Thursday, December 18, 2008

All Aboard

ACES, the express train from New York City to Atlantic City is nearly ready to start running.

Here's the article from The Press of Atlantic City:

The train is finally at the station, just about ready to bring gamblers and their money to resort casinos growing increasingly anxious for more dollars.

Atlantic City Express Service, or ACES, will begin weekend express service between Penn Station in New York City and the Atlantic City Rail Terminal - with a stop at Newark Penn Station - on Feb. 6.

The service, starting about a year behind schedule, will carry passengers in bi-level rail cars outfitted with leather seats, a private lounge, and custom-designed food and beverage kiosks. First-class seating is found on the upper deck of the train with servers available for food and beverage options.

Introductory one-way ticket prices for the two-and-a-half-hour trip are $50 for a coach seat and $75 for a first class seat.

“After careful planning and collaboration with our partners, we are thrilled to be able to launch this service for New York and New Jersey residents to be able to experience the best of each city through the comfort and convenience of the ACES train,” Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa President Larry Mullin said. “As Atlantic City continues to evolve into a world-class destination, we believe this service will convince more New Yorkers to get to know our city.”

ACES is a joint venture between Borgata, Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah's Resort Atlantic City, NJ Transit and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, or CRDA.

This isn’t the first venture for an express train involving Atlantic City: Amtrak’s so-called “Gamblers Express” ran for about six years and turned out to be a financial disaster.

Casino and NJ Transit officials are more optimistic about ACES, saying riders will find more to do in Atlantic City than those who took the “Gamblers Express.” It also gives the casinos the chance to further tap the New York market and woo younger, free-spending gamblers to a city that’s reinventing itself from a low-rolling daytripper town to a more affluent overnight tourist destination.

“The New York market has always been a leading market for Atlantic City and we see the launch of ACES as an opportunity to penetrate that market further,” Caesars General Manager Dan Nita said. “This direct service will make it easier for our current customers to get to Atlantic City and will give new customers yet another reason to visit.”

ACES is running on a three-year trial basis.

The three casinos are paying $15 million for eight bi-level cars. CRDA is providing $4.8 million to lease four diesel locomotives from Amtrak. ACES and CRDA will jointly provide another $4 million for operating costs.

There is currently no direct route between New York City and Atlantic City.

Travelers have to take Amtrak between Penn Station and 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, and then transfer to NJ Transit’s Atlantic City rail line.

NJ Transit runs between Penn Station and Trenton, but is denied access by Amtrak to the line between Trenton and 30th Street Station.

More information about ACES can be found at

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