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Dual-Powered Trains Could Create One-Seat Ride on Raritan Line

Raritan Valley Rail Coalition supports a change to dual-powered trains on the Raritan Valley Line.

New Jersey Transit is currently testing dual-powered locomotives that could run on the Raritan Valley Train Line and create a one-seat ride into New York City—and Bridgewater officials are in favor of that move.

“I believe that bringing a one-seat ride to residents is crucial for our continued growth,” said councilman Matthew Moench, who also serves as the township representative to the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition.

Moench said that at the December meeting, a presentation was made concerning the benefits of dual-powered trains. Currently, the trains on the Raritan Valley Line are diesel-powered, and therefore not permitted to enter tunnels leading into New York.

That is why riders are required to change trains in Newark, Moench said.

The Raritan Valley Line runs through Bridgewater, at the train station near TD Bank Ballpark.

According to the presentation, Moench said, there are many benefits to making the change to a one-seat trip for the Raritan Valley Line.

“Beyond the mere inconvenience of having to change trains, studies have shown that direct access to New York can have significant economic benefits,” he said.

For one, Moench said, the study found that eliminating the transfer of trains in New York could shave about 35 minutes off commuting times.

“The study also showed for every minute saved on the morning commute, home values could increase by $3,000,” he said. “However, this figure also depends on the distance from the train station itself.”

“In addition, benefits include increasing reliability of the Raritan Valley Line, increasing the attractiveness of train travel on the Raritan Valley Line, increased revenue, higher commercial property values and reductions in driving, congestion and air pollution,” he added.

Since the December meeting, Moench said, the trustees of the coalition have implemented a campaign to educate officials and others on the new dual-powered trains.

“While New Jersey Transit is expected to begin utilizing the dual-powered locomotives in the next two years, there is no guarantee when that will begin, how many of the locomotives will be used on the Raritan Valley Line and how they will be implemented,” he said.

This initiative, Moench said, will not cost residents money, but will have its other benefits.

At an upcoming Bridgewater meeting, Moench said, the council will be acting on a resolution to support this initiative and ask New Jersey Transit to implement these dual-powered trains on the Raritan Valley Line.

“Whether it be spending more time with their families, or increasing productivity by being able to get more work done during the day, one-seat ride has a significant quality of life improvement for our commuting residents, as well as an economic benefit to the entire community,” he said.

What do you think of the possibility of using these trains to allow for a one-seat ride?

JV Clark February 07, 2013 at 10:22 PM
It would be easy to say I don't have a dog in this fight since I am a happy Bridgewater retiree, but I am moved to comment that in 1977 we bought a home in the Aberdeen-Matawan area mainly because the train system was electrified to that point and offered one-seat convenience and speed into NYC. Don't underestimate the benefical local impact of such a move.
James Trynosky February 08, 2013 at 02:00 PM
I believe they were originally meant for the RVL, as well as the other diesel lines the problem is capacity into NY Penn Station. To get our trains in their, you'd have to divert trains that are currently going there to Hoboken. So expect a big fight with the towns along the electrified lines that are currently enjoying a single seat ride. We'll probably have to wait until the Gateway project is completed, assuming it gets completed.
Mike Umbris February 08, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Good to see politicians trying to grow economic base here in Bridgewater. A train direct to NYC is good on so many levels for the locals.
Terry February 08, 2013 at 11:32 PM
As a Realtor I can testify on how having direct access to NYC impacts property values for the better. Direct access with top rated schools and we would be golden!
BucaBuddy99 February 09, 2013 at 01:01 AM
As someone who used to commute by train and now drives, this would be HUGE!!
JO February 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM
I agree, the RVL is so long to NYC, it should take less time by mass transist.
Al Beronio February 10, 2013 at 01:46 PM
This idea was floated a few years ago and the objection then was the same as was pointed out in the article....not enough capacity at Penn Station, NYC. I think it would be a fantastic change but am not holding my breath.
jasco February 15, 2013 at 03:34 AM
the majority of the folks i know who moved to jersey from the city were so shocked by the raritan valley line they moved back. in addition to improving property values, it would improve the cultural and social caliber of our communities -- and give an extra 1-2 hours per day to our schools, teams, families and other beneficiaries of time not spent on a smelly train!

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