Raritan–Manhattan Direct Service Begins March 2

NJ Transit will begin offering limited direct service from stations on the Raritan Valley Line to New York Penn Station beginning March 2, the first direct service to Manhattan ever offered to riders on the line.  However, the service will not be provided during peak commuter hours, because of the unavailability of timeslots to add additional trains to New York in peak hours.

According to reporting by Mike Deak on Gannett’s myCentralJersey.com (Dec. 16), the “pilot program” will offer the service for weekday trains arriving in New York between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and returning between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Specifics were not announced, but since service on the line is roughly hourly, it seems likely that there would be about 4 trains each way.  After the initial service, NJT is considering evening service for outbound trains between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m.

The new service is made technically possible by NJT’s acquisition of 36 “dual-mode” locomotives for $340 million; these locomotives can operate both with diesel power, which the Raritan line requires, and electric power, required to operate into Manhattan.  Unfortunately, 21 of the 36 units were damaged by flooding in Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and only 5 of the damaged units have so far returned to service; all are expected back by July, 2014.

The announcement by NJ Transit follows extensive lobbying by the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, which sees direct service to Manhattan as essential to the several transit-oriented developments in progress along the Raritan Line corridor.

The complete article was formerly found at http://www.mycentraljersey.com/article/20131216/NJNEWS/312160026

The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition’s website is at: http://www.raritanvalleyrail.com