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Station named in honor of U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg

SECAUCUS, NJ -- Arriving on a specially wrapped train, dozens of dignitaries and customers joined New Jersey Governor James E. McGreevey today to launch weekend rail service at the new station, a revolutionary transportation hub linking 10 of 11 NJ TRANSIT rail lines that will transform rail travel in New Jersey and the surrounding region.

The ceremony included a commemorative tribute to U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ). The building has been dedicated as the Frank R. Lautenberg Rail Station  enacted by Public Law 106-346  for his vital leadership role in securing the federal funds necessary to construct the station. The former Secaucus Transfer Station will now be known as the Frank R. Lautenberg Station at Secaucus Junction.

By linking 10 regional rail lines, this station promises to be the economic engine that will drive smart growth development in the Meadowlands and the rest of the region, said Governor McGreevey. It will also greatly improve the quality of life for many New Jerseyans as it provides unprecedented access to new jobs, educational opportunities, medical facilities and entertainment and recreational destinations, and more time to spend at home with their families.

"Commuter rail service is a priority for the people of New Jersey, many of which ride the rails everyday to and from work," said Lautenberg "This station, once fully operational, will shorten travel times to and from midtown Manhattan by 15 to 20 minutes, saving a total of 13,500 days in annual travel time. For each individual commuter, this adds up to an extra week of time over the course of a year - time I hope commuters will be able to spend with their families."

"The Frank Lautenberg Station will provide New Jerseyans with a more convenient, accessible, and efficient way to get in and around all of New Jersey, New York City, and across the country all from this local station," said Congressman Steve Rothman, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation who represents Secaucus. "This transfer station will improve the quality of life for the people of New Jersey and help our economy for years and generations to come."

"Today's opening of the Secaucus Transfer Station marks a vital step in the overall regional recovery and a significant improvement of our commuter system across New Jersey and into New York City after the tragic events of September 11," said Congressman Robert Menendez. "I am proud to have worked with my colleagues in the State and in Congress to ensure the completion of this long-awaited crossroads of transportation that will catapult New Jersey into the forefront of commuter services."

This new station allows NJ TRANSIT customers to reach many new destinations in New Jersey and the surrounding region, and shaves 10-15 minutes off of the travel time of North Jersey rail passengers traveling to midtown Manhattan, said State Transportation Commissioner and NJ TRANSIT Board Chairman Jack Lettiere. This station hub sets the stage for the next generation of regional rail capacity with the purchase of bi-level rail cars and construction of a new trans-Hudson rail tunnel.

"Metro-North has always believed that opening the Secaucus transfer station will create terrific new opportunities for regional travel and increased ridership. That is why New York State contributed $53 million of its capital investment money directly to the construction of this facility," said MTA Metro-North Railroad President Peter A. Cannito.

Governor McGreevey hailed the weekend arrival of the $450 million station for its delivery of improved regional rail service, connectivity to popular entertainment and recreational destinations and ability to serve as a key economic engine for New Jersey. Weekday service to Secaucus will arrive after the opening of the Lower Manhattan PATH Station later this year, which is expected to open up more seats on NJ TRANSIT trains operating between Newark and New York.

Also joining the Governor and the NJ TRANSIT Board of Directors at todays ceremony were 10 NJ TRANSIT customers  one for each of the rail lines that have access to the facility. The 312,000-square-foot station is built above the Main Line and Northeast Corridor in Secaucus, connecting trains on the Main, Bergen County, Pascack Valley, Port Jervis, Montclair-Boonton, Morristown, Gladstone, Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast and Raritan Valley lines.

The specially wrapped train will operate on NJ TRANSIT rail lines over the next several months to promote the stations new connecting destinations including Newark Liberty International Airport, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Radio City Music Hall and the Jersey Shore. These destinations were highlighted during opening ceremonies, with images of each destination flashing on large screens and promotional materials distributed to guests.

Among the venues and businesses partnering with NJ TRANSIT to promote weekend rail service are Continental Airlines, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, World Yacht Dinner Cruises, Circle Line Dinner Cruises, the Palm Restaurant, Planet Hollywood, Frankie and Johnnys and Broadway and Off-Broadway shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Café a Go Go and Tony and Tinas Wedding.

"Of all the improvements at Newark Liberty International, rail access ranks with the best because it is such an efficient way for our customers to get to their flights. We're especially excited that the Secaucus station now lets travelers from North Jersey easily reach the airport via rail. NJ TRANSIT is helping you to make your trip with the same level of convenience that we provide with our eService check-in and nonstop flights from Liberty to 120 cities," said Gordon Bethune, Chairman and CEO of Continental Airlines.

Over the past year, NJ TRANSIT has added 71 new Saturday trains and 79 new Sunday trains to prepare for weekend service on the Main, Bergen County, Port Jervis, Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast lines. Also during the last year, NJ TRANSIT hired more than 100 new frontline employees (including conductors, assistant conductors and engineers), received delivery of 29 new high-horsepower electric locomotives, more than 120 new Comet V coach cars (with more on the way) and constructed new or expanded storage yards, passenger facilities, tracks, switches and signals to support the Secaucus Station operation.

Beginning September 6 and during the weekend-only period, passengers who have tickets or passes for Hoboken may use the new station to transfer at Secaucus for trains to New York at no additional cost. Within the first six months, NJ TRANSIT projects 2,700 customers will pass through Secaucus each weekend day, and over 7,500 customers each week day.

Other station highlights include 28 ticket vending machines, a customer service office, a station-wide public address system, new passenger information systems and displays, a modern heating and air conditioning system, four rest rooms, retail space and multiple artwork installations.

NJ TRANSIT is the nation's largest statewide public transportation system providing more than 752,600 daily trips on 240 bus routes, two light rail lines and 11 commuter rail lines. It is the third largest transit system in the country with 162 rail stations, 28 light rail stations and more than 17,000 bus stops linking major points in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.