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The Raritan Valley Line is a commuter rail service operated by New Jersey Transit (NJT) which serves passengers in municipalities in Union, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey, United States. The line's most frequent western terminus is Raritan station in Raritan. Some weekday trains continue further west and terminate at the High Bridge station, located in High Bridge. Most eastbound trains terminate in Newark; passengers bound for New York make a cross-platform transfer. A limited number of weekday trains continue directly to New York.

Raritan Valley Line
RaritanValleyLine.svg
New Jersey Transit GE P40DC 4800.jpg
Train #5439 stops at Dunellen.
Overview
TypeCommuter rail
SystemNew Jersey Transit Rail Operations
StatusOperational
LocaleNorthern New Jersey
TerminiNew York Penn Station (temporarily suspended)
Newark Penn Station
Raritan
High Bridge
Stations20
Daily ridership21,800 (FY 2012)[1]
Operation
OwnerAmtrak
(east of Hunter)
CSAO
(Hunter to Aldene)
New Jersey Transit
(Aldene westward)
Operator(s)New Jersey Transit
Rolling stockGP40PH-2 locomotives
Alstom PL42AC
Bombardier ALP-45DP locomotives
Comet IIM, IV, and V
Bombardier MultiLevels
Technical
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Electrification12 kV 25 Hz AC (Newark-New York only)
Operating speed80 mph (128.75 km/h) (top speed)
Route map

New York – Penn Station
Amtrak MTA NYC logo.svg BSicon SUBWAY.svg
Secaucus Junction
Metro-North Railroad
MTA NYC logo.svg
Harrison
0.0 mi
0 km
Newark – Penn Station
Amtrak Port Authority Trans-Hudson Newark Light Rail
closed
Union
7.2 mi
11.6 km
Roselle Park
9.5 mi
15.3 km
Cranford
10.6 mi
17.1 km
Garwood
11.8 mi
19 km
Westfield
13.9 mi
22.4 km
Fanwood
15.1 mi
24.3 km
Netherwood
16.3 mi
26.2 km
Plainfield
17.4 mi
28 km
Grant Avenue
closed
Clinton Avenue
closed
19.2 mi
30.9 km
Dunellen
Middlesex
closed
23.5 mi
37.8 km
Bound Brook
Bridgewater
Chimney Rock Spur
closed
27.9 mi
44.9 km
Somerville
CNJ Central Branch
to Flemington
29.1 mi
46.8 km
Raritan
Raritan Yard
North Branch
White House
Rockaway Valley Railroad
to Watnong
Lebanon
Annandale
High Bridge
closed
DL&W Hampton Branch
to Washington
Hampton
closed
Ludlow
closed
Bloomsbury
closed
I-78 (route severed)
closed
NS Washington Secondary
to Morris & Essex Lines

Raritan Valley Line trains use three different lines owned by three different entities. Between High Bridge and the Aldene Connection, east of Cranford, it uses the former Central Railroad of New Jersey Main Line, now owned by New Jersey Transit and also called the Raritan Valley Line. From the Aldene Connection to Hunter it uses Conrail's Lehigh Line, formerly the east end of Lehigh Valley Railroad Main Line. Finally, it uses Amtrak's Northeast Corridor from the Hunter Connection to Newark and New York.

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

Contents

DescriptionEdit

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. In peak years of service the line was the basis for trains, such as the Queen of the Valley and the Harrisburg Special, reaching as far west as Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Until 1967 CNJ service terminated at the company's Communipaw Terminal in what is today Liberty State Park.[3] 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.[4]

The former CNJ Main Line was conveyed to Conrail on the former's bankruptcy in 1976. Conrail sold the line to the state of New Jersey in 1978 but continued to operate commuter service under contract.[5]

Trains initially could not go beyond Newark Penn Station to New York Penn Station because the locomotives were 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.[6] Limited, service to New York Penn Station started as a pilot program on March 3, 2014. Select trains scheduled to arrive at New York Penn Station provide one-seat rides to New York. This original "pilot project" schedule has been subsequently expanded to include additional trains.

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.[7]

In September 2018, until further notice, all Raritan Valley Line service has been truncated to Newark Penn Station to allow for positive train control installation. [8]

Rolling stockEdit

The Raritan Valley Line uses all diesel service. The locomotives originally consisted of the GP40PH-2(A and B) and Alstom PL42AC with a 5- or 6-car set of Comet series coaches. Since late 2008, Bombardier Multilevel Series Coaches were added and displaced most of the Comet coaches. As of late 2013, the trainsets' consist use an ALP-45DP and a 6- to 8-car set of Multilevels. However, some occasional trains use the Comet coaches coupled with a PL42AC or an ALP-45DP. NJT had acquired several GE P40DC locomotives from Amtrak in 2007, but were soon transferred to ACES in 2009 and then back in 2011 due to a planned discontinuation. Due to the lack of buyers, the locomotives stayed in NJT's property indefinitely until 2014, when they were sold to the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

With the initiation of select, direct, service to New York Penn Station on the Raritan Valley Line in March 2014, dual-mode Bombardier ALP-45DP locomotives (combination diesel and electric power) were added to the RVL rolling stock to incorporate the "one seat ride" to and from Raritan or High Bridge and Penn Station in New York.

The line's rolling stock is stored at the Raritan Yard, the line's only rail yard, located just west of the station of the same name. 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.

In May and June 2018, NJ Transit leased 10 MARC coaches to be exclusively operated on the Raritan Valley Line. These cars have since been sent back to MARC.[9]

Proposed extensionsEdit

PhillipsburgEdit

Service beyond High Bridge to Phillipsburg Union Station in Phillipsburg was discontinued in December 1983 because of low ridership.[10] 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.[11] 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 Line towards Allentown or on the existing Norfolk Southern Reading Line towards 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.[12] 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..."[13]

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.[14]

West TrentonEdit

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 which is the current day CSX Transportation Trenton Subdivision, the NJ Transit rail service on the Trenton Subdivision would be NJ Transit's version of 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.[15]

StationsEdit

Zone
[16]
Station[16] Miles (km)
from NYP
Date
opened
Date
closed
Connections / notes[16]
Northeast Corridor and City Terminal Zone continue east
1 New York – Penn Station  
0.0 (0.0) 1910   Amtrak: Acela Express, Adirondack, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Pennsylvanian, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
  LIRR: Babylon, Belmont Park, City Terminal Zone, Far Rockaway, Hempstead, Long Beach, Montauk, Oyster Bay, Port Jefferson, Port Washington, Ronkonkoma, and West Hempstead Branches
  NJ Transit: Gladstone, Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, Northeast Corridor, and North Jersey Coast Lines
  NYC Subway:     (at 34th Street – Penn Station (Seventh Avenue))
    (at 34th Street – Penn Station (Eighth Avenue))
  NYCT Bus: M7, M20, M34 SBS, M34A, Q32
  Academy Bus: SIM23, SIM24
  Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach: New York Airport Service
  Greyhound Lines: BoltBus, NeOn
  Megabus: M21, M22, M23, M24, M27
  Eastern Shuttle
  Vamoose Bus
New York / New Jersey state line
Secaucus Junction  
3.5 (5.6) 2003   NJ Transit: Gladstone, Main, Meadowlands, Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, Pascack Valley, Lines
  Metro-North: Port Jervis Line
  NJT Bus: 2, 78, 129, 329, 353
Hudson / Essex county line
Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, and Gladstone Lines diverge at Kearny Connection
North Jersey Coast Line service from Hoboken converges at Waterfront Connection
Newark – Penn Station   10.0 (16.1) 1935[17][18]   Amtrak: Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
  NJ Transit: Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Lines
  PATH: Newark – World Trade Center
  Newark Light Rail: Grove Street – Newark Penn, Broad Street – Newark Penn
  NJT 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
Newark South Street
Northeast Corridor (Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Lines) diverges at Hunter Connection
Essex / Union county line
5 Union   2003   NJT Bus: 26, 52
7 Roselle Park 1832   NJT Bus: 94, 113
Aldene Connection between former Jersey Central and current Lehigh Valley Main Lines
Cranford   1839[19]   NJT Bus: 59, 113
  Olympia Trails: Westfield Commuter Service
8 Garwood
1892[19]   NJT Bus: 59, 113
  Olympia Trails: Westfield Commuter Service
Westfield   1839[20]   NJT Bus: 59, 113
  Olympia Trails: Westfield Commuter Service
9 Fanwood 1837   NJT Bus: 113
  Olympia Trails: Westfield Commuter Service
10 Netherwood 1874[21]   NJT Bus: 113, 882
  Olympia Trails: Westfield Commuter Service
11 Plainfield   1839[21]   NJT Bus: 59, 65, 66, 113, 114, 819, 822, 896
Grant Avenue 1885[22] April 26, 1986[23]
Clinton Avenue 1872[22] April 30, 1967
Union / Middlesex county line
12 Dunellen 1840[24]   NJT Bus: 59, 65, 66, 113, 114
  Suburban Trails: Dunellen Local
13 Middlesex c. 1893[24]
Middlesex / Somerset county line
14 Bound Brook 1840[25]   Somerset County Transportation: DASH
15 Bridgewater Known as Calco from 1915[25]–1996
West Trenton Line diverges
Finderne 1851[25] 2006 Closed due to low ridership
17 Somerville   1842[26]   NJT Bus: 65, 114
Raritan c. 1851[27]
18 North Branch
1848[27]
Somerset / Hunterdon county line
19 White House
September 25, 1848[28]
20 Lebanon
c. 1852[27]
Annandale
1852[29]
21 High Bridge
1852[29]
Glen Gardner 1852[30] January 1, 1984[31] The station was known as Clarkville from 1852–November 1864 and Spruce Run until the early 1870s.[30]
Hampton 1852[30] January 1, 1984[31]
Ludlow c. 1852-1854[32] 1967
Bloomsbury 1852[33] 1967
Phillipsburg Union Station 1852[34] January 1, 1984[31]
Lehigh Line continues west

BibliographyEdit

  • Bernhart, Benjamin L. (2004). Historic Journeys By Rail: Central Railroad of New Jersey Stations, Structures & Marine Equipment. Outer Station Project. ISBN 1891402072.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ NJ TRANSIT QUARTERLY RIDERSHIP TRENDS ANALYSIS November 2012 Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  2. ^ "world.nycsubway.org/Showing Image 36731". World.nycsubway.org. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  3. ^ Treese, Lorett (January 1, 2006). Railroads of New Jersey: Fragments of the Past in the Garden State Landscape. Stackpole Books. ISBN 9780811732604.
  4. ^ "Conrail/NJ DOT end Bayonne shuttle". Thorpefamily.us. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  5. ^ Catino, Jean E. (September 15, 1978). "State buying rail network, 130 stations". The Courier-News. p. 4. Retrieved September 16, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ "njtransit.com" (PDF). Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  8. ^ https://www.njspotlight.com/stories/19/01/13/no-resumption-in-sight-of-full-service-on-raritan-valley-atlantic-city-rail-lines
  9. ^ "NJ Transit leasing cars from Maryland" (Press release). NBC New York. May 2, 2018.
  10. ^ Kraft, Randy (December 15, 1983). "Phillipsburg-to-New York City run by train service will end Dec. 30". The Morning Call. p. 22. Retrieved August 4, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ "nycroads.com". nycroads.com. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  12. ^ Flood, Danielle; Mustac, Frank (July 1, 2009). "NJ Transit Analyzing Recommendations Made in I-78 Corridor Study". New Jersey On-Line.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ Easton Mayor Sal Panto Jr. says rail study 'has holes,' plans own task force Monday, June 7, 2010, By DOUGLAS B. BRILL, The Express-Times http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/easton/index.ssf?/base/news-2/1275883506119710.xml&coll=3
  15. ^ [1]. New Jersey Transit. Retrieved April 5, 2008.
  16. ^ a b c "North Jersey Coast Line Timetable" (PDF). New York, New York: New Jersey Transit. November 19, 2014. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
  17. ^ "Newark Dedicates New Station Today". The New York Times. March 23, 1935. p. 13. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  18. ^ "Newark Dedicates Its New Terminal". The New York Times. March 24, 1935. p. N1. Retrieved May 30, 2010.
  19. ^ a b Bernhart 2004, p. 59.
  20. ^ Bernhart 2004, p. 60.
  21. ^ a b Bernhart 2004, p. 61.
  22. ^ a b Bernhart 2004, p. 62.
  23. ^ "Plainfield Station Derailed From Line". The Courier-News. March 18, 1986. p. 17. Retrieved September 26, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  24. ^ a b Bernhart 2004, p. 63.
  25. ^ a b c Bernhart 2004, p. 64.
  26. ^ Bernhart 2004, p. 65.
  27. ^ a b c Bernhart 2004, p. 68.
  28. ^ "Original Route of New Jersey Central Railroad Followed Old Post Road Between Plainfield and Elizabethport, Historian Says". The Plainfield Courier-News. December 31, 1938. p. 7. Retrieved April 13, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.  
  29. ^ a b Bernhart 2004, p. 69.
  30. ^ a b c Bernhart 2004, p. 70.
  31. ^ a b c "NJ Transit Studying Service to Hampton". The Courier-News. December 13, 1984. p. 13. Retrieved January 1, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  32. ^ Bernhart 2004, p. 71.
  33. ^ Bernhart 2004, p. 72.
  34. ^ Bernhart 2004, p. 75.