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Passaic Bergen Hudson Transit Project




The purpose of the Passaic-Bergen-Hudson Transit Project is to prepare a technical update and assessment for the restoration of passenger service along the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYS&W) between Hawthorne and Paterson in Passaic County and Hackensack in Bergen County. Additional analysis will address potential challenges and opportunities to extend service into Hudson County and connect to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) in North Bergen. The project builds on previous efforts and considers the current conditions, a range of modal options, station locations, and the potential of transit friendly land uses along the corridor.

The project's initial steps include data collection and the establishment of project goals and objectives, followed by the development of a long list of alternatives that will include a range of modes and alignments. The project team will develop a methodology to screen the long list to determine a short list. The short list will be developed in more detail including concept engineering, operations, cost, and ridership analysis.

This process will ultimately determine the selection of an alternative that could be implemented to restore passenger service along the corridor.

The Passaic-Bergen-Hudson Transit Project Current Conditions Study began in Summer 2018 and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021. The study is sponsored by NJ TRANSIT with input by Passaic, Bergen, and Hudson Counties.



The proposed Passaic-Bergen passenger line was constructed in the early 1870s by the New Jersey Midland Railway, as part of a regional freight connection from Paterson to points north and west. In 1881, the Midland Railway merged with the NYS&W, and continued to provide freight and passenger service in the region. After World War II, passenger service along the NYS&W began to decline as increased automobile ownership and new road and highway construction siphoned passengers away from the railroad. In 1966, passenger service was terminated as ridership declined along the route and the financial loss of providing passenger service could no longer be sustained by freight revenues. Today, the line continues to host a modest amount of freight traffic.

Recently, local, state and federal elected officials, including Rep. Bill Pascrell (9th District) have expressed renewed support for the restoration of Passaic-Bergen rail service.


Efforts to study the restoration of passenger rail service along the NYS&W were advanced in 1996 when NJ TRANSIT completed an environmental assessment. In 2002, NJ TRANSIT initiated an environmental impact statement (EIS) and preliminary engineering for restoration of passenger service between Hawthorne and Hackensack. Between 2007 and 2012, NJ TRANSIT completed the EIS and final design. Since 2012, changes in land uses, increased congestion, and the opportunity for economic growth have rekindled discussion about the provision of passenger rail service across Passaic and Bergen Counties.


The Passaic-Bergen-Hudson Transit Project is guided by five goals and supporting objectives to address the Purpose and Need for the restoration of passenger service along the NYS&W. The corresponding supporting objectives further define the goals and will support criteria that provide specific and measurable means to evaluate study alternatives.

GOAL 1: Improve mobility options


  • Provide frequent, high-quality transit service to existing and planned employment and other activity centers in Passaic, Bergen, and Hudson Counties
  • Provide improved transit accessibility to resident and working populations (particularly underserved and transit dependent populations)
  • Increase transit ridership
  • Reduce travel time and improve reliability
  • Increase transportation system capacity to accommodate future growth and assist in mitigating future increases in traffic congestion

GOAL 2: Improve transportation connectivity


  • Provide intermodal connectivity/interoperability with existing bus and rail services (e.g. NJ TRANSIT commuter rail, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, etc.)
  • Improve pedestrian and bicyclist connectivity and safety

GOAL 3: Support economic growth opportunities


  • Serve existing and proposed development while preserving existing community resources
  • Support ongoing and planned TOD projects
  • Support the goals of local and regional development plans for better connectivity between communities

GOAL 4: Develop a cost-effective project


  • Implement cost-effective transit improvements within a reasonable construction timeframe and with capital, operations, and maintenance costs that are consistent with realistically anticipated funding
  • Generate sufficient ridership to justify capital and operating costs
  • Maximize revenue potential
  • Utilize existing transportation infrastructure
  • Identify options that can be implemented in phases

GOAL 5: Enhance quality of life and minimize adverse environmental impacts


  • Minimize impacts to sensitive environmental areas
  • Minimize property acquisitions
  • Minimize air quality and noise vibration impacts
  • Minimize visual impacts
  • Maintain historical/cultural character of neighborhoods
  • Implement sustainable transit technologies



STUDY AREA MAP: The study area for the Passaic-Bergen-Hudson Transit Project includes seven municipalities in Passaic and Bergen Counties that are traversed by the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYS&W). In Passaic County, the municipalities include the Borough of Hawthorne and the City of Paterson. Bergen County jurisdictions include the Boroughs of Elmwood Park and Maywood, the Townships of Saddle Brook and Rochelle Park, and the City of Hackensack. A potential extension to connect with HBLR would add the Borough of Bogota and Village of Ridgefield Park in Bergen County, and the Township of North Bergen in Hudson County.




Community Engagement


  • The purpose of the Community Engagement Plan (CEP) is to outline how the project team will inform constituencies about the Passaic-Bergen-Hudson Transit Project while also seeking input from municipalities, key employers, institutions, residents, business owners, advocacy groups and organizations, transit users, and the public. This plan is a living document and will be updated as the project progresses.
  • This document will ensure that diverse communities, individuals, and stakeholders have ample opportunity to learn about and understand the project elements, to comment on the project as it progresses, and to feel their concerns and ideas have been heard. The CEP has been developed to support engagement in the project by emphasizing the following principles:
  • Outreach strategy that prioritizes planning with the community, not for the community
  • Public outreach that is inclusive, informative, and engaging
  • Strategically customized outreach efforts that meet community needs
  • Taking public outreach to the people through community events
  • Multi-lingual outreach materials specific to local demographics
  • ADA accessible, family friendly events that welcome all participants
  • Innovative tools and technology solutions to maximize participation, especially from under-represented populations

Community Engagement Plan

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person public outreach will be conducted virtually.