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NORTHEAST CORRIDOR TRACK WORK BEGINS JUNE 2
Customers encouraged to review new timetables
May 16, 2013
NEWARK, NJ — NJ TRANSIT today announced that new rail timetables will take effect Sunday, June 2, reflecting adjustments made to accommodate Amtrak’s long-term tie replacement project on the Northeast Corridor. The project will require Amtrak to take one of four tracks out of service on a portion of the line, affecting both weekday and weekend train schedules.
Next month, Amtrak, which owns and maintains the Northeast Corridor, will continue a railroad tie replacement project that began earlier this year, advancing the work to areas where station stops are located. Their crews will begin working on Track 4, the local outbound (to Trenton) track, which will be taken out of service for several months between New Brunswick and Metuchen.
“While we have worked very closely with Amtrak to minimize the impact to Northeast Corridor customers, the reduced track capacity is similar to taking a lane out of service on a busy superhighway,” said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director James Weinstein. “Some customers will experience changes in their departure times and longer trip times—however, the work Amtrak is performing now will benefit customers in the long term.”
In order to minimize congestion and reduce delays from the tie replacement project, NJ TRANSIT designed the new Northeast Corridor schedule to make the most of the remaining three tracks, keeping one track in each direction open for local service while using the remaining track for express service in the peak direction.
The new schedule will show slightly longer trip times for trains to/from Trenton, adjustments to departure times, and a reduction in the total number of train stops through the work zone during non-peak hours in an effort to mitigate congestion and minimize delays.
Among the impacts:
Customers traveling to or from the “middle zone” (New Brunswick, Edison and Metuchen stations) will be most affected by the project because only three tracks will be available. NJ TRANSIT has worked with Amtrak to minimize disruption for customers traveling in the peak direction (to Newark/New York in the morning and to Trenton in the afternoon). Peak‐direction customers will not see a significant reduction in the number of trains, but trip times will be extended. Customers traveling in the “reverse peak” direction (toward Trenton in the morning or toward Newark/New York in the afternoon) will have fewer trains due to limited track capacity.
With Track 4 out of service, trains will not be able to reach the platform at New Brunswick, Edison and Metuchen stations. At these stations only, Amtrak will install special platform bridges, enabling customers to board/alight trains on the adjacent “express” track at the same height as the regular platform. Customers boarding at these stations must not stand or wait on the platform bridges until directed by a uniformed crew member. The platform bridges will line up with the end doors of most cars, but center doors (and “quarter‐point” doors near the stairs on multilevel cars) will not be used. Customers detraining at New Brunswick, Edison and Metuchen are advised to use end doors only and to listen for announcements from train crews.
Customers traveling to/from stations in the outer and inner zones—that is, stations from Jersey Avenue west and Metropark east—will not see a significant reduction in service. Some departure times will be adjusted, so customers are advised to review timetables carefully.
Amtrak estimates that Track 4 will be out of service for several months, but a more exact projection will not be known until the work begins. When the work on Track 4 is complete, Amtrak will move to Track 1, the inbound local track, to replace ties in the same area between New Brunswick and Metuchen. A new timetable will be issued when Track 4 is returned to service and Track 1 is taken out of service. Overall, the tie replacement project will continue into the fall.
In addition, the reduced track capacity will limit NJ TRANSIT’s ability to work around operational problems (e.g. a disabled train or switch problem), and delays from these types of issues could be longer as a result.
New timetables will be available on www.njtransit.com starting on Friday, May 24, with printed copies available on trains and in stations shortly thereafter. NJ TRANSIT encourages customers to carefully review the new schedule to determine how these changes will affect their commute.
Detailed updates about the tie replacement project will be posted on njtransit.com, as well as on NJ TRANSIT’s Facebook and Twitter feeds. Customers are encouraged to sign up for My Transit alerts to receive up-to-the-minute service information about their specific trip to their PDA, cell phone or email. Current My Transit subscribers are reminded to update their alert preferences to reflect the new train numbers effective with the June 2 timetable change.
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NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 895,000 weekday trips on 261 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 164 rail stations, 61 light rail stations and more than 19,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.