New York New Jersey Rail, LLC

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New York New Jersey Rail, LLC
Reporting mark NYNJ
Locale Upper New York Bay
Dates of operation 2006–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Headquarters Greenville, Jersey City
The 65th Street Yard in Brooklyn, refurbished in 1999 by the City of New York for New York Cross Harbor operations. The refurbished yard was finally put in service for car floats by New York New Jersey Rail in July 2012.
The 65th Street Yard from the harbor.
A railroad car float in the Upper New York Bay, 1919. Similar barges are still used today.
1912 Pennsylvania Railroad map showing cross harbor car float operations. Rail and barge routes shown on the map are largely the same as those in use a century later.

New York New Jersey Rail, LLC (reporting mark NYNJ) is a switching and terminal railroad[1] that operates the only car float operation across Upper New York Bay between Jersey City, New Jersey and Brooklyn, New York. Since mid-November 2008, it has been owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which acquired it for about $16 million as a step in a process that might see a Cross-Harbor Rail Tunnel completed. Since freight trains are not allowed in Amtrak's North River Tunnels, and the Poughkeepsie Bridge was closed in 1974, the ferry is the only freight crossing of the Hudson River south of the Alfred H. Smith Memorial Bridge, 140 miles (230 km) to the north of New York City (see Selkirk hurdle).[2] It is the last remaining car float operation in the Port of New York and New Jersey.[3]


NYNJ leases approximately 27 acres (11 ha) of land at Conrail's Greenville Yard in Greenville, Jersey City, where it connects with two Class I railroads - CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern Railway - which jointly operate Conrail's North Jersey Shared Assets Area. On the Bay Ridge, Brooklyn end, the 6-acre (2.4 ha) Bush Terminal Yard and the 65th Street Yard connect to the New York and Atlantic Railway's Bay Ridge Branch and the South Brooklyn Railway. Currently, NYNJ employs two EMD GP38-2 locomotives to load and unload the carfloats (one in Greenville, the other at 65th Street.)

The 2.5 mile barge trip across the harbor takes approximately 45 minutes. The equivalent truck trip would be 35 to 50 miles.[4]

As of 2012, the NYNJ system moves around 1,500 rail cars across the harbor per year. Port Authority officials suggested that some day the system can transport as many as 25,000 cars annually.[5] Improvements are underway, including repairs, track work and construction of a new 4-track barge.[6]


From 1983 to 2006, the operation was known as the New York Cross Harbor Railroad (reporting mark NYCH). Earlier predecessors include the Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Company, Bush Terminal Railroad, New York Dock Railway, and New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad operations at Bay Ridge and Greenville.

In 1999, the City of New York rehabilitated the larger 65th Street Yard for car float operations, with two lift bridges, but it was never turned over to NYCH because of a dispute over money owed the city. NYCH continued to use the single lift bridge at Bush Terminal instead.

In 2002, New York Cross Harbor Railroad revenues from railroad operations were $ 1,685,899. It had 48 active customers, with shipments of cocoa from docks in Brooklyn as its largest line of business. It also ran a trucking service and offered shipside and dockside service for receipt or delivery of various types of cargo, such as oversized steel beams.[4]

In 2006, the New York Cross Harbor Railroad officially became a "fallen flag". A new company: Mid Atlantic New England Rail, LLC; based out of West Seneca, NY; purchased and assumed control of the railroad and renamed it to "New York New Jersey Rail LLC" (NYNJ).

Two years later, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey acquired NYNJ Rail in November 2008.

The Port Authority has been working with government agencies in New York and New Jersey to bring the NYNJ to a state of good repair. This includes emergency work to stabilize the transfer bridge structure in Greenville, repairs to the float bridge and track infrastructure in Brooklyn, and procurement of ultra-low emissions locomotives and a new 30-car rail barge.[7]

In May 2010, the Port Authority announced that it would purchase the Greenville Yard and build a new barge-to-rail facility there, as well as improving the existing rail car float system. The barge-to-rail facility is expected to handle an estimated 60,000 to 90,000 containers of solid waste per year from New York City, eliminating up to 360,000 trash truck trips a year. The authority's board authorized $118.1 million for the overall project.[8]

In November 2011, the Port Authority hired HDR, Inc. of Omaha, Nebraska as prime design consultant on a project to rehabilitate the Greenville Yard. The work will include rehabilitating the railyard and waterfront structures, including a rail barge and transfer bridge, demolishing two other bridges, designing a new barge and two new bridges, and adding 10,000 feet of track. The project is expected to take 5 years.[9][10]

In July 2012, New York New Jersey Rail began operating out of the 65th Street Yard. Initial cargo is expected to include apples, home heating oil, new automobiles, and scrap metal.[11] The rail line north from the yard along First Avenue has been refurbished and new tracks laid to support operations at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal, including an automobile import pier and a new municipal recycling plant.[12]

On October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused major damage to the Greenville facility, undermining the float bridge gantries and sinking one of the car floats. The 81-year old gantry structures were in such bad condition that they had to be demolished. The working float bridge at Bush Terminal was transferred by barge to Greenville, where it was re-designated the Greenville Pontoon Bridge. Service was restored in late December, after 52 days of intensive reconstruction.[13]

On September 17, 2014, the Port Authority announced that it was funding a major redevelopment of the Greenville Yard, to include a new ExpressRail container terminal servicing the Global Marine Terminal. The Port Authority will also build two new rail to barge transfer bridges, purchase two new car float barges, each with 18 rail car capacity, and buy four new ultra low emission locomotives, replacing antiquated units. The new facility is expected to become operational in July 2016.[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Association of American Railroads, About the Industry: Railroads and States, 2006, accessed December 2008
  2. ^ "Top Officials and Stakeholders Meet to Launch Project That Will Study Regional Freight Movement Issues" (Press release). Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. November 13, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b NYRR 10-K SEC filing for 2003
  5. ^ Barry Newman (2012-05-20). "New York's Last Cross-Harbor Railway Chugs On as Alternative to Trucks: Barges Float Boxcars Into Town, Sludge Out; Cocoa Beans at the Bottom of the Bay". The Wall Street Journal. 
  6. ^ NJTPA Freight Committee, October 2012
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Port Authority Board Approves Purchase and Redevelopment of Greenville Yards" (Press release). Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. May 18, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Port Authority Board Approves Major Redevelopment Of Greenville Yard To Improve Cargo Movement In The Port, Port Authority Press Release Number 190-2014, Sep 17, 2014
  15. ^ New York-area port authority to build rail transload facility, improve cross-harbor car float system, Progressive Railroading, September 18, 2014

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°40′44″N 74°4′25″W / 40.67889°N 74.07361°W / 40.67889; -74.07361