Sunday, October 28, 2012

Light Rail Transit in New Jersey Today


New Jersey Transit (NJT) operates three light rail systems in New Jersey.

Two are powered by electricity.  The one in Newark has two lines operating out of the basement of Newark Pennsylvania Station.  The other, the Hudson-Bergen Line, starts as two lines in Bayonne and western Jersey City, meet at the Liberty State Park Station to run together north along the Hudson River where one breaks off to terminate at Hoboken Terminal and the other continues north through Hoboken and turns west using the Weehawken Tunnel (built in 1881-1883 for steam railroads) to end west of the Palisades.   During the week cars also run from here to Hoboken Terminal.  The line is totally within Hudson County but an extension up into Bergen County is planned.

The third system runs on diesel fuel following the Delaware River between Camden and Trenton and aptly called the River Line.

All photographs were taken in October except as noted.



When I first rode the NJT Newark Light Rail in 1977 it was the one remaining Newark Streetcar Line, called the Newark City Subway, and the streetcars were painted in Bicentennial colors.

They were called PCC cars.  If you are interested in more in formation on this type of streetcar here is a Wikipedia entry.  By 1990 the cars were painted in then standard NJT colors.  This picture is at Newark Pennsylvania Station.

You can see why I called it the basement.  Not only did it perform the station function, the cars were stored there.

Today it is much different in the basement.  It has been renovated into a modern terminal.   A second line has been added.  A storage yard and car maintenance shop has been built elsewhere.  And the cars are modern, articulated Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs).  Here's one in the basement with its destination sign indicating it is headed for the new line.  I rode it out and back.

And here's the car at the end of the new line ready to return.

Here is a car approaching the last station on the other line.  To the left you can see part of the storage and maintenance facility.

The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line serves PATH at two points, Exchange Place and Hoboken Terminal.  This picture at Hoboken Terminal shows an LRV in the light rail station plus two commuter rail diesel engines, the grand old terminal itself with its clock tower, and a surprise I just realized -- the Empire State Building.  The second picture is of the very interesting etched glass bricks that make up one of the wind breaks on the light rail platform.

The first segment of the line opened in April 2000.  Here is a shot of a train arriving at the Marin Boulevard Stop Just south of Jersey City's downtown.

I was taken with the stained glass blocks in the wind brakes.   Here is one of the Bayonne/Staten Island Bridge.

And railroad logos at the Liberty State Park Stop.

But the most surprising were the ones done by grade school students.  Some day Grandmas or Grandpas will bring their grand children to see their name.

I didn't get a chance to ride the River Line this time, but will next time.  All the pictures are from a few hours in the afternoon and evening of one day.  The first thing I noticed is the cars are bigger than the straight electric light rail car.  I say "straight" because the 740 hp diesel engine in the River Line cars turns a generator to power the motors at the wheels.  The ride from one end of the line to the other is over an hour.  The line opened March 2004.

The first picture shows a 2-car train, the first one wrapped for Rutgers University, approaching the 36th Street Stop in Camden.

The diesel is in the middle section.  If it's being worked on here is what you get -- the end units, here parked nose to nose.

Here's a train in downtown Camden at the Rutgers Stop with the Philadelphia skyline on the other side of the Delaware.

One more picture to give you a feel for the size of the beasts.

Now you have something to do the next time you are in New Jersey -- ride light rail!


  1. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.
    Heirloom seeds

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