Business & Finance

PLAINFIELD: What You Need to Know if You Ride NJ TRANSIT

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NJ TRANSIT commuters at New York Penn Station Credits: Jennifer Popper
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Before you walk down the stairs from 7th Avenue into Penn Station, look for the eagles. There are two of the original 22 remaining outside Penn Station near the Madison Square Garden marquee. Credits: Jennifer Popper
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Track 5 at Newark Penn Station, waiting for a Raritan Valley line train Credits: Jennifer Popper
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PLAINFIELD, NJ - If you ride the train from Plainfield or Netherwood into New York, Amtrak is instituting changes that are going to impact your NJ TRANSIT commute.  Officials have announced plans to fast-track infrastructure work that will likely cause commuters additional delays. 

In an April 27th release, Amtrak outlined initiatives to improve New York Penn Station that will require maintenance work, with ripple effects for connecting stations:

  • A track and switch renewal program; full replacement of infrastructure is required, and rather than spread the work out over an extended period of several years, plans now call for a May 2017 start date, and will include disruptions to weekday commutes.  Work will require track closures and schedule changes.
  • A concourse coordination review in New York Penn Station, with former MTA CEO and Chairman Tom Prendergast tasked with reviewing current operations and relationships between Amtrak, Long Island Rail Road and NJ Transit, and developing recommendations on how the three entities can work together to improve the passenger experience.
  • Development of a joint station concourse operations center to improve response to disruptions and incidents.
  • The assembly of a joint task force with partner railroads, first responders, law enforcement, and more, to address safety and security.

To date, Amtrak has not said how many tracks will be taken out of service.  Officials will be meeting with NJ TRANSIT and LIRR representatives on Monday.

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Also, on Sunday, May 7th, a new rail schedule will go into effect.  For those traveling on the Raritan Valley Line, note:  NJCL Train 3269, the 5:34 PM departure from PSNY to Long Branch will no longer stop at Secaucus to improve Raritan Valley Line connections in Newark.  In other words, you're more likely to make the 6:05 pm connection in Newark Penn Station on your commute home.

And if you plan to ride the rails this weekend, anticipate estimated delays of 30 minutes due to track maintenance, inspections, and speed restrictions.  Raritan Valley Line customers may experience delays due to maintenance work between Cranford and Roselle Park stations. During this time, buses will replace trains between Cranford and Union stations. The work is scheduled to be completed at 7:30 pm Sunday, April 30th.  This weekend only, NJ TRANSIT rail tickets will be cross-honored on NJ TRANSIT Bus, Light Rail, Private Carriers and with PATH at Newark Penn Station, New York-33rd Street and Hoboken.

Be sure to allow for extra travel time.

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