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NJ TRANSIT PREVIEWS NEW SERVICE ON PASCACK VALLEY LINE

Enhanced service begins Sunday, October 28

October 21, 2007
NJT-07-108

RIVER EDGE, NJ — NJ TRANSIT Board Member Susan Hayes and NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Richard Sarles joined Metro-North Railroad and elected officials today for a whistle-stop tour aboard a Pascack Valley Line (PVL) train to announce expanded service featuring 121 additional trains per week – including full weekend service for the first time in more than 60 years.

"My colleagues in Congress and I fight for federal funding for such projects because we understand how important an efficient transportation system is to the residents of New Jersey," said Senator Robert Menendez.

"Bergen County residents rely on the ability to travel extensively for employment, educational and recreational opportunities throughout the metropolitan area, so this expanded rail service will be a great benefit," said Congressman Steven Rothman.

"I’m always pleased to work to improve public transit availability for the people of North Jersey. It reduces traffic congestion on our roads, maintains a cleaner environment and helps New Jerseyans accomplish their day-to-day business with less stress," said Congressman Scott Garrett.

"As a Bergen County resident, I know firsthand the difficulties residents face on our crowded roadways," Hayes said. "The new trains mean Bergen County residents will have new travel options during the middle of the day, on weekends and late at night, creating a better match between service and demand."

"This new service will fill a gap that has existed for decades prior to the formation of NJ TRANSIT,’’ Sarles said. "As a result of the rising popularity of automobiles, service on this line was severely reduced back in 1940, but what the automobile once took away, it now is giving back. The congestion caused by the sheer number of cars on Bergen County roads and highways has prompted residents to request additional train service, which we will launch next week."

As part of NJ TRANSIT’s efforts to promote the enhanced service, Sarles announced a "Bring Friends and Family" special offer to promote the new weekend service to Bergen County residents. During the first two weekends of December (Dec. 1 and 2 and Dec. 8 and 9), monthly passholders can bring a friend for free and single-ticket purchasers will get a second ticket free.

Four recently completed passing tracks will allow trains to travel in both directions on the single-track line starting October 28. The capacity for bi-directional service will yield even greater benefits with future improvements linking the line to the new trans-Hudson commuter rail tunnel, enabling PVL trains to directly access New York Penn Station. Construction of the tunnel is expected to begin in 2009.

"River Edge hosts a NJ TRANSIT station on the Pascack Valley Line, so we fully understand how important public transportation is to our lives and how it helps keep us connected to the people and places we care about," River Edge Mayor Margaret Falahee Watkins said.

"The additional service will give Pascack Valley Line customers the comfort of knowing that a train will be there for them day or night, seven days a week,’’ said Wood-Ridge Mayor and State senator Paul A. Sarlo. "It’s a level of service that will make an impact on travel decisions."

"We are pleased to have contributed to making these long-awaited service improvements a reality for our customers," said Metro-North President Peter Cannito. "With the level of service on the line essentially doubled, we can offer increased flexibility to our Rockland County commuters traveling to and from work, while opening up new opportunities for leisure travel for both new and existing customers."

In December 2004, the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors approved construction of the Pascack Valley Line passing sidings to provide enhanced rail service. Construction on the project began in spring 2005.

Currently, all trains on the Pascack Valley Line—which serves approximately 7,700 trips on a typical weekday between Hoboken Terminal and Spring Valley, NY— operate on a single track, limiting service to one direction – inbound to Hoboken in the morning and outbound to Spring Valley in the afternoon and evening. Metro-North provides operating support for service to the three stations in New York: Pearl River, Nanuet and Spring Valley.

New Weekend Service

With the start of the new service on Sunday, October 28, customers will have 23 trains to choose from on Saturdays and 23 on Sundays. Regular Sunday service has not been offered on the line since 1940.

The first inbound weekend train will depart Spring Valley, N.Y. at 6:07 a.m., with the last inbound departure at 8:11 p.m. The first outbound train will depart Hoboken Terminal at 8:15 a.m., with the last departure from Hoboken at 12:43 a.m.

New Weekday Service

With 15 more trains each weekday for a total of 38 trains, customers will have new bi-directional off-peak travel options and new later service in both directions.

The first inbound trip will depart Spring Valley at 5:05 a.m., as it does under the current schedule, but the last Spring Valley departure of the day will be at 9:10 p.m. Currently, the final inbound train departs Spring Valley at 8:06 a.m. The first outbound trip will depart Hoboken at 8:55 a.m., about five hours earlier than the current first departure. The last outbound train will depart Hoboken at 12:43 a.m., nearly two hours later than the current 10:55 p.m. departure.

With this additional service comes the need for heightened awareness around the tracks. There will be trains operating during times in which people are not accustomed to seeing them. Rail safety requires everyone’s attention, and adults and children should keep in mind these important safety reminders:

  • When approaching a crossing, pedestrians and motorists are advised to always expect a train—from any direction, at any time.
  • Always look both ways before crossing tracks, and only cross at designated crossings.
  • Never go under or around crossing gates that are in the lowered position.
  • Never trespass on the tracks—it is not legal and it is not safe.
  • Motorists are reminded to always make sure there is ample room for their vehicle to completely clear the tracks when crossing railroad tracks—be mindful of traffic ahead that could prevent you from clearing the path of the train.

NJ TRANSIT is reaching out to nearly 100 schools located near the Pascack Valley Line as part of an expansive safety outreach effort in advance of the additional, bi-directional service. Several age-appropriate rail safety education programs have already been presented in schools and others are scheduled for the coming weeks.

About NJ TRANSIT

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing nearly 865,000 weekday trips on 240 bus routes, three light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 60 light rail stations and more than 18,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.