North Jersey Coast Line

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North Jersey Coast Line
OwnerNew Jersey Transit Corporation
LocaleNorthern New Jersey, Central New Jersey, Jersey Shore
TypeCommuter rail
SystemNJ Transit Rail Operations
Operator(s)NJ Transit Rail Operations
Rolling stockALP-45DP, ALP-46, GP40PH-2B or PL42AC locomotives
Arrow III railcars[1]
Comet or MultiLevel coaches
Daily ridership24,900 (FY 2012)[2]
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead line;
Route map

Amtrak to Boston / to Long Island
0.0 mi
0 km
New York Penn Station
Hudson–Bergen Light Rail Port Authority Trans-Hudson
Hoboken Yard
3.5 mi
5.6 km
Meadows Maintenance Complex
10.0 mi
16.1 km
Newark Penn Station
Newark Light Rail Port Authority Trans-Hudson Amtrak
12.6 mi
20.3 km
Newark Liberty
International Airport
14.4 mi
23.2 km
North Elizabeth
15.4 mi
24.8 km
18.6 mi
29.9 km
North Rahway
20.7 mi
33.3 km
Perth Amboy
South Amboy
12 kV 25 Hz
25 kV 60 Hz
Red Bank
Little Silver
Monmouth Park
Long Branch
Long Branch Yard
electric service
diesel service
North Asbury Park
Asbury Park
Bradley Beach
Spring Lake
Sea Girt
Point Pleasant Beach
Bay Head
Bay Head Yard

The North Jersey Coast Line is a commuter rail line running from Rahway to Bay Head, New Jersey, traversing through the Jersey Shore region. Operated by New Jersey Transit, the line is electrified as far south as Long Branch. On rail system maps it is colored light blue, and its symbol is a sailboat. The line runs along the former New York & Long Branch Railroad, which was co-owned by the Central Railroad of New Jersey and the Pennsylvania Railroad.[3]

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, although a limited number of through trains operate during weekday rush hours between Bay Head and Pennsylvania Station, utilizing dual-mode engines. 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. Some electric trains terminate at South Amboy 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.


Long Branch Yard, one of the main yards on the New Jersey Coast Line

The line is double tracked, 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 Amboy Secondary, and the Southern 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 to when electrification ended there, but have since been removed; trains terminating at South Amboy cannot be bypassed by using the other track, as the new station has a single island platform.

Conrail Shared Assets Operations also operates over the North Jersey Coast Line to interchange with the Delaware and Raritan River Railroad in Red Bank.

Movable bridges[edit]

Raritan Bay Drawbridge, one of the moveable bridges on the New Jersey Coast Line

The North Jersey Coast Line has five movable bridges of the twelve used by the NJT rail network, the most on any one line.

All these bridges were originally double-track spans, but Brielle Draw 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.


Catenary at Red Bank station

The North Jersey Coast Line is electrified north (railroad east) of Long Branch.

Electrified operation between Rahway and South Amboy began about 1936. Electrification was extended to Matawan in 1982 (now called Aberdeen-Matawan), 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 Matawan Phase Gap, Laurel Phase Gap (Hazlet/Holmdel), and east of Bergen Place in Red Bank.


With the completion of the Waterfront Connection in 1991, five weekday round trip diesel trains began running from Bay Head to Hoboken Terminal using the Waterfront Connection. On May 18, 2015, NJ Transit expanded service to include three inbound and three outbound weekday trains running from Bay Head directly to and from New York Penn Station.

Commuter Clubs[edit]

The line was 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.[4] It used half of a Comet IIM car - car 5459 (built as Comet IIB 5759 in 1988). In 2004, the Comet II Club Car went through a custom overhaul by Alstom and was furnished, with the club's funding, to include reclining lounge chairs, spacious seating, at-seat fold down tables, and private conference tables. The club also hosted various onboard activities to preserve its heritage. Club members enjoyed guaranteed and spacious seating as part of their annual membership fee that the Club remitted to New Jersey Transit as part of its lease agreement. Membership was "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 was furnished similar to Amtrak's Amfleet and Horizon fleet of cars. The Club Car seats were actually former Amfleet Metroliner seats that the club had re-conditioned. The Club Car only ran during peak rush hour periods with one weekday round trip per day and was always run with the club end coupled to the locomotive when used. Due to damage sustained to the Club Car in Hurricane Sandy, the commuter club was disbanded in August 2013. Per posts on the club's Facebook page, the Club Car took its last trip on the line in October 2012, just prior to the hurricane.

Bergen Shore Express[edit]

In the summers of 1986–1988, NJ Transit experimented with service from selected stops of the Bergen County Line, around the southwest curve of the West End Junction in Jersey City, and switching from the Morris & Essex to the Northeast Corridor via a complicated set of switch maneuvers in the Newark area, then continuing express to the Coast Line, with no intermediate stops between Harmon Cove station and Long Branch station. Tickets were for a specified town and included bus service to the beach and beach admission passes. One round trip was made each Saturday and Sunday during July. Despite high demand (on sunny days), the service was discontinued, ostensibly due to crew and equipment shortages, and the inability to forecast demand. [1]

Summer Shore Express[edit]

A Central Railroad of New Jersey commuter train at Bay Head station in 1971

In June 2014, NJ Transit began running one-seat limited-stop summer shore express trains to and from Bay Head and New York on weekends and holidays. This limited time service only ran through the summer and ended on September 1, 2014. This service was brought back for the 2015, 2016, and 2017 summer seasons. Service consisted of four inbound and outbound trips, with two trips during the morning, and two in the evening in both directions.

Hurricane Sandy[edit]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7]

Rolling stock[edit]

ALP-45 4527 entering Long Branch station

Because of the complexity of electrification on the Coast Line, the route has among the most diverse fleet in the NJT system.

Between New York and Long Branch service is typically operated with an ALP-46 electric locomotive pulling Comet or MultiLevel coaches. Shuttle trains between Long Branch and Bay Head are typically operated with a PL42AC or GP40PH-2B diesel locomotive pulling 4 to 6 car sets of Comet series or MultiLevel coaches.

During weekday rush hours, NJ Transit operates "One Seat Ride" services between New York and Bay Head. These trains use ALP-45DP dual-power locomotives that can run on either electric power supplied by overhead lines or from an on-board diesel generator. They are paired with an 8-car set of Comet series or MultiLevel coaches.

NJ Transit also operates short turn runs between New York and South Amboy during weekday rush hours. These services can use Arrow III railcars. Because of the voltage change at Matawan, Arrow railcars cannot operate further south, as they are not capable of in motion voltage changes like the ALP-45 and ALP-46 locomotives.


State Zone[8] Location Station[8] Miles (km) Date opened Date closed Connections / notes[8]
NY 1 Manhattan Pennsylvania Station Disabled access 0.0 (0.0) 1910 Amtrak (long distance): Cardinal, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star
Amtrak (intercity): Acela Express, Adirondack, Carolinian, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter
Long Island Rail Road: Babylon, Belmont Park, City Terminal Zone, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach, Montauk, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Port Washington, Ronkonkoma, West Hempstead branches
NJ Transit: Gladstone, Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, Raritan Valley, Northeast Corridor lines
New York City Subway: 1, ​2, and ​3 (at 34th Street – Penn Station (Seventh Avenue)), A, ​C, and ​E (at 34th Street – Penn Station (Eighth Avenue))
New York City Bus: M7, M20, M34 SBS, M34A, Q32
Academy Bus: SIM23, SIM24
Flixbus: Eastern Shuttle
Vamoose Bus
NJ Secaucus Secaucus Junction Disabled access 3.5 (5.6) 2003 NJ Transit: Bergen County, Gladstone, Main, BetMGM Meadowlands, Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, Pascack Valley, Raritan Valley, and Northeast Corridor lines
Metro-North Railroad: Port Jervis Line
NJ Transit Bus: 2, 78, 129, 329, 353
Newark Pennsylvania Station Disabled access 10.0 (16.1) March 24, 1935[9][10] Amtrak (long-distance): Cardinal, Crescent, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star
Amtrak (intercity): Acela Express, Carolinian, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Pennsylvanian, Vermonter
NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor and Raritan Valley lines
PATH: Newark – World Trade Center
Newark Light Rail: Grove Street – Newark Penn, Broad Street – Newark Penn
NJ Transit Bus: 1, 5, 11, 21, 25, 28, 29, 30, 34, 39, 40, 41, 62, 67, 70, 71, 72, 73, 76, 78, 79, 108, 308, 319, 361, 375, 378, go25, go28
ONE Bus: 31, 44
Greyhound Lines
South Street
Newark Liberty International Airport Station Disabled access 12.6 (20.3) October 21, 2001[11] Amtrak: Keystone Service, Northeast Regional
NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor Line
AirTrain Newark
5 Elizabeth North Elizabeth Disabled access 14.4 (23.2) NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor Line
NJ Transit Bus: 112
Elizabeth Disabled access 15.4 (24.8) December 21, 1835[12] NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor Line
NJ Transit Bus: 26, 48, 52, 56, 57, 58, 59, 62, 112
ONE Bus: 24
South Elizabeth
7 Linden Linden Disabled access 18.6 (29.9) NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor Line
NJ Transit Bus: 56, 57, 94
8 Rahway
North Rahway 20.1 (32.3) January 31, 1993[13] Closed due to maintenance issues
Rahway Disabled access 20.7 (33.3) January 1, 1836[14] NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor Line
NJ Transit Bus: 48
Rahway Community Shuttle
9 Woodbridge Avenel[15] Disabled access
Edgar July 21, 1975[16]
10 Woodbridge Disabled access October 11, 1864[17] NJ Transit Bus: 48, 116, 803
12 Perth Amboy Perth Amboy June 28, 1875[18] NJ Transit Bus: 48, 116, 813, 815, 817
13 South Amboy South Amboy Disabled access 1938 NJ Transit Bus: 815, 817
Old Bridge Laurence Harbor Formerly proposed station in 1985, 2001, and 2008
15 Matawan Aberdeen–Matawan Disabled access July 1, 1875[19] NJ Transit Bus: 135
16 Hazlet Hazlet Disabled access July 1, 1875[19] Academy Bus: PNC Bank Arts Center Shuttle
17 Middletown Township Middletown Disabled access July 1, 1875[19]
18 Red Bank Red Bank Disabled access July 1, 1875[19] NJ Transit Bus: 831, 832, 834, 838
Academy Bus: Shore Points Line
19 Little Silver Little Silver 1875 Academy Bus: Shore Points Line
Oceanport Monmouth Park
(limited service)
20 Long Branch Long Branch Disabled access July 1, 1875[19] NJ Transit Bus: 831, 837
Academy Bus: 36
Terminus of electrification
Elberon Elberon Disabled access August 25, 1875[20][21]
21 Allenhurst Allenhurst May 17, 1897[22][23] NJ Transit Bus: 837
Interlaken Interlaken July 30, 1904[24][25]
Asbury Park
North Asbury Park July 21, 1975[16]
Asbury Park Disabled access August 25, 1875[20][21] NJ Transit Bus: 317, 830, 832, 836, 837
Academy Bus: Shore Points Line
Bradley Beach Bradley Beach June 24, 1893[26] NJ Transit Bus: 317, 830
Academy Bus: Shore Points Line
Avon-by-the-Sea Avon July 21, 1975[27]
Belmar Belmar September 14, 1875[28] NJ Transit Bus: 317, 830
Academy Bus: Shore Points Line
Lake Como Como June 1934[29] Demolished by New York & Long Branch Railroad in November 1934.[30]
Spring Lake Spring Lake October 11, 1875[31][32] NJ Transit Bus: 317, 830
Academy Bus: Shore Points Line
Sea Girt Sea Girt October 11, 1875[31][32] July 21, 1975[16]
Manasquan Manasquan NJ Transit Bus: 317, 830
Academy Bus: Shore Points Line
Point Pleasant Beach Point Pleasant Beach Disabled access July 29, 1880[33] NJ Transit Bus: 317, 830
Academy Bus: Shore Points Line
Bay Head Bay Head August 1, 1882[34]

See also[edit]


  • Honeyman, Abraham Van Doren (1923). History of Union County, New Jersey 1664-1923 · Volume 1. New York, New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company. Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  • Poor, Henry Varnum (1893). Poor's Manual of Railroads, Volume 26. New York, New York: American Bank Note Company. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  • United States Congress (1884). The Executive Documents of the House of Representatives for the First Session of the Forty-Eighth Congress, 1883-'84. Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  • Wainwright, Halsted H. (1922). History of Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1664-1920 Volume 2. New York, New York: The Lewis Historical Publishing Company. Retrieved April 7, 2021.


Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap
  1. ^ "Arrow III MU in South Amboy.MP4".
  2. ^ Wood, Don, The Unique New York & Long Branch, (1985, Audio-Visual Designs)(ISBN 0917451104).
  3. ^ "Jersey Shore Commuters Club Inc". Jersey Shore Commuters Club. Archived from the original on March 7, 2012.
  4. ^ "Hurricane Sandy Storm Damage (slideshow)". New Jersey Transit. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  5. ^ "Update as of November 10: Rail and Light Rail Service". New Jersey Transit. Archived from the original on November 8, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  6. ^ "All But One NJ TRANSIT Rail Lines Fully or Partially Restored Starting Monday, November 19". New Jersey Transit. Archived from the original on November 21, 2012. Retrieved November 17, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "North Jersey Coast Line Timetable" (PDF). New York, New York: New Jersey Transit. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
  8. ^ "Newark Dedicates New Station Today". The New York Times. March 23, 1935. p. 13. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  9. ^ "Newark Dedicates Its New Terminal". The New York Times. March 24, 1935. p. N1. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  10. ^ Gootman, Elissa (October 22, 2001). "New Train Service To Newark Airport". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2010.
  11. ^ Baer, Christopher T. (June 2015). "A General Chronology of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Its Predecessors and Successors and Its Historical Context: 1835" (PDF). Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society. pp. 51, 54. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  12. ^ "North Jersey Coast Line Timetable Effective January 31, 1993". New Jersey Transit. January 31, 1993. Archived from the original on January 22, 2019. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Baer, Christopher T. "A General Chronology of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Its Predecessors and Successors and Its Historical Context: 1836" (PDF). Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society. p. 1. Retrieved April 4, 2021. Jan. 1, 1836 New Jersey Railroad & Transportation Company begins revenue service to Rahway with 5 round trips with locomotive west of Newark; service east of Newark is still by horse car; schedule is run Jan. 1 & 2 as introduction.
  14. ^ Deak, Mike (September 6, 2019). "NJ Transit increases train service at Avenel station". My Central Jersey. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  15. ^ a b c "Penn Central Fare Hike, Service Cuts Given OK". The Asbury Park Press. July 17, 1975. p. 1. Retrieved September 28, 2017 – via open access
  16. ^ Poor 1893, pp. 897–898.
  17. ^ Honeyman 1923, p. 170.
  18. ^ a b c d e "New York and Long Branch Railroad". The Monmouth Inquirer. Freehold, New Jersey. July 1, 1875. p. 3. Retrieved February 1, 2020 – via open access
  19. ^ a b "Central Railroad of New Jersey New York and Long Branch Division". The Monmouth Inquirer. Freehold, New Jersey. August 26, 1875. p. 2. Retrieved February 1, 2020 – via open access
  20. ^ a b "Monmouth County". The Monmouth Inquirer. Freehold, New Jersey. September 2, 1875. p. 3. Retrieved February 1, 2020 – via open access
  21. ^ "Items of Local Interest". The Freehold Transcript. January 22, 1897. p. 4. Retrieved May 21, 2018 – via open access
  22. ^ "Items of Local Interest". The Freehold Transcript. May 14, 1897. p. 8. Retrieved May 21, 2018 – via open access
  23. ^ "Last Sunday of Train Embargo". The New Brunswick Home News. August 1, 1904. p. 1. Retrieved April 12, 2023 – via open access
  24. ^ "To Use Station as a Boathouse". The Asbury Park Press. July 24, 1905. p. 8. Retrieved April 12, 2023 – via open access
  25. ^ "Bradley Beach Day". The Shore Press. Asbury Park, New Jersey. June 30, 1893. p. 3. Retrieved April 4, 2021 – via open access
  26. ^ "Penn Central cuts, July 17, 1975". Asbury Park Press. July 17, 1975. p. 1.
  27. ^ "State and County Items". The Matawan Journal. September 18, 1875. p. 2. Retrieved April 5, 2021 – via
  28. ^ "Spring Lake Wins Depot Name Fight". The Asbury Park Press. May 8, 1934. p. 2. Retrieved November 1, 2017 – via open access
  29. ^ "Now". The Asbury Park Press. November 30, 1934. p. 25. Retrieved November 1, 2017 – via open access
  30. ^ a b Wainwright 1922, p. 523.
  31. ^ a b "Editorial Items". The Ocean Grove Record. October 23, 1875. p. 5. Retrieved April 7, 2021 – via open access
  32. ^ "Monmouth County Notes". The Red Bank Register. August 5, 1880. p. 1. Retrieved December 26, 2019 – via open access
  33. ^ United States Congress 1884, p. 487.

External links[edit]