www.railusers.net.