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One-Seat Ride to NY Penn Station Coming in March

Though service will be limited, officials are hopeful schedules will grow.

NJ Transit will begin offering direct rides to NY Penn Station from the Bridgewater station, and other Raritan Valley Line stations, twice each day in March. Credit: Patch file photo
NJ Transit will begin offering direct rides to NY Penn Station from the Bridgewater station, and other Raritan Valley Line stations, twice each day in March. Credit: Patch file photo
Beginning in March, commuters heading into New York on NJ Transit won't have to leave the train at Newark, according to the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition and One-Seat Ride Coalition.

NJ Transit will roll out a morning off-peak, one-seat ride to New York’s Penn Station starting March 2, with trains arriving in New York between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Getting the service has been a longtime goal of the groups, as well as local officials, who note the economic benefits of having direct service to New York.

But the demand on rail lines is limited, so it's unclear whether the service can be expanded.

"If Raritan Valley is getting a train, that means somebody else somewhere is not getting one," Bridgewater Township Councilman Matthew Moench said at Monday's meeting announcing the service. 

NJ Transit has purchased dual-mode locomotives that will operate as diesels through Hunterdon, Somerset, Middlesex and Union counties and as electronic locomotives through the tunnel to Manhattan, making the one-seat ride possible.

The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, joined by a coalition of 30 mayors of towns along the line, seek to ultimately achieve a full one-seat ride Manhattan service on the Raritan Valley Line, which currently terminates in Newark.

“Town after town has major development near their train stations,” said Somerset County Freeholder and Rail Coalition Chairman Peter S. Palmer. “The weekday off-peak service is an important first step.”

He credited the mayors’ coalition, headed by Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, with being “vital to the long-standing effort of the Rail Coalition to bring the one-seat ride to fruition.”

NJ Transit, which has championed Transit-Oriented Development, has agreed to meet quarterly with the One-Seat Ride Coalition to evaluate the results of the new service and discuss further expansion.  The next step would be to offer evening one-seat ride service during off-peak hours after 8 p.m.
Hugh December 18, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Excellent, but why not during business hours?
E Paul December 20, 2013 at 05:07 PM
I understand the tunnels to NYC are already at capacity during peak hours, so direct RVL trains cannot be added during that time. The third tunnel, which Gov. Christie killed, would have eventually provided the additional capacity needed for all RVL trains to continue into NY Penn Station.
George Murphy December 29, 2013 at 02:49 AM
Go back and read the facts surrounding why he "killed" the tunnel project. It was one of the first things he did when he initially took office.
George Murphy December 29, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Also, these dual-function powered locos are long overdue. This would improve service on the Bay Head shuttle as well. In fact, they would eventually eliminate the need for overhead wires, altogether. (A common cause of the many delays, especially on the Newark Division)

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