Lackawanna Coalition Issues Report on NJ Transit’s Modified Service Plan



Box 283

Millburn, N.J. 07041

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We at the Lackawanna Coalition have leamed, and you probably have, too, that New Jersey Transit plans to cancel most Morris & Essex Line trains that currently go to or form Penn Station, New York on weekdays. They will be sent to Hoboken instead, and that means your constituents will be saddled with the inconvenience of taking PATH trains, fe1ries or buses to get to Manhattan.

I was at the legislative hearing in Newark last Wednesday, when several mayors from our communities blasted NJ Transit management for requiring M&E riders to suffer this inconvenience, while riders on other lines will continue to enjoy their usual service into Penn Station. They also criticized the same managers for not showing them appropriate respect when they arrived at NJT headquarters to find a scheduled meeting apparently canceled  without notice.

We agree completely, and we want to help you to make the coming summer more tolerable for your constituents who take the train.  We are familiar with NJ Transit's operations and  their policies. We know what can be done to lessen the pain for your riders this summer, and we are prepared to work with you toward  pushing NJ Transit to implement those measures.


NJ Transit does not need to send every weekday train to Hoboken. They can still send some to Penn Station. More than that, NJ Transit can take measures to ensure that the summer will be as painless as possible for your residents.

First, run more trains into Penn Station.

We learned some important facts at the legislative hearing. NJ Transit is willing to run the earliest trains of the day into Penn Station. Those are the three that arrive before 7:00 in the moming. We also learned that Penn Station can still accommodate 15 trains per hour. That is only a few less than the number that now run during peak-commuting hours. There is enough room at Penn Station to run M&E trains there after 9:00, so the morning forced-commute through Hoboken only needs to last from 7:00 until 9:00. There is even room for a few more trains before 7:00 and after 9:00, so more riders can get to Penn Station if the line is scheduled con-ectly. The same holds true in the aftemoon peak. There is no need to send every train out from Hoboken except between 4:30 and 6:30. Mid-day and evening trains can continue operating into Penn Station, as they have for the past 21 years.

Second, create a better schedule to shorten the time required for the track work.

Amtrak owns Penn Station and must perform track work to bring the station tracks back to a state of good repair. Nobody wants to see more of the constant delays that have plagued our line since the middle of March.  But the work is scheduled to take from July 10t11 through September  pt_ This is too long.  Help us to call for Amtrak to push the track-work program, so it will be completed in August.

Third, make sure all riders get a discounted fare.

NJ Transit has promised discounts on monthly passes ofup to 63% off the regular Morris & Essex Line fares for July and August. They have said nothing about discounted fares for single-trip riders, who also suffer the same inconvenience.  All riders wilrbe inconvenienced and deserve a break.

We can help you fight these battles. We know NJ Transit, its managers and its operations well. We have the specialized knowledge of the railroad that can help you, as elected officials, to make the most of the prestige your office gives you. Together, we can make a difference for your constituents who take the train, especially the commuters in your community.  We can serve as your "expert advisers" when you meet with NJ Transit managers, and at other times, too.  We urge your community to join the Lackawanna Coalition if it have not already.  If your town is  already a member, thank you for your confidence and partnership. If not, dues are only $150 per year for municipalities and $250 for counties.  We will help every community, of course,  but we welcome your  long-term membership as we work together for continued improvements and communication with NJ Transit.


In the fall of 2015, when NJ Transit eliminated the last trains on several routes, we fought the elimination of the last outbound trains from New York to Dover and Hoboken to Gladstone, as well as the last inbound train from Dover.  We campaigned hard, among you town leaders and in the media, and we got back some of the time that NJ Transit had taken away. The last trains to Dover and Gladstone now run later than they bad under NJT's service elimination, and the 11:30 train from Dover to Hoboken was restored.

Nobody else fought against those cuts, and nobody else won any concessions from NJ Transit. We are now campaigning among legislators for the repeal of the new statute that gives NJ Transit the authority to eliminate service in secret. This is part of the agency's secrecy campaign that has affected some of you personally.


New Jersey Transit is about to announce and implement the program that will inconvenience your constituents this summer. Please contact us at or call me personally at (973) 715-5626, so we can begin to help you.  You must act now, or it may be too late!



The Lackawanna Coalition is an independent non-profit organization that advocates for better service on the Morris & Essex (M&E) and Montclair-Boonton rail lines operated by New Jersey Transit, as well as on connecting transportation. The Coalition was founded in 1979 by commuters in Millburn who were deeply concerned about the quality of their rail service. The service has improved since then under the stewardship of New Jersey Transit, although there are always issues that affect our riders and require our attention. The Lackawanna Coalition is one of the nation’s oldest rail advocacy organizations and has met in Millburn continuously since it was founded over 30 years ago.

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