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Rail News: Passenger Rail

NJ Transit puts more expansion plans into action


New Jersey Transit’s board July 11 signed a $4 million agreement with Union County and Washington Group International (WGI) authorizing WGI to proceed with plans to connect downtown Elizabeth, N.J., with Newark International Airport via light rail.

WGI now may proceed with design and engineering work, cost estimates, real estate acquisition, environmental support tasks and other work that would help the three partners make decisions regarding the proposed 6-mile segment of the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link (NERL).

The proposed segment would extend from midtown Elizabeth east into the Elizabethport area.

"As with several other NJ Transit rail projects, this route will utilize historic rights of way previously used by commuter trains," said NJ Transit Executive Director Jeffrey Warsh in a prepared statement. "We look forward to the day when Elizabeth residents can again board the train at the Central Rail Road of New Jersey’s old Elizabeth station."

From the Central Rail Road station, passengers could connect to NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor trains or go to the Elizabeth waterfront, past Jersey Gardens Mall and IKEA complex to Newark International Airport.

NERL’s initial operating segment, which will cost $209 million to construct, and the Elizabeth segment, which will cost $265 million, both are scheduled for completion in 2005. The NERL system also would include an additional segment between Newark Penn Station and Newark Airport.