Raritan Valley Line

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  Raritan Valley Line
RaritanValleyLine.svg
New Jersey Transit GE P40DC 4800.jpg
Train #5439, a p.m. peak train on the Raritan Valley Line, about to stop at the Dunellen station, located in Dunellen, New Jersey (2008).
Overview
Type Commuter rail line
System New Jersey Transit
Status Operational
Locale Northern New Jersey
Termini Newark Penn Station
Hoboken Terminal (one inbound weekdays)
New York Penn Station (weekday mid-day)
Raritan (full time)
High Bridge (limited weekday service)
Stations 20
Daily ridership 21,650 (average weekday)[1]
Operation
Owner Amtrak
(east of Hunter)
CSAO
(Hunter to Aldene)
New Jersey Transit
(Aldene westward)
Operator(s) New Jersey Transit
Rolling stock F40PH-2CAT locomotives
GP40FH-2 locomotives
Alstom PL42AC
GE P40DC locomotives
Bombardier ALP-45DP locomotives
Comet Coaches
Bombardier MultiLevels
Technical
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Operating speed 80 MPH (top speed)
Route map
Amtrak Northeast Corridor/LIRR
Sunnyside Yard
East River Tunnels
East River
Penn Station New York
Hudson R., N.Y./N.J. border
North River Tunnels
Secaucus Junction
Hackensack River
Waterfront Connection
Kearny Connection
New Jersey Turnpike
Passaic River
Newark Penn Station
Newark South Street
diverging from NEC at Hunter
merging into Conrail Lehigh Line
Northeast Corridor
NJ 27
Interstate 78
US 22
Union
Roselle Park
NJ 28
diverging from Conrail Lehigh Line at Aldene
merging into CNJ Main Line
Garden State Parkway
Cranford
Garwood
Westfield
NJ 28
Fanwood
Netherwood
Plainfield
NJ 28
Grant Avenue
Clinton Avenue
Dunellen
Middlesex
Bound Brook
to Conrail Lehigh Line
Interstate 287
Bridgewater
West Trenton Line to West Trenton
Chimney Rock Spur
Finderne
Somerville
Former CNJ Central Branch to Flemington
US 206
Raritan
Raritan Yard
US 202
North Branch Raritan River
North Branch
White House
Former Rockaway Valley Railroad to Watnong
Lebanon
US 22
Interstate 78
Annandale
South Branch Raritan River
High Bridge
Former CNJ High Bridge Branch to Wharton
Glen Gardner
NJ 31
Former DL&W Hampton Branch to Washington
Hampton
Ludlow
Interstate 78/US 22
Bloomsbury
Musconetcong River
NS Lehigh Line
Interstate 78 (line severed)
Morris Canal
merging into NS Lehigh Line
Former LV Main Line
Phillipsburg
NS Washington Secondary to Morris & Essex Lines
former CNJ Bel-Del Connector
BDRV Main Line
Morris Canal
Delaware R., N.J./Penn. border
NS Lehigh Line to Easton

The Raritan Valley Line is a commuter rail service operated by New Jersey Transit (NJT), originating at Pennsylvania Station, located in Newark, New Jersey, with most trains terminating at the Raritan station, located in Raritan, New Jersey.

Some weekday trains continue further west and terminate at the High Bridge station, located in High Bridge, New Jersey. Connections to Pennsylvania Station, located in New York City, New York, via the Northeast Corridor Line or North Jersey Coast Line can be made at Newark. As of March, 2014, five, select, weekday, off-peak, RVL trains now terminate/originate directly at New York Penn Station as their easternmost terminus, in a reported 'pilot project' with an eye toward further expansion of Raritan Valley Line NYC direct service. The pilot will be extended in November 2014 to include trains that terminate/originate in New York Penn Station after 8 pm.

One weekday morning inbound train continues to Hoboken Terminal, located in Hoboken, New Jersey. At other times, passengers can reach Hoboken as well as New York City's lower Manhattan and the Financial District via the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) system.

The Raritan Valley Line is colored orange on New Jersey Transit's system map. Its symbol is the Statue of Liberty, a homage to the Central Railroad of New Jersey whose logo was also the Statue of Liberty.[2]

Route description[edit]

Most of the line follows the main line of the former Central Railroad of New Jersey. Historically, CNJ trains ran on this line, as part of its Lehigh-Susquehanna Division, from Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton in eastern Pennsylvania, through Elizabeth and Bayonne to Jersey City.

Until 1967 CNJ service terminated at the company's Communipaw Terminal in what is today Liberty State Park. This station, which was also served by Reading Company trains to Philadelphia and B & O service to Washington, D.C. and beyond, had connections by chartered bus or ferry into Manhattan (the ferries serving the financial district).

At the end of April 1967 the Aldene Connection opened, connecting the CNJ main line to the Lehigh Valley Railroad (now Conrail's Lehigh Line, and trains were re-routed to Newark Penn Station on the Northeast Corridor via Hunter Connection. This allowed CNJ to end the ferry service between Jersey City and Manhattan, which was losing money.[3]

Trains could not go beyond Newark Penn Station to New York Penn Station because the locomotives are diesel-powered, and diesel locomotives cannot operate in the North River Tunnels. The introduction of ALP-45DP dual-mode locomotives allows for direct service to New York Penn Station.[4] Limited, off peak, weekday, daytime service to New York Penn Station started as a pilot program on March 3, 2014. Trains scheduled to arrive at New York Penn Station between 10am and 2pm as well as trains departing between 11am and 3pm provide one-seat rides to New York. The pilot includes 5 round trips, including 2 round trips originating/terminating at High Bridge.[5]

Whitehouse Station

Unlike the Northeast Corridor, the majority of station stops on the Raritan Valley Line are not wheelchair accessible. Newark Penn Station, Union, Cranford, Westfield, Plainfield, and Somerville are accessible, high-platform stations. Roselle Park has a high platform but does not have a ramp or elevator to the street.[6]

Rolling stock[edit]

On the Raritan Valley Line, F40PH-2CAT, GP40PH-2(A and B) GP40FH-2, Alstom PL42AC, and GE P40DC diesel locomotives haul Comet series coaches and, since late 2008, Bombardier Multilevel Coaches. Most trains now consist of an Alstom PL42AC and a six car set of multilevels. With the initiation of limited NYC direct service on the Raritan Valley Line in March of 2014, dual-mode ALP45DP locomotives (combination diesel &/or electric power) were added to the RVL rolling stock. You can still catch a Comet Train and GP40 and F40 on occasions

Yards[edit]

The Raritan Yard, located in Raritan, is the line's only rail yard; the yard is located just west of the station. All eastbound trains change crews here and trains are normally stored here overnight. This is also one of two fueling facilities for NJT locomotives (the other is at Hoboken Terminal). All trains terminating in Newark head to the Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny, New Jersey, to be stored.

Proposed extensions[edit]

Phillipsburg[edit]

Service beyond High Bridge to Phillipsburg was discontinued in December 1983 ostensibly due to low ridership coupled with infrequent service west of High Bridge. Then, in November 1989, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJ DOT) severed the rail line between Alpha and Phillipsburg during construction of I-78. This was done in order to avoid having to build an overpass over the out-of-service trackage.[7] Trackage was later dismantled between Phillipsburg and Bloomsbury, where the line connects with Norfolk Southern's parallel Lehigh Line. New Jersey Transit could build the stations along the existing Norfolk Southern Lehigh Valley Line towards Allentown or Reading.

Since 1984, there have been repeated calls for resumption of service to Phillipsburg to relieve traffic congestion on the parallel I-78 and U.S. Route 22. The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, formed in 1998 by former U.S. Congressman Bob Franks, is currently looking for cost-effective ways to improve mobility, reduce highway congestion, and increase transit ridership along the Raritan Valley Line. Their study is slated for completion in January 2010.[8] In addition, real estate developers have touted former industrial hub Phillipsburg as an excellent candidate for restored commuter rail service, saying "P'burg. . .a good candidate for rail service..."[9]

NJ Transit has been responsive to the idea, and initiated an environmental impact statement. It was determined that service restoration will take approximately four years and cost $90 million.[citation needed]

In 2010 Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. promoted the restoration of rail service to Easton or Phillipsburg and possibly Allentown or Bethlehem.[10]

West Trenton[edit]

Another plan that has been proposed is to restore service on the former Reading Railroad's Jersey City branch track between Ewing and Bound Brook to be called the West Trenton Line, providing a direct link to the SEPTA service of the same name and establishing an additional link to Philadelphia. To date, no funding for the proposal has been secured.[11]

Closed stations[edit]

These stations have closed since the Aldene Plan was implemented in 1967. They are listed from east to west.

  • Grant Avenue (Plainfield)
  • Calco (the current Bridgewater station was built on the same site)
  • Finderne
  • Glen Gardner
  • Hampton
  • Ludlow
  • Bloomsbury
  • Phillipsburg

References[edit]

  1. ^ NJ TRANSIT QUARTERLY RIDERSHIP TRENDS ANALYSIS November 2012 Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "world.nycsubway.org/Showing Image 36731". World.nycsubway.org. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  3. ^ "Conrail/NJ DOT end Bayonne shuttle". Thorpefamily.us. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  4. ^ Mike Frassinelli, "The Star-Ledger," "NJ Transit unveils first dual-mode locomotive in North America," May 11, 2011 http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/05/nj_transit_to_unveil_dual-mode.html
  5. ^ Mike Frassinelli (February 18, 2014). "Raritan Valley Line riders to get 'one-seat ride' to NYC beginning March 3". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2014-02-18. 
  6. ^ "njtransit.com" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  7. ^ "nycroads.com". nycroads.com. Retrieved 2012-06-27. 
  8. ^ Flood, Danielle; Mustac, Frank (July 1, 2009). "NJ Transit Analyzing Recommendations Made in I-78 Corridor Study". New Jersey On-Line.
  9. ^ Hausman, Daniel (February 13, 2007). "Perrucci Pitches P'burg as Place To Do Business, Says Region a Good Candidate for Rail Service" The Express-Times.
  10. ^ Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. says rail study 'has holes,' plans own task force Monday, June 07, 2010, By DOUGLAS B. BRILL, The Express-Times http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1275883506119710.xml&coll=3
  11. ^ [1]. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved April 5, 2008.