Reverse Kearny – A Step In The Right Direction Or A Waste of Money?

Among the so-called Sandy Mitigation/Recovery proposals is a project known as Reverse Kearny, known by New Jersey Transit as the “Westbound Waterfront Connection.” Between Newark and Secaucus Transfer, there is the point where eastbound trains on the Northeast Corridor (NEC) can either continue to Penn Station, New York or divert to Hoboken Terminal via the Waterfront Connection. At the present time, the Waterfront Connection is used by a few North Jersey Coast Line (NJCL) trains in revenue service, as well as to send equipment to the Meadowlands Maintenance Complex for service and repair.

While it is possible for equipment to come out of Hoboken and head west on the NEC, as a few NJCL trains do, each of those trains must cross over all tracks of the NEC, blocking trains heading to Penn Station from Trenton and Long Branch until it passes. That makes regular use of the Waterfront Connection impractical, especially at peak commuting hours. The proposed construction would create a flyover that would allow trains coming out of Hoboken to enter the NEC without fouling the tracks.

Such a project would be a waste of money, given the number of trains that currently use the connection. However, if the connection is used judiciously, it is a comparatively cheap and quickly-executable temporary solution to most of the system’s capacity problems. West of this connection, the Northeast Corridor has no real capacity issues; it is east of there—at Portal Bridge, the North River Tunnels and “A” Interlocking—that problems exist.

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