Princeton Junction station

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Princeton Junction
at West Windsor
Amtrak and NJ Transit station
Princeton Junction station in 2006
General information
Location2 Wallace Circle
Princeton Junction, New Jersey
United States
Coordinates40°19′00″N 74°37′24″W / 40.3167°N 74.6233°W / 40.3167; -74.6233Coordinates: 40°19′00″N 74°37′24″W / 40.3167°N 74.6233°W / 40.3167; -74.6233
Owned byNJ Transit
Line(s)Northeast Corridor
Princeton Branch
Platforms4 side platforms
Tracks4 (Northeast Corridor), 1 (Princeton Branch)
ConnectionsBus transport NJT Bus: 600, 612
NJT Bus Princeton University Tiger Transit: Route 4
Parking4,161 spaces[1]
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Station codeAmtrak: PJC
Fare zone19 (NJT)[2]
ElectrifiedJanuary 16, 1933[3] (partial service)
February 1, 1933[4] (full service)
Key dates
December 27, 1953Station depot burned[5]
FY 20176,817 (avg. weekday)[6] (NJT)
FY201931,809 annually[7] (Amtrak)
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
One-way operation
Crescent New Brunswick
toward New York
toward Harrisburg
Keystone Service
Trenton Northeast Regional New Brunswick
toward Savannah
Palmetto New Brunswick
One-way operation
Preceding station NJT logo.svg NJ Transit Following station
toward Trenton
Northeast Corridor Line New Brunswick
Princeton Branch Terminus
Former services
Preceding station Pennsylvania Railroad Following station
toward Chicago
Main Line Plainsboro
Penns Neck
toward Princeton
Princeton Branch Terminus
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
toward Pittsburgh
Pennsylvanian Newark Penn
toward New York

Princeton Junction station (signed as Princeton Junction at West Windsor) is a railroad station in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, located in West Windsor Township. It serves NJ Transit (NJT) and Amtrak on the Northeast Corridor (NEC), and NJ Transit on the Princeton Branch.


Amtrak Metroliner passing through the station in 1978
Station signs include the name of the township, West Windsor

Princeton Junction's origins can be traced back to the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Company, the predecessor of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the 19th century. The original station was built in 1864,[8] in preparation for Princeton Branch service to begin in 1865.

Albert Einstein, who lived at 112 Mercer Street in Princeton, used to enjoy sitting at the station and watching the trains go by.[9] More than once, he employed trains to explain the practical effects of his General Theory of Relativity.

In 1965, a prototype for the high-speed Metroliner passed through the station at the record speed (at that time) of 164 miles per hour (264 km/h) on a short demonstration run. Very few sections of the Northeast Corridor were capable of handling that speed, and most had to be upgraded before Penn Central's Metroliner service was introduced in 1969. A speed of 170.8 mph (274.9 km/h) was achieved on the same portion of track on December 20, 1967, when the U.S.-built UAC TurboTrain set the rail speed record in North America. A plaque at the station commemorates the event.[10][11]

The present station house was built in 1987.[12] Most of Amtrak's Princeton Junction service prior to 2005 was Clocker service commuter traffic to New York, Newark, or Philadelphia. On October 28, 2005, the Clockers were replaced by NJT trains that run only as far south as Trenton.[citation needed]

Transit village[edit]

Princeton Junction has been designated the core of the West Windsor transit village, a smart growth initiative to promote transit-oriented development which can include government incentives to encourage compact, higher density, mixed-use development within walking distance of the station.[13] Development adjacent to the station permits higher densities and will include retail end entertainment elements.[14]


Princeton Branch "Dinky" in 1971

As of 2017, Princeton Junction was the 6th-busiest station in the NJ Transit rail system, with an average of 6,817 weekday boardings.[6] In addition to the Northeast Corridor Line, NJT operates a 2.7-mile (4.3 km) spur line, the Princeton Branch, to Princeton station located at the Princeton University campus in Princeton. The shuttle is colloquially known as the "Dinky",[15] and has also been known as the "PJ&B" (for "Princeton Junction and Back").[16] Two train cars, or sometimes just one, are used. A single switch connects the branch to the Northeast Corridor tracks north of the station.

Service on the Princeton Branch was suspended from October 14, 2018 through May 11, 2019, replaced by shuttle buses, as part of NJT's systemwide service reductions during the installation and testing of positive train control.[17][18]

Amtrak provides two early-morning trains to Washington, D.C., and two evening returns, as well as one morning train to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and one evening return, all of which call at Philadelphia. Many more Amtrak trains stop at the nearby Trenton Transit Center. Until 2007, all Amtrak Pennsylvanian trains stopped at Princeton Junction. The southbound Amtrak Palmetto began stopping in Princeton Junction in October 2015.

The Central Jersey Route 1 Corridor BRT is a proposed bus rapid transit system which would use Princeton Junction as its hub.[19][20][21]

Station layout[edit]

The platform for the "Dinky"

The station has two high-level side platforms. Most of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor lines bypass the station via the inner tracks, except for select Keystone and Northeast Regional trains and the weekday southbound Palmetto.[22] The next northbound station is Jersey Avenue, but all northbound trains originating in Trenton skip this station and service New Brunswick, with other trains originating at Jersey Avenue.

Platform level
Shuttle      Princeton Branch toward Princeton (Terminus)
     Princeton Branch termination track →
Side platform, doors will open on the left or right
Side platform, doors will open on the right
Track 4      Northeast Corridor Line toward Trenton (Hamilton)
     Keystone Service limited service toward Harrisburg (Trenton)
     Northeast Regional limited service toward Northern Virginia (Trenton)
     Palmetto weekday service toward Savannah (Trenton)
Track 3      Amtrak services do not stop here
Track 2      Amtrak services do not stop here →
Track 1      Keystone Service limited service toward New York (New Brunswick)
     Northeast Regional limited service toward Boston (New Brunswick)
     Northeast Corridor Line toward New York (New Brunswick)
     Crescent service toward New York (New Brunswick)
Side platform, doors will open on the right
G Street level Station building, parking, buses


  1. ^ "Princeton Junction". New Jersey Transit. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  2. ^ "Northeast Corridor Timetables" (PDF). New Jersey Transit Rail Operations. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
  3. ^ "P.R.R. Opens Electric Service Between N.Y. and Phila. Today". The Courier-Post. Camden, New Jersey. January 16, 1933. p. 3. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via open access
  4. ^ "Electric Service Line Wednesday". The Sunday Times. New Brunswick, New Jersey. January 29, 1933. pp. 1–2. Retrieved January 31, 2021 – via open access
  5. ^ "P.R.R. Station Burns to Ground". The Daily Home News. December 28, 1953. p. 4. Retrieved July 3, 2019 – via open access
  6. ^ a b Kiefer, Eric (February 21, 2018). "Here Are New Jersey Transit's Most, Least-Used Train Stations". Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  7. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, Fiscal Year 2019: State of New Jersey" (PDF). Amtrak. May 2020. Retrieved March 2, 2022.
  8. ^ Messer, David W.; Roberts, Charles S. (2002). Triumph V: Philadelphia to New York 1830–2002 (PDF). p. 89.
  9. ^ Frassinelli, Mike (July 17, 2010). "Proposal to replace Princeton's longtime 'Dinky' train with bus line saddens sentimental locals". The Star Ledger. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  10. ^ "Dedication of plaque commemorating high speed rail in America". National Capital Land Transportation Committee.
  11. ^ "High speed rail commemorative plaque in Princeton Junction station". www.ns3010
  12. ^ "Princeton Junction, NJ". Great American Stations. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  13. ^ "West Windsor gains Transit Village designation Township becomes 24th Transit Village in New Jersey" (Press release). NJDOT. January 5, 2012. Retrieved May 25, 2012.
  14. ^ "An Unofficial Transit Village". The New York Times. October 9, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  15. ^ "Princeton University: Train Travel". Princeton University. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  16. ^ Rosenbaum, Joel; Gallo, Tom (1997). NJ Transit Rail Operations. Railpace Newsmagazine. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  17. ^ McGeehan, Patrick (September 20, 2018). "For New Jersey Rail Commuters, a Bad Situation Is About to Get Worse". The New York Times. Retrieved October 15, 2018.
  18. ^ "Governor Murphy, NJ Transit Announce ACRL and Princeton Dinky to Resume May 12th" (Press release). New Jersey Transit. April 17, 2019. Retrieved May 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "US 1 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)". Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  20. ^ "Fact Sheet 2008". Central New jersey Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit Project. New Jersey Transit. 2008. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  21. ^ "Central NJ Route 1 BRT" (PDF). NJ Transit Bus Service: The Next Generation. New Jersey Transit. April 26, 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 13, 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 6, 2015. Retrieved November 6, 2015.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]