Direct service to resume on NJ Transit's Raritan Valley rail line

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Trains will finally be restored on a New Jersey Transit route that had been curtailed last year as the agency scrambled to finish installing a federally mandated braking system.

Transit officials and Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday that off-peak direct service on the Raritan Valley Line to New York will resume in three weeks. The trains serve towns in Essex, Union, Somerset and Hunterdon counties.

“One-seat, off-peak rides into New York Penn Station…will resume on Monday, Nov. 4,” Murphy said to cheers.

The service was halted last fall to accommodate the systemwide installation of the braking system, called positive train control.

The work caused delays and cancellations on other rail lines, and prompted NJ Transit to suspend service to Atlantic City. Atlantic City trains resumed service in May.

Commuters who used the Raritan Valley Line in western parts of the state could sometimes spend several hours making their way into Manhattan. The ride would include a half-hour change at Newark Penn Station.

Some New Jersey mayors say that the changes are a step in the right direction.

“For every minute saved going in to and out of Manhattan, property values rise by about $3,000 and so this is something that makes a significant difference,” says Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp.

But Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach says that more could still be done to improve the commute, including one-seat rides during rush hour commutes. But the governor says that this won’t happen for a while, possibly not until the proposed Gateway Tunnel becomes a reality.

The one-seat rides will cover all five midday daily round trips and three of the four evening scheduled round trips trains. The last nightly train to New York will also be rescheduled to cut the wait time at Newark Penn from 24 minutes to eight minutes.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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