New Jersey Transit
Home > NJ TRANSIT News > News Releases


Smooth, Air-Conditioned Light Rail Vehicles Carry Customers in 21st Century Comfort

CONTACT: Michael Klufas (973-491-7078)

NEWARK, NJ, August 27, 2001-- NJ TRANSIT's Newark City Subway today began a new era with inaugural service on its new Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs). The vehicles -- part of a $188 million City Subway rehabilitation project -- replace the nearly half-century old Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC) cars that were retired in ceremonies Friday.

NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh was joined by elected officials and NJ TRANSIT staff during the morning rush hour to welcome customers to the "new" Newark City Subway. The first LRV left the new Branch Brook Park Station at 4:35 a.m.

"It's the same Newark City Subway, but a whole new feel," said Warsh. "These new, modern vehicles feature amenities that City Subway customers will certainly welcome, including a smoother ride and the latest in passenger comfort. I invite residents of New Jersey and the region to try the `new' Newark City Subway."

Some of the new LRV customer amenities include:

  • Low-floor vehicles boarded at platform level.
  • Quieter operation.
  • A modern heating and air conditioning system.
  • Improved lighting.
  • An automated and manual public address system both inside and outside the LRVs.
  • Four doors on each side for customers to board and alight LRVs.

The LRVs can accommodate 188 customers (68 seated and up to 120 standees), more than twice what PCC cars accommodated. They are also bi-directional -- with operator cabs at each end -- allowing for single-track operation of the Newark City Subway when necessary. In addition, bicycles are permitted aboard LRVs at all times except during peak hours on weekdays (6 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.).

NJ TRANSIT purchased 16 light rail vehicles for the Newark City Subway for a total cost of $55 million, or approximately $3.5 million per vehicle. The LRVs are almost identical to those operated on the Corporation’s Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system.

Customers at Orange Street Station began using a new center-island platform today. This platform -- which is accessible to customers with disabilities -- replaces two smaller side platforms. Branch Brook Park Station -- which remains under construction -- will be fully accessible later this year; it currently has one accessible platform. In the future, more Newark City Subway stations will become accessible, beginning with Newark Penn and Washington Street stations.

The Newark City Subway will continue to operate from 4:35 a.m. until about 12:30 a.m. each weekday. Substitute bus service will continue on weekends -- including Labor Day weekend -- while contractors connect the City Subway’s main branch to the one-mile extension into Belleville and Bloomfield. On weekdays, service will operate:

  • Every 12-20 minutes during early morning hours.
  • Every 3-6 minutes during morning and afternoon peak periods.
  • Every 7 minutes during midday hours.
  • Every 7-15 minutes during evening hours before 10 p.m.
  • Every 30 minutes between 10 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.

Late this fall, the Newark City Subway’s extension will open, offering two new stations -- Silver Lake Station in Belleville and Grove Street Station in Bloomfield. However, light rail vehicles will immediately use the extension's tracks each morning and evening to travel between Branch Brook Park Station and the new Vehicle Base Facility (VBF). At other times, contractors will continue work to connect the extension to the City Subway's main section. LRV testing will occur on the City Subway extension at all times, including weekends. As a result, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists are reminded to exercise caution when approaching intersections crossed by the Newark City Subway, including Belmont Avenue, Franklin Street, Heckel Street and Watchung Avenue in Belleville and Orange Street in Newark. They should also follow these safety rules:

  • Do not use the tracks as a shortcut, or walk along the tracks.
  • Cross City Subway tracks only at designated areas, such as street crossings.
  • Do not place foreign objects on the tracks or in the catenary systems.
  • Do not go near the catenary poles or wires.
  • Avoid substations, fences and high voltage catenary (overhead wire) lines.
  • Observe all traffic signals and grade crossing protection devices.
  • Obey all signs.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation’s largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 384,000 daily commuters on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.