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Still in its infancy, NJ Transit's Hudson-Bergen line plans growth spurt


New Jersey Transit’s board of directors Oct. 18 amended an existing contract with 21st Century Rail Corp., adding $485 million to build the Second Minimum Operable Segment of Hudson-Bergen light-rail line.

The Segment includes a 5.1-mile northern extension, which would run between Hoboken Terminal and Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen, and a one-mile segment, which would run south between 34th Street and 22nd Street in Bayonne. Upon completion, which is scheduled for 2005, Hudson-Bergen light-rail system would span 15.4 miles.

"Strongly supported by Gov. Christie Whitman in her Transportation Vision for the 21st Century, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail is fast becoming one of the major options for commuter gridlock in the region," said NJ Transit Board Chairman James Weinstein in a prepared statement.

With the line extensions, the project includes addition of six station stops, a new park-and-ride facility and two intermodal transfer points on the northern portion; one station stop and a park-and-ride would be added on the southern leg. NJ Transit also plans to purchase 30 additional light rail vehicles to accommodate the expansion.

In addition to amending the contract, the board also authorized NJ Transit to execute by the end of the year a federal Full Funding Grant Agreement, which has been approved by Congress and awaits Presidential signature.

The board also appropriated $45 million for grade separation where the northern branch railroad intersects with Paterson Plank Road in Secaucus. Once complete, freight traffic would be diverted from the River Line to the Northern Branch in 2002, providing Hudson-Bergen light rail exclusive access to River Line. The project also would separate freight train traffic from vehicular traffic at Patterson Plank Road.

The first leg of Hudson-Bergen Light Rail opened April 15, 2000; the next phase is scheduled to open Nov. 18, extending service from Exchange Place to Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City.

NJ Transit and 21st Century Rail Corp., a consortium led by The Washington Group, also plan to begin double-track service to Newport Centre Mall by spring 2001 and full service to Hoboken Terminal by spring 2002.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/19/2000