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Testing on Overhead Signal Wires Begins This Week

NEWARK, NJ, December 5, 2001 -- In anticipation of the opening of the Montclair Connection in spring 2002, NJ TRANSIT will begin testing overhead wires that provide power to the connection’s new signal system this week.

The signal system will control train movements along the present Montclair Branch -- between Roseville Avenue in Newark and Bay Street in Montclair -- as well as through the 1,500-foot connection between Bay Street Station and Pine Street in Montclair and on the current Boonton Line from the vicinity of Pine Street to the vicinity of the Great Notch Station.

"The excitement is building as this testing begins," said NJ TRANSIT Executive Director Jeffrey A. Warsh. "Each phase of tests brings us closer to the day when rail customers from Glen Ridge, Bloomfield, Montclair, Little Falls and surrounding communities will have access to service that will take them directly into Manhattan -- a day that has been more than 70 years in the making."

As part of the Montclair Connection construction, the current Boonton Line is being electrified from the vicinity of Pine Street to the vicinity of the Great Notch Station. The electrification includes construction of poles to support overhead wires on nearly five miles of the current Boonton Line through Montclair and Little Falls. The current Montclair Branch has been electrified since September 1930, when electrical service was inaugurated by Thomas Edison.

The 2,400-volt signal wire -- attached to the top of the new overhead wire poles located alongside the tracks in Bloomfield, Glen Ridge, Little Falls and Montclair -- will be activated intermittently through the end of December, after which time it will be permanently activated. The 25,000-volt catenary wire -- which will provide electrical power to trains -- will be activated at a later date.

"Now that we are activating overhead electrical wires, we are asking Montclair and Little Falls residents -- and anyone else traveling through the area -- to be especially cautious near the railroad tracks," said Warsh. "Do not use the tracks as a shortcut, cross tracks only at designated locations and obey all traffic signals, grade crossing protection devices and signs. As NJ TRANSIT tries to be a good neighbor, we ask our neighbors to be conscious of our presence and respect the presence of the railroad for their own safety."

Area residents, pedestrians and motorists should follow these additional safety precautions:

  • 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 lines.
  • Exercise caution when approaching intersections crossed by any rail lines.

As part of this safety effort -- and in an attempt to keep residents living near the Montclair Connection, Montclair Branch and Boonton Line informed -- NJ TRANSIT has visited schools in Montclair to educate students about the dangers of playing or walking on or near the rail tracks.

When service over the connection begins next spring, service on the Boonton Line and Montclair Branch will increase. Hourly MidTOWN DIRECT service between Montclair and New York is scheduled to be provided on weekdays, while peak period service between Hackettstown and Hoboken and midday shuttle service between Montclair and Hackettstown will be provided Monday through Friday.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing bus, rail and light rail services for 380,600 daily commuters on 243 bus routes, two light rail lines and 12 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 163 rail stations, 26 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.