ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Representatives from the Atlantic City Express Service (ACES) joint venture partners – Caesars Atlantic City, Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City, and Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – joined New Jersey Governor Jon S. Corzine and other key New Jersey officials today to launch weekend train service between New York’s Penn Station and Atlantic City. The launch of the ACES train is another major step in the evolution of Atlantic City into a world-class destination, providing residents of New Jersey and New York the opportunity to experience all the new attractions the city has to offer.
“I welcome this new rail service to Atlantic City because it offers a winning combination of a comfortable and environmentally-friendly transportation option to New Jerseyans and New Yorkers and the economic benefits of travel and tourism to one of our state’s premiere destinations,” Governor Corzine said.
Joining the joint venture partners and Governor Corzine for celebratory events highlighting the important economic growth this new service will spur, were New Jersey officials including: Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo, State Senate President Richard J. Codey, Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo T. Langford, Department of State Secretary Nina Mitchell Wells, Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli, and Atlantic City Council President William H. Marsh. Officials from NJ TRANSIT, which operates the train, and the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA), which first conceived the idea and invested in the service, also took part in press conferences and ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Atlantic City and New York City.
“Travelers are tired of wasting their time on congested roads and highways, and this new Atlantic City train service is a major solution to that problem. It will get visitors to Atlantic City faster, more comfortably, and more reliably, get cars off the road, and ease congestion on our highways. It will improve our environment by reducing pollution and gas consumption and help reinvigorate Atlantic City’s economy,” said Senator Lautenberg, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and longtime champion of passenger rail. Senator Lautenberg has been a champion of passenger rail throughout his career in the Senate. He is Chair of the Senate Sub-Committee on Surface Transportation and enacted a bill last year in congress that expanded passenger rail travel. Last year, Congress enacted Lautenberg’s bill changing the nation’s transportation policies to expand passenger rail travel.
“The success of this project is not about generating revenue from the train, but providing greater access for those living in New York and North Jersey to experience all that Atlantic City has to offer,” said Auggie Cipollini, senior vice president and chief administrative officer of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. “We see ACES as an investment in our customers, our business, and in the Atlantic City community.”
The partners made an investment of US$19.5 million dollars to finance the purchase and remodeling of the trains. The Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) was instrumental in helping fund the joint venture with a contribution of US$4.5 million in additional funding for operation of the locomotives. Through a management contract with ACES, NJ TRANSIT operates the train service. ACES has partnered with Amtrak to provide ticketing and reservation services.
The ACES joint venture partners – Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Caesars Atlantic City, and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City – are premier Atlantic City casinos, which recognize the importance of providing customers with a safe, comfortable, and convenient travel experience between New York and Atlantic City. In recent years, Atlantic City has continued to grow into a Las Vegas-style destination with many non-gaming attractions. The partners have been committed to dramatically expanding offerings with world-class entertainment, dining, nightlife, spa, and gaming options for New Yorkers to enjoy within a quick trip from the city.
Currently, there are no other direct public transportation options from New York City to Atlantic City besides bus lines. Research from the Department of Motor Vehicles has shown that there has been a decline in recent years of cars registered in New York City, making it harder and inconvenient for New Yorkers to find a way to get to Atlantic City. ACES will provide New York’s 8 million residents with an opportunity to visit Atlantic City through a safe, convenient, and reliable mode of transportation.
“When you look at the modes of transportation currently available and the lack of convenience they offer, it makes taking the ACES train a very desirable alternative,” said Michael Walsh Regional VP of development, Harrah’s Entertainment – Atlantic City operations. “For those New York City residents who do not have a personal vehicle, there was not an attractive, simple, and economic means of transportation to Atlantic City – until now.”
Each ACES train will feature multi-level rail cars offering passengers upgraded leather seating, a private lounge area, custom-designed food and beverage kiosks, and both first- and coach-class travel experiences. First-class seating is found in two cars on the upper deck of the train, with servers available for food and beverage options. The lounge offers parties of up to four guests the opportunity to socialize in a relaxed atmosphere, which features two plasma televisions, outlets for mp3 connections, table-top space, and group seating. The ACES train will make nine round trips throughout the weekend, offering 300 seats on each train.