Skip to main content






June 10, 2016


NEWARK, NJ — Twenty years ago today, NJ TRANSIT launched the weekday MidTOWN DIRECT service on the Morris & Essex Lines.  The direct connection to New York Penn Station by rail proved to be a pivotal point in the history of the agency and set the upward trend in rail ridership experienced over the past two decades.


Not only did direct service to New York Penn Station shave 20 minutes off of the commute for customers who no longer had to transfer to PATH or ferries in Hoboken, it was the invitation for tens of thousands of future customers to get on board.


“MidTOWN DIRECT service has become part of the core fabric of NJ TRANSIT’s rail operations,” said interim Executive Director Dennis J. Martin.  “It’s hard to imagine that prior to just 20 years ago, this vital connection did not exist.  It has served as a driver of the region’s economy, but more importantly, the quality of life improvements for our customers are priceless. The shortened commutes are measured not in dollars and cents, but rather in dinners together with families, ball games attended and school concerts making life long memories.”


In the year leading up to the debut of MidTOWN Direct, the M&E Lines carried approximately 28-thousand passenger trips on the average weekday.  In FY15, that number was nearly 59-thousand, more than doubling the ridership over the 20 year span.


NJ TRANSIT broke ground for the new connection in 1993.  Infrastructure improvements included more than 7,000 feet of new track, installation of high-speed switches, and construction of two ramps to support the connection tracks.


Before MidTOWN DIRECT, Morris & Essex Lines customers traveling to Midtown had no option but to transfer to PATH trains or trans-Hudson ferries at Hoboken Terminal.  MidTOWN DIRECT service provides either a one-seat ride into Manhattan or a convenient transfer at Summit Station or Newark Broad Street Station to continue to Manhattan for residents of Essex, Union, Morris, Somerset and Warren counties. 



NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 938,500 weekday trips on 257 bus routes, three light rail lines, 12 commuter rail lines and through Access Link paratransit service. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 166 rail stations, 62 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.