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New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor Line

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New Jersey Transit Arrow III (EMU) train at North Elizabeth, Northeast Corridor Line. Arrow EMU trains hold down most of the NJT Corridor services. Photo by Richard Panse, September 2009.

Contents

Overview

New Jersey Transit Trains run along Amtrak's northeast corridor line from New York Penn Station to Trenton station, where a transfer is available to the SEPTA R7 trains to Philadelphia. We will start out at New York-Penn Station and head south.

Station By Station

Penn Station has three underground levels. From top to bottom, they are the main level which features the Amtrak and NJ Transit waiting rooms, ticket offices for NJT and Amtrak, and shops. The middle level provides access to the IND 8th Avenue/Fulton Street/Rockaway Line and IRT West Side Line subways, the LIRR Long Island Rail Road waiting area and ticket offices, and more shops. And of course, the lowest level is the track level.

Platform arrangement starts from the south; for tracks 1-16, the odd numbered track is on the south side of the platform and the even numbered track on the north side. At track 17 there is an island platform, which is shared with track 18, which is not normally used for boarding passengers. North of track 18 the island platforms resume with the even track on the south side and the odd track on the north side. NJT and Amtrak have exclusive use of tracks 1-12 and share 13-16 with the LIRR. Tracks 17-21 are used exclusively by the LIRR and as such have no catenary as is found on tracks 1-16.

A new waiting room has been opened at New York-Penn Station for NJ Transit riders, and the old waiting room has been converted to an Amtrak-only area. The waiting room is usually very crowded and there is no place to sit down. Once the train arrives, the track is posted on a small television screen and everybody makes a mad rush to the platform. The ticketing area has a large train destination board showing Amtrak and NJ Transit departures.

Exiting the tunnel into New Jersey, the Northeast Corridor line is two tracks between the portals and the new Secaucus Transfer station, officially called the "Frank Lautenberg Rail Station," a 312,000-square-foot station which opened for full service December 15, 2003. The Northeast Corridor level has four tracks, with one island and two side platforms. This new station, visible from the New Jersey Turnpike, functions as a transfer point between many of the New Jersey Transit rail lines, with emphasis on transfers to the Northeast Corridor, allowing those passengers from the Main, Bergen, and Pascack Valley lines easier access to New York City and points south. The Northeast Corridor level of this station has two island platforms and four tracks, with two additional bypass or "express" tracks in the center. In October, work was begun on a $250 million interchange of the New Jersey Turnpike designed especially to serve this rail station."

Leaving the Secaucus Transfer station, the Northeast Corridor, still two tracks, crosses Hackensack River drawbridge (site of a derailment in the mid 1990s), and speed through the New Jersey Transit "Midtown Direct" and "Waterfront Connection" junctions (which connect the east-west Morris & Essex lines of New Jersey Transit to the Northeast Corridor). The Corridor line expands first to three tracks and then to four as we pass through the Harrison station of PATH Port Authority Trans-Hudson, a location that seems like a great vantage point for photography, but be aware, PATH strictly prohibits photography on its property.

After Harrison, we cross the "Dock" drawbridge over the Passaic River and immediately enter Newark Penn Station, which has six tracks and several platform faces. Looking south, from left to right, these are as follows:

  • Side Platform
  • Track A - NJT & Amtrak northbound arrivals
  • Track 1 - NJT & Amtrak northbound arrivals
  • Island Platform
  • PATH Track "B" - World Trade Center departures
  • Island Platform
  • Track 2 - Amtrak northbound arrivals
  • Track 3 - Amtrak (mostly) southbound departures
  • Island Platform
  • Track 4 - NJT & Amtrak southbound departures
  • Track 5 - New Jersey Transit Raritan Line southbound departures
  • Side Platform

The island platform between Track 1 and Track B is divided up the middle by waiting rooms, wrought iron railing, and PATH turnstiles. The other platforms have small enclosed waiting areas. Easy connection can be made here to the Newark City Subway, PATH trains to Jersey City and New York, and Greyhound buses.

Departing southbound, the PATH tracks cross overhead and lead into a small yard on the west side. Following the PATH yard is evidence of the abandoned Newark-South Street station, which featured low brick platforms and ornamental iron railings. Shortly past there, we pass Hunter tower and bid goodbye to the New Jersey Transit Raritan Line.

The next station is the new Newark Airport station. This station connects to the Port Authority's AirTrain Newark airport monorail extension serving Newark Liberty International Airport. The station consists of two island platforms, each 1,050 feet long and 32 feet wide, and an enclosed 280-foot-long elevated crossover concourse. This pedestrian concourse links the NEC platforms with enclosed waiting areas and the monorail platform. The facility is climate controlled and is equipped with public restrooms. Four tracks serve the station; two additional tracks serve as express tracks, bypassing the station. Both New Jersey Transit trains and Amtrak's conventional Amfleet-equipped trains stop at this station. There is no access here to any streets.

From here to Trenton, all stations have two side platforms unless stated. The line reverts to four tracks and we enter North Elizabeth station. North Elizabeth is not served by most trains, and is very lightly used. There is a low platform on the north end of the station and a station house at street level on the east side of the tracks (northbound direction). This station is elevated at the New York end and in an open cut at the Trenton end due to street topography.

Shortly after, we arrive at Elizabeth station, also known as "Broad Street Elizabeth". This station is on a viaduct and has a platform area waiting room on the northbound platform. The high platforms date from the early 1990s; the original low platforms are still present and are fenced off. Below the station is the former Central Railroad of New Jersey right of way and its abandoned Elizabeth station. South of the Elizabeth station is the location of a former station at South Elizabeth. This station was never upgraded with high level platforms.

Departing Elizabeth, we pass Elmora tower and the Corridor becomes six tracks. The next station is at Linden, with two high side platforms with long canopies on an embankment. There is a station building below the tracks.

Rahway is next and is the last station before the New Jersey Transit North Jersey Coast Line line service departs the Corridor. Rahway is a very busy station and a side platform for northbound trains and an island platform for Trenton/Bay Head trains. Both platforms have indoor waiting areas. On the New York bound side, there is an information desk and mini police precinct. The platforms are forty steps up from the street, and the stairway enclosures have glass block side walls with medium blue, beige, and rose colored stripes. This station was rededicated in March, 1998 after two years of heavy renovations performed while the station was still open. Platforms were completely removed and rebuilt in stages to allow continued train service.

After departing Rahway and passing the crossunder for the North Jersey Coast line, we pass two abandoned stations, Colonia and Iselin. Next station stop is at Metropark with 4 tracks, 2 side platforms. Metropark is one of NJ Transit (and Amtrak's) most utilized stations. The station is on an embankment, with Wood Av. to the south and the Garden State Parkway to the north. A center exit leads from the northbound platform to an elevator and stairs, which lead to a small station house at ground level, which has benches, a ticket booth, and a small Dunkin' Donuts inside. A crossunder is from the southbound track, and comes up directly into the station house. Just across the street from the station house, there are large 5 and 7 story parking garages with long-term and hourly spots. The station opened in 1971 as an Amtrak only station and was soon joined in service by NJT's predecessors. A renovation is planned to expand the station from 850 foot platforms to 1050 feet eastbound and 1135 feet westbound and will for the first time have a pedestrian connection to NJ route 27 (which is on the west side of the Trenton-bound platform). Renovation work should be complete in 2010. A train to bus connection is available here.

Metuchen is next and features the old station building on the northbound side and a closed platform area waiting room on the southbound side. This station is rather lightly used and is not far from Metropark.

Edison is next, also on embankment as at Metuchen, and has been totally rebuilt with a station building on the northbound side. Some former Conrail freight tracks are on the the far west side of the southbound platform. The station house features a Dunkin' Donuts shop.

We cross the Raritan River on a massive concrete arch bridge and arrive at New Brunswick. This station is on a viaduct through the city and has enclosed platform waiting rooms on both platforms. The main station building is two levels, on the northbound side. A view of the many office buildings and Rutgers University campus buildings is available from the platforms.

We pass County tower and a small storage yard on the north side and arrive at Jersey Avenue, a very unusual station. A spur track diverges from the southbound track just north of the station. The low platforms are in between the main line and the spur. In between the platforms is a large parking lot. Trains either terminate or originate on the spur track, or stop to drop off passengers on the main line low platform. Through trains from the

We cross the Raritan River on a massive concrete arch bridge and arrive at New Brunswick. This station is on a viaduct through the city and has enclosed platform waiting rooms on both platforms. The main station building is two levels, on the northbound side. A view of the many office buildings and Rutgers University campus buildings is available from the platforms.

We pass County tower and a small storage yard on the north side and arrive at Jersey Avenue, a very unusual station. A spur track diverges from the southbound track just north of the station. The low platforms are in between the main line and the spur. In between the platforms is a large parking lot. Trains either terminate or originate on the spur track, or stop to drop off passengers on the main line low platform. Through trains from the south to New York do not stop here at all. There is no station building here, the platforms have simple bus shelters.

Princeton Junction is next. The station has crossunders to the station building on the northbound side. Amtrak also stops here, as does the shuttle to Princeton, which departs from a track to the west of the Trenton-bound platform. The shuttle is affectionately known as the Dinky, since it is typically operated as a single car. The shuttle is also sometimes referred to the PJ&B, for Princeton Junction and Back.

Princeton station, a short hop by shuttle, is right in the middle of Princeton University's campus, and features stone station buildings (former passenger and freight house) which fit in well with the surrounding campus. Neither building provides a transit-related function any longer. The station has a single track and a short high-level platform with ticket vending machines. The bumper block only allows two cars into the station however the platform extends approximately two car lengths beyond the bumper block.

A new, "multi-modal" station is next, Hamilton. The station is built just south of the American Standard plant outside of Trenton. This station has a crossover to the station building on the northbound platform as well as a bus depot for local bus service by NJT's Mercer County Routes.

Trenton's station building is over the tracks and offers a trainspotters dream view of trains from NJT, SEPTA and Amtrak. The waiting room is on the west side and there is also an exit on the east side. The track level is located in an open cut, and has island platforms for tracks 4 and 5 and tracks 1 and 2, and a low platform for track 3. There are two center bypass tracks used by Amtrak trains not stopping in Trenton and several storage tracks used to lay up SEPTA trains to the west of track 5. In order from west to east, the layout is as follows: two storage tracks, 5(High)-4(High), westbound bypass, eastbound bypass, 1(High)-2(High), 3(Low). An unusual feature at Trenton is the dual use of track 5. Trains from both SEPTA and NJT will platform at the same time, with 1-2 car lengths between the front of the NJT train and the rear of the SEPTA train. The main Trenton platforms can hold approximately 18-20 cars! Transfer can be made here to the SEPTA Regional Rail to Philadelphia, and to the New Jersey Transit RiverLine light rail to Camden.

Photo Gallery


Image 20445
(170k, 800x600)
Photo by: Bob Vogel
Location: Princeton

Image 20485
(236k, 1024x674)
Photo by: Joe Testagrose
Location: Harrison

Image 22222
(55k, 520x359)
Photo by: Jason R. DeCesare
Location: Penn Station-Newark

Image 37291
(107k, 768x512)
Photo by: Eric Oszustowicz
Collection of: Joe Testagrose
Location: Penn Station-New York (Amtrak)

Image 45608
(248k, 1024x660)
Photo by: Willie Rosenberg
Collection of: Joe Testagrose
Location: Trenton

Image 48966
(325k, 1044x788)
Photo by: Richard Panse
Location: Sunnyside Yard (NJT/Amtrak)

Image 49759
(94k, 900x598)
Photo by: Harv Kahn
Location: North Elizabeth

Image 49806
(207k, 1024x768)
Photo by: Harv Kahn
Location: Elizabeth

Image 78060
(170k, 937x708)
Photo by: Chris Reidy
Location: Penn Station-Newark

Image 78249
(294k, 1044x694)
Photo by: Ed Davis, Sr.
Collection of: David Pirmann
Location: Harrison

Image 102276
(267k, 1044x607)
Photo by: Lee Winson
Location: Delaware River Bridge

Image 105159
(262k, 1044x705)
Photo by: Lee Winson
Location: Princeton Junction

Image 107027
(175k, 930x618)
Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Newark Airport

Image 107847
(184k, 930x618)
Photo by: Peter Ehrlich
Location: Secaucus Junction

Image 130725
(331k, 1044x703)
Photo by: Lee Winson
Location: Trenton


More Images: 1-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-250 251-300 301-350 351-400 401-450 451-500 501-550 551-600 601-650 651-657

Photos By Location

Penn Station-New York (Amtrak), Penn Station-New York (NJ Transit), North River Tunnel Portal, Secaucus Junction, Harrison, Penn Station-Newark, South St.-Newark, Newark Airport, North Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Elizabeth (CRRNJ Station), South Elizabeth, Linden, Rahway, Metropark, Metuchen, Edison, New Brunswick, Jersey Avenue, Monmouth Junction, Princeton Junction, Princeton, Hamilton, Trenton, Delaware River Bridge, (Misc/Unknown)

Page Credits

By Peggy Darlington.









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