NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Long-awaited plans to beef up a New Jersey Transit storage and maintenance yard in New Brunswick are progressing.
The City Council approved a resolution at its June 7 meeting authorizing an agreement with the agency, which runs trains along the Northeast Corridor, the nation’s busiest passenger line, with two stops in New Brunswick, according to the document.
The deal allows NJ Transit access to the city’s public works yard as it prepares to develop a $386 million project adjacent to the property at 400 Jersey Ave., according to documents.
“This allows them to go back and forth for purposes of their initial cleanup and site work,” the city attorney, T.K. Shamy, said during the meeting.
The resolution didn’t mention any dollar figure attached to the agreement. It also made no note of a possible timeline.
NJ Transit and its workers will use an existing city-owned roadway that cuts through the municipal public works yard to access the project site, Shamy said.
If NJ Transit’s plans go through, its revamped maintenance yard—known as County Yard—would be able to house 144 train cars, or 12 full-length trains, according to a December 2015 report from the agency.
County Yard has for years been an Amtrak-owned facility, which consisted of abandoned railroad tracks, paved lots, a tower and three active tracks capable of storing only four trains, according to project documents.
In 2012, Superstorm Sandy damaged more than 300 train cars. That nudged NJ Transit officials to search for more secure storage spaces. They chose the New Brunswick property for its buffer against flooding and close proximity to the Northeast Corridor Line, according to documents.
County Yard sits next to the railroad’s Jersey Avenue station. During Sandy, some trains were housed in Pennsylvania, which made it difficult to bring those far-off cars back into service, according to reports.
New Brunswick’s municipal attorney said the city and NJ Transit will likely one day strike an additional deal regarding access to the coming maintenance yard.
“In the future, there will probably be another agreement with respect to a permanent easement,” Shamy said, “because, eventually, when this matter is constructed, they will need access to that site.”
NJ Transit requires a path now so that it may clear, grade and prepare the site for development, according to the resolution.
The general area was suspected of having once housed an ash dump, city officials have said.