NJ Transit Rail Celebrates 40th Anniversary

It has now been slightly more than 40 years since NJ Transit started running its trains under its own flag. While the different lines were originally operated by historical railroads, such as the Morris & Essex (M&E), Gladstone, and Montclair lines by the Lackawanna Railroad until 1960, the statewide system was run by the Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail), with help from the Commuter Operating Agency (COA) at the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

According to Coalition member Jim Blaze, who worked as a manager for Conrail at the time, Congress mandated in 1981 that Conrail had to give up its local passenger operations by the end of 1982. In a hurry, and just in time for New Years’ Day1983, 3 regional railroads were born: Metro-North in New York State, NJ Transit Rail, and SEPTA Regional Rail in the Philadelphia area.

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Service Cuts Not as Severe as Feared

Rail service cuts were not as severe as feared.  Although we reported apprehension about expected severe cuts in the January-February issue of the Railgram, the actual service reductions were modest, averaging a train or two on most lines.  The most hard-hit will be the Atlantic City Rail Line, which will lose one of its busiest trains.  One train on the Montclair-Boonton Line will be eliminated, including the first inbound train in the morning.  The M&E Line will lose one train in each direction, while a midday train will be suspended temporarily west of Summit to allow installation of an improved signaling system between Summit and Morristown.  The Lackawanna Coalition has asked for the signal improvements in the area for several years and compliments NJT on their decision to install the upgrade.