North Jersey Coast Line
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The North Jersey Coast Line is a New Jersey Transit commuter rail service between New York Penn Station or Hoboken Terminal and Bay Head, New Jersey, electrified as far as Long Branch. On rail system maps it is colored light blue, and its symbol is a sailboat. It is based on what was once the New York & Long Branch Railroad which was co-owned by the Central of New Jersey and the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Most trains operate between New York Penn Station and Long Branch with frequent rush-hour service and hourly local off-peak service. Diesel shuttle trains between Long Branch and Bay Head meet these electric trains. Hourly New York to Long Branch service operates on weekends, with bi-hourly diesel shuttle service (with some extra trains) between Long Branch and Bay Head. Full hourly service operates during the peak summer season.
During weekdays, five round trip diesel trains have run from Bay Head to Hoboken Terminal using the Waterfront Connection since September 9, 1991. Passengers can reach New York via the Northeast Corridor Line at Newark, or PATH at Newark or Hoboken.
Some electric trains terminate at South Amboy or Aberdeen-Matawan and make all stops from New York Penn Station, providing local service for the Northeast Corridor stops of Rahway, Linden, Elizabeth, and North Elizabeth during rush hours.
The line is double track except for the bridge over the Manasquan River at Brielle. The line has cab signals and wayside block signals; the line from Rahway to Long Branch is signaled for operation in either direction on both tracks (NORAC Rule 261). Twelve interlockings facilitate flexibility in operation between the two tracks; these and other interlockings control movements to or from freight lines such as the Chemical Coast Secondary, the Perth Amboy Secondary, and the Monmouth Secondary, as well as Long Branch Yard.
Passenger yards are at Long Branch and Bay Head. Long Branch Yard is fully electrified, and mostly interlocked. Bay Head contains a large balloon (circular looping) track where entire trains can reverse direction without backing up or uncoupling the locomotive, and obviating the need for a turntable. It remains in service, even though push-pull operation has eliminated the need for turning of trains. Bay Head Yard has no interlocking; all switches are hand-operated. A yard and sidings formerly existed at South Amboy, dating back to when electrification ended there, but have been removed; trains terminating at South Amboy can be bypassed by using the other track, as the new station has a single island platform.
The North Jersey Coast Line has five movable bridges of the twelve used by the NJT rail network, the most on any one line. River Draw is a swing bridge at Raritan Bay. Other draw spans cross the Cheesequake or Morgan Creek (bascule), Oceanport over the Shrewsbury River (swing, with non-movable catenary), Shark River (bascule) and Manasquan River (bascule). All these bridges are double-track spans, but the Manasquan bridge has been single-tracked since the mid-1970s. The line also crosses over several other waterways on fixed bridges, the longest of which is over the Navesink River at Red Bank.
The North Jersey Coast Line is electrified north (railroad east) of Long Branch.
Electrification was extended to Matawan in 1982, with catenary installed in the early 1980s. This was originally 11 kV, increased to 12 kV in 1978 along with Amtrak's New York-Washington electrification, with insulators capable of supporting 25 kV.
Electrification at 12.5 kV 60 Hz was extended to Long Branch in 1988, with catenary installed in 1986–88. As on the 1982 extension the insulators can handle 25 kV. The catenary is self-adjusting (constant tensioning) with ambient temperature.
In 2002 the voltage from Matawan to Long Branch was changed from 12.5 kV to 25 kV. As a result the Arrow III passenger cars can no longer run between those two points, since those trains can not run on two different voltages on one trip (the transformer voltage taps must be manually changed from alongside the MU).
The line remains electrified at 12 kV 25 Hz AC north of Matawan. Three phase breaks segregate the different power sources, at the Morgan Creek Drawbridge, Laurel(Hazlet/Holmdel), and east of Bergen Place in Red Bank. As of January 2010, NJ Transit Customer Service says there are no plans to extend the electrification south of Long Branch.
|South Amboy Substation||PRR Sub Number 48; supplied from Amtrak 138 kV 25 Hz network|
|Morgan (Cheesequake Creek) Drawbridge|
|Matawan Phase Break||Boundary between 12 kV, 25 Hz and 25 kV, 60 Hz|
|Laurel Avenue Phase Break|
|Red Bank Substation|
|Bergen Place Phase Break|
|Long Branch Substation|
The line is also home to the last remaining private commuter passenger Club in the United States. The Jersey Shore Commuters Club was established in 1933 under the auspices of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Currently it has use of half of a Comet IIM car - car #5459. In 2004, the Club Car went through a custom overhaul and was furnished, with the Club's own money, to include reclining lounge chairs, spacious seating, at-seat fold down tables, and private conference tables. The Club also hosts various onboard activities to preserve its heritage. Club members enjoy guaranteed and spacious seating as part of their annual membership fee that the Club remits to New Jersey Transit as part of its lease agreement. Membership is "open" and on a "first come first served basis" to those willing to pay the membership fee and abide by the Club's bylaws. The Club end of the car is furnished similar to Amtrak's Amfleet and Horizon fleet of cars. The Club Car seats are actually former Amfleet Metroliner seats that the Club recently re-conditioned. The Club Car only runs during peak rush hour periods and is always run with the club end coupled to the locomotive when used.
The Coast Line has among the most diverse selection of fleet in the NJT system.
- Long Branch trains to and from New York use ALP-46 locomotives with Comet series or Multi-Level coaches.
- Arrow III EMUs are sometimes seen on South Amboy and Aberdeen-Matawan locals. Arrow III EMUs can not be used for service south of Aberdeen-Matawan since they are unable to change operating voltages automatically; a manual transformer tap-changer must be adjusted from alongside the MU.
- All service south of Long Branch is diesel, generally utilizing Alstom PL42AC, F40PH-2CAT, or GP40PH-2B locomotives with Comet series coaches.
- In June 2014, NJ Transit added ALP-45DP locomotives to incorporate the "One Seat Ride" from Bay Head (NJT station) to and from Pennsylvania Station (New York City). This service only ran in the summer and ended on September 1, 2014. NJT might consider year round "One Seat Ride" sometime in the future, depending on ridership for the summer service.
As a line paralleling the New Jersey coastline, the North Jersey Coast Line received exceptionally severe damage from Hurricane Sandy on October 29–30, 2012. Track was washed out in several places from Perth Amboy southward, most notably between South Amboy and Aberdeen-Matawan stations, where the line runs closest to the Atlantic Ocean. The Raritan Bay and Morgan Creek drawbridges were struck by boats, storage containers and other floating debris, knocking the bridges' tracks out of alignment. Trees also fell over parts of the line. Service remained suspended for three weeks; a resumption of service only as far as Woodbridge (and skipping Avenel) on November 4 was halted after only one day due to severe overcrowding. The Christie Administration announced that most North Jersey Coast Line trains would return to service on Monday, November 19, with slightly longer trip times and omission of trains to Hoboken Terminal.
See Northeast Corridor Line for stations between New York/Hoboken and Rahway.
|0||New York City||Penn Station||Eastern terminus
Transfer here for Amtrak: Acela Express, Adirondack, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Hoosier State, Keystone, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Piedmont, Silver Service, Vermonter,
Long Island Rail Road,
NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor, Gladstone Branch, Montclair-Boonton Line, Morristown Line
NYC Subway: 1 2 3 A C E
NYC Transit buses: M4, M7, M20, M34 / M34A Select Bus Service, Q32
|0||Hoboken||Hoboken Terminal||Limited Service|
|5||Secaucus||Secaucus Junction||Transfer here for other New Jersey Transit lines (except the Atlantic City lines)|
|10||Newark||Newark Penn Station||Transfer here for Amtrak: Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Northeast Regional, Silver Service, Vermonter
the Raritan Valley Line, PATH trains, the Newark Light Rail
NJT Bus: 1, 5, 21, 25, 34, 39, 40, 62, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 78, 108, 319
|12.6||Newark Airport||Transfer here for Amtrak: Northeast Regional, Keystone
the AirTrain Newark in Newark Airport
|14.4||Elizabeth||North Elizabeth||Limited Service|
|15.4||Elizabeth||NJT Bus: 26, 48, 52, 56, 57, 58, 59, 62, 112|
|18.6||Linden||Linden||NJT Bus: 56, 57, 94|
|20.7||Rahway||Rahway||NJT Northeast Corridor Line splits, NJT Bus: 48||
|21||Woodbridge Township||Avenel||Limited Service|
|22.5||Woodbridge||NJT Bus: 48, 116, 803|
|21||Perth Amboy||Perth Amboy||NJT Bus: 48, 116, 813, 815, 817|
|1.5||South Amboy||South Amboy||NJT Bus: 815, 817|
|6.5||Aberdeen||Aberdeen-Matawan||NJT Bus: 135|
|16.5||Red Bank||Red Bank||Academy Bus Shore Points line
NJT Bus: 831, 832, 833, 834, 835
|19||Little Silver||Little Silver|
|20||Oceanport||Monmouth Park||Seasonal Service|
|22.5||Long Branch||Long Branch||Transfer here for Bay Head trains
Academy Bus: Route 36 line
NJT Bus: 831, 837
|26.5||Allenhurst||Allenhurst||NJT Bus: 837|
|28||Asbury Park||Asbury Park||Academy Bus: Shore Points line
NJT Bus: 317, 830, 832, 836, 837
|29||Bradley Beach||Bradley Beach||Academy Bus: Shore Points line
NJT Bus: 317, 830
NJT Bus: 317, 830
|33||Spring Lake||Spring Lake||Academy Bus: Shore Points line
NJT Bus: 317, 830
NJT Bus: 317, 830
|37||Point Pleasant Beach||Point Pleasant Beach||Academy Bus: Shore Points line
NJT Bus: 317, 830
|38||Bay Head||Bay Head|
Mileage for Rahway, Avenel and Woodbridge is measured from Milepost 1 at Exchange Place, the former PRR terminal in Jersey City, while the mileage for Perth Amboy is measured from the former CNJ Communipaw Terminal in Jersey City. The NJCL mileage resets to 0 at the north end of the Raritan Bay bridge at Perth Amboy; the total distance from where the Coast Line splits off the Northeast Corridor to the Raritan bridge is 6.7 miles.
- New Jersey Transit rail boarding numbers 2007-1999 Berkeley Retrieved 2008-06-28
- Wood, Don, "The Unique New York & Long Branch," (1985, Audio-Visual Designs)(ISBN 0917451104).
- Jersey Shore Commuters Club History (via Archive.org)
- "Hurricane Sandy Storm Damage (slideshow)". NJTransit.com. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- "Update as of November 10: Rail and Light Rail Service". NJTransit.com. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- "All But One NJ TRANSIT Rail Lines Fully or Partially Restored Starting Monday, November 19". NJTransit.com. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved 17 November 2012.
- Videos of the passing trains of the North Jersey Coast Line, by Eric K.
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