The Gladstone Branch is a branch of New Jersey Transit's Morris and Essex Lines. The Gladstone Branch primarily serves commuter trains; freight service is no longer operated. Out of 24 inbound and 27 outbound daily weekday trains, 2 peak-hour inbound and 2 peak-hour outbound trains use the Kearny Connection (opened June 10, 1996) to New York Penn Station, bypassing Secaucus Junction. The rest go to Hoboken Terminal. The part of the line west of Summit is single-tracked with passing sidings at Murray Hill, Stirling, and west of Far Hills and operates in peak-direction only on weekday peak hours, except for some service operating reverse-peak from Murray Hill in the PM peak. On weekends the line operates Gladstone-Summit service hourly along the branch.
The branch received severe damage from Hurricane Sandy on October 29-30, 2012, especially to the catenary and signal system, causing a suspension of service for one month. High winds brought down five tall catenary poles (whose replacements had to be custom-made), approximately five miles of catenary, and 49 trees across the tracks. Gladstone service resumed on Monday, December 3 with electric Midtown Direct trains to Penn Station and diesel-powered trains to Hoboken; full electric operation was impractical until substation damage near Hoboken was repaired in early 2013.
The only part of the New Jersey West Line Railroad that was completed was from Summit west to Bernardsville. The New Jersey West Line Railroad was dissolved in 1878 and the assets were sold off. The Summit to Bernardsville line was then purchased by the Passaic and Delaware Railroad. The Delaware Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W) leased the line on November 1, 1882 as a branch of the Morris and Essex. The Passaic and Delaware Extension Railroad was chartered in 1890 and opened later that year, extending the line to its current terminus in Gladstone, New Jersey.
Most service is provided by Arrow III electric cars built by General Electric and Avco in 1978. The two weekday round trips to New York use Comet trains powered by ALP-46 locomotives, since Arrows cannot make the voltage change at the Kearny Connection. In the months following Hurricane Sandy, service to Hoboken used Comet trains powered by ALP-45DP locomotives.
At the time of NJT acquisition, freight service was operated by the Consolidated Rail Corporation. Upon the breakup of that company, the Norfolk Southern Railway inherited the business. Customers on the line dwindled, and the last customer, the Reheis Chemical Company, was bought out by the General Chemical Company and planned to close down in 2008. The apparent last freight train made its run on November 7, 2008; however, seven months later the facility began receiving shipments again, on June 19, 2009. Although this industry is east of the Berkeley Heights station, the freight trains actually operate as far west as Stirling, where the engine uses the siding to run around the train to reverse direction.
Like the Morristown Line, the Gladstone Branch is electrified using overhead catenary at 25 kV 60 Hz. Traction power comes from the NJT substation at Summit, NJ, which also powers much of the Morristown Line. The Summit substation is located north of New Providence on the Morristown Line, between the Summit and Chatham stations, and receives power from the nearby Summit Utility substation. In addition to the NJT Summit traction substation, three other switching facilities are located along the line.
|Summit Traction Substation|
|Gladstone Branch stations|
|Zone||Miles from east terminal||Municipality||Station||Services||Public transportation||Notes|
|–||0.0||New York City||Penn Station||ADA-accessible, TVM||Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road,
NJ Transit: North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Gladstone Branch, Montclair-Boonton Line
NYC Subway: 1 2 3 A C E trains
NYC Transit buses: M4, M7, M20, M34 / M34A Select Bus Service, Q32
|–||0.0||Hoboken||Hoboken||ADA-accessible, TVM||NJ Transit buses: 22, 22X, 23, 54, 68, 85, 87, 89, 126, New York Waterway||Eastern terminus of the line; Transfer here for PATH trains and the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail|
|2||7.8||Newark||Newark-Broad Street||ADA-accessible, TVM||NJ Transit buses: 11, 13, 27, 28, 29, 39, 41, 43, 72, 76, 78, 108, go28||10.4 miles from New York Penn Station|
|4||10.0||East Orange||East Orange||ADA-accessible, TVM||NJ Transit buses: 21, 71, 73, 79, 94|
|10.6||Brick Church||TVM||NJ Transit buses: 21, 71, 73, 79, 94, 97|
|11.5||Orange||Orange||TVM||NJ Transit buses: 21, 41 71, 73, 79, 92|
|5||12.2||Highland Avenue||TVM||NJ Transit buses: 92|
|13.1||South Orange||Mountain Station||TVM||NJ Transit buses: 92|
|13.9||South Orange||ADA-accessible, TVM||NJ Transit buses: 92, 107|
|7||16.8||Millburn||Millburn||TVM||NJ Transit buses: 70|
|17.8||Short Hills||ADA-accessible, TVM||NJ Transit buses: 92, 107|
|9||20.1||Summit||Summit||ADA-accessible, TVM||NJ Transit buses: 70, 986 Wheels||Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch lines merge/diverge here|
|21.8||New Providence||New Providence||TVM||NJ Transit buses: 986 Wheels|
|10||23.4||Murray Hill||TVM||NJ Transit buses: 986 Wheels|
|11||25.8||Berkeley Heights||Berkeley Heights||TVM||–|
|12||27.1||Long Hill Township||Gillette||TVM||–|
|31.8||Bernards Township||Lyons||ADA-accessible, TVM||–|
|17||39.0||Far Hills||Far Hills||TVM||–|
|Gladstone Branch abandoned stations|
|2||Harrison||Harrison||–||–||Closed September 16, 1984|
|Newark||Roseville Avenue||–||–||Closed September 16, 1984|
|4||East Orange||Grove Street||–||–||Closed April 7, 1991|
|17||Far Hills||Mine Brook||–||–||Abandoned/Closed when NJT took over The DL&W Railroad. NJT never reopened Mine Brook Station after that occurred. The old station site can be seen when the railroad crosses Whitnack Road. The crossing is all that remains of the station|
- "Christie Administration Announces Gladstone Branch Rail Service to Resume on Monday, December 3". njtransit.com. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- "Gladstone Branch Repairs To Be Completed Friday". njtransit.com. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
- Associated Press (December 13, 2012). "Hoboken station 2-plus months from electric power". Daily Record. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- Morris & Essex Lines Timetable (September 16, 1984 ed.). Newark, New Jersey: New Jersey Transit Rail Operations. 1984.
- Morris & Essex Lines Timetable (April 7, 1991 ed.). Newark, New Jersey: New Jersey Transit Rail Operations. 1991.
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