Union (NJT station)
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Union Station sign, hanging from entryway
|Location||Union Township, Union County, New Jersey|
|Owned by||New Jersey Transit (Structure) / Norfolk Southern Railway (Land)|
|Platforms||1 island platform|
|Connections||NJT Bus: 26 and 52|
|Passengers (2012)||1,355 (average weekday)|
Union Station in Union County, New Jersey is a New Jersey Transit railroad station on the Conrail Lehigh Line, served by Raritan Valley Line trains direct to New York Penn Station, Newark Penn Station, Raritan, and High Bridge. The physical structures of the station are owned by New Jersey Transit, however the land remains property of Norfolk Southern Railway, in accordance with the 1999 buyout of Consolidated Rail Corporation by Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Corporation.
The station is located at milepost 14.6 on the Conrail Lehigh Line. This is the former Lehigh Valley Railroad mainline, built in 1832 by LV subsidiary Newark & Roselle Railway. The area was served until 1919 by Townley station, about 0.3 miles to the west. With the station demolished by the Lehigh Valley Railroad in the 1940s, officials decided not to add a stop in 1967 during the Aldene Project. The project was a joint program between the railroads, NJDOT, and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey which elevated trackage above ground level to eliminate grade crossings and rerouted which elevated the railroad above ground level and rerouted Central Railroad of New Jersey trains (one of NJ Transit's predecessor railroads) to Pennsylvania Station in Newark, New Jersey.
When bankruptcy struck the Central Railroad of New Jersey, the CNJ was forced to fold into the Consolidated Rail Corporation on April 1, 1976. On that date, the New Jersey Department of Transportation took over commuter rail operations. In 1981 the State of New Jersey created New Jersey Transit to oversee all commuter operations, rail and bus, in the state. Since then, NJTransit has continued to operate and improve services on the Raritan Valley Line service.
Completed in 2003 at a cost of $24.8 million, it is the Township of Union's first active passenger train station since the end of the Rahway Valley Railroad passenger service in the 1920s. It filled the eight mile stretch between Newark Penn Station and Roselle Park. It is adjoined to Kean University. Station amenities include a waiting room, rest rooms, vendors, and a 464-space parking lot. The station features artwork reproducing the 40th parallel of the Earth's northern hemisphere, and shows cities through which the 40th parallel runs including Lisbon, Rome, and Beijing.
In May 2004, the station served as the scene of a major drill for local first responders. The State of New Jersey managed the drill, which centered around the simulation of a mass casualty railroad incident. Fire departments, EMS agencies, and police departments from all around the state participated. Governor Jim McGreevy heralded the drill as an impressive display of commitment by local authorities and New Jersey Transit toward the safety of the community and rail passengers.
On September 24, 2013, Union Station was dedicated to Congressman Bob Franks. Franks was a long time supporter of rail transportation, as well as a tireless advocate for public works projects in his district, which included the Township of Union.
The station is a center island platform, with eastbound and westbound trains operating on any track the Conrail North Jersey Train Dispatcher chooses. Under no circumstances does a specific track serve a specific direction.
Direct Service To New York City
In March 2014, New Jersey Transit began providing direct service, known as a "one seat ride" to Pennsylvania Station New York on a limited off-peak basis using their new ALP-45DP dual diesel/electric locomotives. Currently, four rounds trips are available mid-day. New Jersey Transit states they have plans to expand the service in 2015 into the peak periods during the commute.
The station has a gauntlet track (a slightly shifted-over track) on both the track 1 and track 2 sides that allows freight trains to pass the high level platform safely. Currently, freight operations past the station are operated by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern. The route has become a critical artery in transcontinental transportation, particularly for retail and petrochemical traffic.
- "Raritan Valley Line Timetables" (PDF). Newark, New Jersey: New Jersey Transit Rail Operations. November 7, 2010. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
- "QUARTERLY RIDERSHIP TRENDS ANALYSIS". New Jersey Transit. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 27, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "Governor Christie Dedicates Union Rail Station In Honor Of Former Congressman Bob Franks". State of New Jersey, Office of the Governor.