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Light Rail System Enhances Travel Options

NEWARK, NJ, November 12, 2003 – Mark your calendars for February 15th 2004, the date NJ TRANSIT will launch daily service on the much-anticipated Southern New Jersey Light Rail Transportation System.

During the Corporation’s monthly Board of Directors meeting today, NJ TRANSIT Executive Director George D. Warrington laid out the schedule for remaining testing, service simulation, and revenue service start up. Mr. Warrington also announced the system’s new name – River Line – a name that is reflective of the towns along the Delaware River the light rail system will serve.

“Area commuters gain a safe and convenient transportation service and the region gains an economic driver for future development,” Warrington said. “The River Line will give travelers a real choice for commuting to work or recreational activities.”

The contractor for the line, The Rail Group, has completed 90 percent of the testing required on the equipment and systems interface required for implementing new service. Over the next several weeks, multiple vehicles will be tested simultaneously and vehicle speeds will gradually increase to match the service schedule. Final testing of the communication system and control center will also be performed.

Beginning January 4th, The Rail Group will simulate passenger service, employing for the first time, the train operating schedule, first using 30-minute headways and ultimately graduating to 15-minute headways.

“This is a reasonable and prudent schedule that enables the contract operator to get substantial experience with new equipment and systems under their belts so that the service is safe and reliable out of the gate, Mr. Warrington said.

Meanwhile, NJ TRANSIT is finalizing bus connections to the system with a special focus on connections to and from the Statehouse and the Trenton Station Complex. The Corporation will implement a new identity for this connecting service that will be called the Capital Connection. As part of the program, special identification logos for bus stops and shelters, electronic signs on buses and comprehensive maps and signage in both the Trenton Rail and light rail stations will be rolled out.

In addition, transit will launch an aggressive marketing campaign working with local communities, colleges and businesses such as Cooper University Hospital, Campbell Soup, Rutgers University and Camden County College. In addition to the destination promotions with the Camden Waterfront Partners, the Trenton Titans and the Old Barracks Museum, the Corporation will participate in community fairs and seasonal activities.

Serving multiple residential, employment, commercial and recreational destinations, the River Line will operate approximately 34.5 miles between Trenton and Camden. Among the destinations served by the system are the Tweeter Center and New Jersey State Aquarium in Camden and the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton. The line serves 20 station stops and travels through 19 municipalities and three counties.

Service hours will be between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and trains will run every 15 minutes during the peak hours and 30 minutes at other times. The one-way flat fare is $1.10 and more than 3,000 parking spaces will be available to commuters using the River Line.

The Southern New Jersey Rail Group, which includes Bechtel Group and Bombardier, has been contracted to design, build, operate and maintain the entire system. A 50,000-square-foot facility in Camden will serve as the heart of the operation. The building includes a control, communications and dispatch center as well as facilities for maintenance, training, storage and crews. In Trenton, there also will be a layover facility to store vehicles.

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.

For further information, riders in North Jersey can call NJ TRANSIT between 6 a.m. and midnight at 1-800-772-2222 or at 973-762-5100 from out of state. In South Jersey, riders may call NJ TRANSIT between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. at 1-800-582-5946 or at 215-569-3752 from Pennsylvania. For persons with hearing impairments, the number is 1-800-772-2287. Riders can also visit the NJ TRANSIT website at


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