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The Raritan Valley Line is a commuter rail service operated by New Jersey Transit, running out of Newark Penn Station, with most trains terminating at the Raritan station and some trains continuing further west and terminating at High Bridge during peak periods (rush hour). On weekends, alternating trains offer through service to Hoboken Terminal. Even-hour trains run from Hoboken and to Hoboken, while odd-hour trains begin and end in Newark.

On weekends, trains from Hoboken arrive in Newark Penn Station immediately after the Jersey Coast and Northeast Corridor Lines, all of which arrive on Track 4, while odd-hour trains to Raritan depart from Track 5. Plans are in the works to allow more Raritan Valley Line trains to leave passengers off on Track 1 when arriving in Newark Penn Station, allowing easier transfers to trains bound for Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan; currently, passengers must descend into the station, cross the width of the station, and then ascend to Track 1.

Route descriptionEdit

From Cranford west, the line follows the former Main Line of the former Central Railroad of New Jersey. The main line originally ran through Elizabeth and Bayonne to Jersey City, leading to a terminal in what is today Liberty State Park. This station, which served Reading, Jersey Central, and former B & O Washington-Jersey City service, had direct connections, either by chartered bus, or by ferry, into Manhattan, the latter serving the financial district. Under the 1967 Aldene Plan, however, the Aldene Connection was built to the former Lehigh Valley Railroad right-of-way, rerouting trains to proceed to Newark Penn Station via a second connection (Hunter Connection), to the Northeast Corridor.

On Sunday, April 30, 1967, enthusiasts James T. Ryan and Al Holtz in their individual ventures, captured and recorded the first train operating over the Aldene Plan. In a full fledged dress rehearsal for the next day's rush hour commutes, CNJ FM Trainmaster #2411 powered a 15 car push-pull consist with cab car 1321, WABCO equipped and rebuilt from a 1300 series arched-roof coach, leading Eastbound. The operation is nearly identical today to how it was in the very beginning. Passengers bound for New York must disembark at Newark and change either to a Northeast Corridor or North Jersey Coast Line train operated by New Jersey Transit to New York Penn Station or PATH trains to the World Trade Center. This is due to an unfortunate combination of factors. First, the CNJ never electrified the line when it was still in business (although there is evidence that the idea was played with on paper), and its subsequent owners including Conrail and New Jersey Transit have never undertaken such a project. The second is a 1900's New York City ordinance allowing only electric-powered trains to operate into Manhattan below 96th Street. The end result is that a trip between New York and the Raritan Valley Line necessarily requires the use of two trains.

Due to those factors, motive power has been provided through time by diesel-electric locomotives, including different model Fairbanks-Morse Trainmasters, and variants of EMD's including GP7, F40PH, and GP40 combined with homebuilt control cabs, Wikipedia:Bombardier Comet IB, II cab cars, and now modern Bombardier Comet III, IV, and Alstom Comet V cars.

Service to PhillipsburgEdit

Service beyond High Bridge to Phillipsburg was discontinued in 1984 due to low ridership. There are plans to eventually restore service to Phillipsburg. Between Bloomsbury and Phillipsburg Norfolk Southern tracks will have to be used since Conrail (the previous freight operator) reconfigured its tracks in the Easton-Phillipsburg area, abandoning the ex-Lehigh Valley main between Easton and Phillipsburg and the ex-CNJ main between east of Phillipsburg and Bloomsbury. This was done so that all trains would cross the Delaware on the ex-CNJ bridge, because the ex-LV bridge was found to be structurally unsound. Where the ex-CNJ was abandoned east of Phillipsburg, a section of Interstate 78 was built on its right-of-way, and only one bridge was built for the ex-LV main and the ex-CNJ tracks removed.

When service ran to Phillipsburg prior to 1984 there were separate passenger and freight lines, Conrail freights used the ex-LV, and Conrail/NJ DOT/NJ Transit commuter trains used the ex-CNJ. This is no longer possible today. There is only one track available between Easton and Bloomsbury for all rail traffic. If Phillipsburg commuter service returns it would tie up the one and only track at Phillipsburg that is used by many NS freights. The ex-LV main is no longer available at that point. A possible solution would be to build a passing siding at Phillipsburg Station so that commuter trains could idle at the station without tying up the main so that freights could pass through.

Service to West TrentonEdit

Another plan that has been proposed is to restore service on the former Reading Railroad's Jersey City branch track between Trenton and Bound Brook. Prior to 1983, Conrail commuter trains, using Budd Rail Diesel Cars, used what is now the SEPTA R3 West Trenton line between the former Reading Terminal and Newark (Jersey City prior to 1967 – this allowed the Reading to compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad with Philadelphia/New York service, especially with service to the Financial District). Restoration of this line, which is now owned by CSX Transportation, will allow an alternate Philadelphia/New York connection route, with electrified SEPTA trains using the West Trenton line to Trenton, with passengers switching over to NJT service to Newark.

Proposed Station StopsEdit

Station stops Edit

Closed stations Edit

  • Finderne
  • Glen Gardner
  • Hampton
  • Ludlow
  • Bloomsbury
  • Phillipsburg

This box: view  talk  edit
New Jersey Transit Rail (website)
Hoboken Division Erie Lines: Bergen County LineMain LinePascack Valley LinePort Jervis Line
Morris & Essex Lines: Gladstone BranchMorristown Line
Montclair-Boonton Line
Newark Division North Jersey Coast LineNortheast Corridor LinePrinceton BranchRaritan Valley Line
South NJ and light rail Atlantic City LineHudson-Bergen Light RailNewark Light RailRiver LINE
Connections Aldene ConnectionHunter ConnectionKearny ConnectionMontclair ConnectionSecaucus JunctionWaterfront Connection
Other List of New Jersey Transit stationsRetired New Jersey Transit rail fleet
This box: view  talk  edit
New Jersey Transit Corporation
Bus Bus OperationsBus fleet
Rail Atlantic City Line
Main and Bergen County lines, including the Port Jervis LinePascack Valley Line
Montclair-Boonton LineMorris and Essex Lines (Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch)
North Jersey Coast LineNortheast Corridor Line and Princeton BranchRaritan Valley Line
StationsRetired fleet
Light Rail Hudson-Bergen Light RailNewark Light RailRiver LINE
Official websites New Jersey TransitHudson-Bergen Light RailRiver LINE

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