New Jersey Transit North Jersey Coast Line

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New Jersey Transit ALP-44 locomotives in the yard at Long Branch, North Jersey Coast Line. Photo by Chris Leverett, March 2001.


The NJT North Jersey Coast Line runs from Hoboken and New York Penn Station to Newark, and then to Long Branch, NJ where a transfer is available to a diesel shuttle to Bay Head- about two hours from New York City.

The line features a mix of Arrow III electric MU cars and electric push-pull consists (between New York Penn and Long Branch) and diesel-hauled consists (between Long Branch and Bay Head, or Hoboken and Bay Head).

Station By Station

The North Jersey Coast line shares several stations with those trains running the Northeast Corridor. Those are: Newark Airport, North Elizabeth, Elizabeth (Broad St.), Linden, and Rahway.

After Rahway, North Jersey Coast Line trains leave the Northeast Corridor trackage via a double-tracked crossunder and enter their own double-tracked right of way. Shortly after the switch, which can be slow sometimes, Avenel station appears, with two short, high side platforms. This station was saved after an attempt to close it was made by NJ Transit, due to the cost of ADA elevators. The community objected, suggesting ramps could be used for the new high platforms, which replaced low platforms. The station has two tracks and is served by only a handful of trains per day and none on weekends.

Shortly after Avenel comes Woodbridge, with an island platform between two tracks. There is a station house at the north end of the station, which is on an embankment and crosses over Main St. on the south side.

Continuing westward the line descends to near grade level embankment and we cross under the Garden State Parkway's Driscoll Bridge and the US 9 Bridge on the north side of Raritan Bay. Next is Perth Amboy station, located in an open cut in the middle of the city of Perth Amboy. The Perth Amboy station has two low platforms and a glass-enclosed crossover with the station house on the south side. There is also a north side station currently closed for renovations. This can be a fairly busy station at times, and it can be tight boarding a train here, especially since only the end doors open.

We slowly cross the Raritan River on a low bridge with no siderails, giving the impression that you are on a boat, with an unobstructed scenic view of Staten Island to the northeast. Shortly after crossing the river we arrive at South Amboy station, with a view of the bay to the north. South Amboy has a low platform on the New York bound side, and no platform on the Bay Head bound side - instead there are just some signs indicating a station and a crossover to the station house and the northbound platform. New York bound trains use a center track, and passengers must cross the outer track closest to the platform to board the train. Some trains known as "Corridor/Coast Line Trains" terminate here.

There is a fairly large gap between South Amboy and our next station, Aberdeen-Matawan. The scenery begins to change from swamp to water, and then finally we cross Main St. (Matawan) at grade. We pass through the old Matawan station, which has two low side platforms and an old station house visible. This station is no longer open. Immediately after passing through the old station, we cross Atlantic Avenue at grade and arrive at our next station, Aberdeen-Matawan, which used to be known as just Aberdeen. Aberdeen-Matawan is a very busy station! It is located at grade and has two high wall platforms, with canopies over the north (New York-bound) side of each. There is a fairly large station house on the north side of the northbound platform, which houses a waiting room, a ticket window, and a medium-sized bagel shop, which does wonderful business every day. The platforms at Aberdeen-Matawan station are longer than most other stations along the line. There is a large parking lot on the north side of the tracks and a smaller one on the south side. All trains stop at Aberdeen-Matawan.

Next up is Hazlet station, which has two high side platforms. There is a canopy on the Bay Head bound platform and four or five bus shelters on the New York bound platform.

Continuing east, there is a moderately large gap between Hazlet and our next station, Middletown. This nice station has two new high platforms with wrought iron animal sculptures featuring a rooster, fox, birds on a branch, horse and a deer in the platform railings. The station varies from embankment to near grade. A crossover is at the west end of the station. No trace was found of the old low platforms.

We cross the Navesink River on a long bridge and immediately arrive at the Red Bank station, which is located in the heart of Red Bank between Oakland and Chestnut Sts. at grade. Red Bank has two low platforms and a very nice station house. There are also mini-high platforms at the east end for disabled-access to trains. There is a canopy on the New York bound platform and bus shelters on the Bay Head bound platform. A short maintenance of way yard is west of the station on both sides.

Little Silver closely follows Red Bank and is at grade with two low side platforms. Little Silver station is swarming with commuters during the day. A new station house is currently in the process of being built to replace the old 100 year old station house.

Monmouth Park is next and serves the racetrack with the same name right down the street. Monmouth Park has one low platform on a single tracked siding, and is used only during race season by NJ Transit's special Pony Express trains (operating only on race days). I've heard that this station can be VERY busy before and after races.

Just after Monmouth Park, we cross Branchport Creek and enter the city of Long Branch, Monmouth County's largest city. We cross Chelsea Av. and then curve to the south, stopping at Long Branch, the last station in electrified territory. This station has a high island platform and a small station house on the platform. While both tracks have catenary, normal operations have electric trains terminating on the westbound tracks and diesels from Bay Head on the eastbound track. The platform has three heated indoor waiting areas along with a crossunder to parking and street. The ticket office is in the middle one of the three waiting areas. Passengers board a diesel train and then continue their journey.

Next up is Elberon, also in the City of Long Branch on the border with the town of Deal, and has two high side platforms. A nice brick and stone station house is on the south side. The station house features a diamond pattern in the mullions of the upper window sashes. This station had old low platforms at the East End.

Allenhurst follows with two low side platforms. This station is at grade on Corlies Av., Allenhurst's east to west main street. This is an attractive station in a quiet little town, with a nice brick station house on the south side.

We pass the old station house of the former North Asbury Park station and pass through the ever-changing city of Asbury Park, a formerly thriving shore resort having fallen on bad times. Eventually we pull into Asbury Park station, at grade level on Route 71 at the corner of Cookman Avenue, one of the more derelict and deteriorated streets of Asbury Park. Asbury Park station has high side platforms and a small parking lot on the east side of the station. The current modern station house is a nice tall building with a two-story lobby. The old low platforms are to the east of the current station. It would take about 15 minutes to walk to the beach and the Stone Pony nightclub from the station.

Bradley Beach shortly follows, with two low side platforms at grade level, and a station house on the south side.

A disused station, Avon-by-the-Sea, comes and goes just before the train crosses the Shark River and pulls into Belmar station. Belmar is one of the most popular cities along the Jersey Shore and has a rather crowded train station, which is located well away from the beach, which is about seven city blocks to the east and requires a healthy walk. Belmar station has two low side platforms featuring brick pavers and a quaint wood with brick station house on the south side. Many people take the train from New York City to Belmar in the summer for a weekend beach vacation.

Spring Lake, on Warren Avenue in Spring Lake Heights, is next, also with two low side platforms. A closed station house is on the south side. The station house is a two-story brick building with three gables and a train weather vane on top of a center cupola. This is a very nice station!

We cross Wreck Pond and the old Sea Girt station and arrive at Manasquan, which looks more like a bus stop than a train station. There's no platform on the New York bound side and what you'd hardly call a platform on the Bay Head bound side- it's more of a patio overflowing with gravel than a platform. The New York Bound side just has gravel on the side of the tracks and a sign reading, "Manasquan station." There is a bus shelter on the west platform.

We pass the old Brielle station and then cross the Manasquan River, entering Ocean County. Our next stop is Point Pleasant Beach, which serves the famous boardwalk town mistakenly referred to by many as just Point Pleasant. In an interesting use of resources, the east ends of the high platforms were built on top of the old low platform. The west side of the high platforms ramp down to the low platforms to the parking area.

Next is Bay Head, a minute's ride from Point Pleasant Beach and about 45 minutes' journey from Long Branch. The North Jersey Coast Line yards are in Bay Head, and the station doesn't really need to be there. There is very, very short low platform on the west track, with a medium sized wooden bus shelter. It is very well maintained since it is adopted by a local business. The Bay Head station has very low ridership, because many people who live this far from New York City don't commute two-plus hours to work each way every day.

Photo Gallery

Five Random Images

Image 20552

(50k, 800x532)
Photo by: Chris Leverett
Location: Red Bank

Image 36759

(234k, 1024x680)
Photo by: Steve Zabel
Collection of: Joe Testagrose
Location: South Amboy

Image 47158

(277k, 1024x653)
Photo by: Chris Leverett
Location: Hazlet

Image 123311

(352k, 1024x668)
Photo by: Joe Testagrose
Location: South Amboy

Image 123324

(154k, 1024x649)
Photo by: Ed McKernan
Collection of: Joe Testagrose
Location: South Amboy

More Images: 1-50 51-100 101-150 151-200 201-208

Photos By Location

Photo locations: Avenel, Woodbridge, Perth Amboy, Raritan Drawbridge, SA Tower Area, South Amboy, Morgan Drawbridge, Aberdeen-Matawan, Hazlet, Middletown, Navesink River, Red Bank, Little Silver, Monmouth Park, Long Branch, Elberon, Allenhurst, North Asbury Park, Asbury Park, Bradley Beach, Belmar, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, Manasquan, Point Pleasant, Bay Head

Page Credits

By Peggy Darlington and Matt Richman.

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