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Entrepreneurs Pitch Boardwalk ‘Train’ to Seaside Heights

A trackless "train" runs through a mall. (Credit: howard251a/ YouTube)

A trackless “train” runs through a mall. (Credit: howard251a/ YouTube)

A group of business owners made their pitch to borough council members on a trackless “train” that they hope to operate on the Seaside Heights boardwalk.

The train would actually be a wheeled vehicle with four cars that would travel at no more than 5 m.p.h. It would be similar to “trains” that operate inside shopping malls, like the one that currently carries children around the Freehold Raceway Mall.

“We’re probably talking about a four-car unit, so that would bring it to about 24 feet long,” said Sam Vendola, owner of the company that manufactures the train vehicle.

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The group who wants to operate the train, who admitted they had not yet seen the Seaside Heights boardwalk in person, said their plan would be to charge $3 per person and run from 12 noon to 8 p.m., seven days per week. In exchange for allowing the train to operate, they would offer 20 percent of the attraction’s profits to the borough.

The plan faces an uphill battle. Borough Attorney Jean Cipriani said Seaside Heights cannot unilaterally enter into a profit-sharing agreement without going through a legally-mandated bid process. Beyond that, officials voiced concerns over whether the boardwalk could physically acommodate such a vehicle, safety issues, and whether it would interfere with borough vehicles that also traverse the boards during the summer.

“There are typically three golf carts and two patrol cars” on the boardwalk at a given time during the summer, Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz said.

Beyond that, the 70-foot-wide boardwalk is dotted with kiosks and stands, and the train would not be able to travel north of Casino Pier since that portion is privately-owned.

Then, there is the question of liability. The would-be operators proposed a driver and a second observer on the train, but Cipriani said if the plan were to ever be considered, the business would have to insure the borough.

“Worst case scenario, if someone gets hurt, they will sue you, but they will also definitely sue us,” she said.

Mayor Anthony Vaz suggested the group look at the boardwalk and see if they wish to formally propose the attraction in the future.

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