December 16, 2013 at 8:26 PM
SOMERSET, NJ – The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) announced at its quarterly meeting Monday in Somerset that NJ Transit will roll out a morning off-peak one-seat ride to New York’s Penn Station starting March 2 using newly purchased dual-powered locomotives. The trains will arrive in New York between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Representatives from RVRC met with NJ Transit last week to see how the newly purchased dual-mode locomotives will be deployed, and to emphasize the need for one seat service during peak times.
The new dual-powered locomotives make it possible for the first time for trains on the Raritan line to go all the way into Manhattan, giving commuters the possibility of a “one-seat” ride. Currently, all commuters on the line must exit their train at Newark and change platforms, a move that involves a mad dash up and down stairs and confusion over which platform has the next train into Manhattan.
The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, joined by a coalition of 30 mayors of towns along the line, seek to ultimately achieve a complete one-seat ride Manhattan service on the Raritan Valley Line, including a.m. and p.m. peak hour service, off-peak weekday and weekend.
“Transit-Oriented Development is a major focus in New Jersey, and many towns along the line are starting or planning major developments,” said Somerset County Freeholder and Rail Coalition Chairman Peter S. Palmer. “It is important for the Raritan Valley Line to have full one-seat ride service to be able to service these developments and attract even more development. The weekday off-peak service is an important first step – but it is only a 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 RVRC 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.
“We will be monitoring progress at our meeting in February, and we will continue to work with NJ Transit to bring about the peak hour ‘one-seat’ ride for the entire Raritan Valley Rail Line,” said Palmer.