New Jersey's 21st Legislative District

Senator Tom Kean, Jr.

Senator Tom Kean

Kean & Bramnick Secure Transportation Funding to Study Midtown Direct Service on Raritan Valley Line

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Part of Long-Standing Effort with Raritan Valley Rail Coalition to Improve & Expand “One-Seat” Rides into Manhattan

Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean and Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick announced the inclusion of $5 million in a supplemental transportation funding bill (S-3635) to study enhancements to New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley Line, including the expansion of “one-seat” rides into Manhattan.

Sen. Tom Kean and Asm. Jon Bramnick secured funding to study enhancements to NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley Line, including the expansion of one-seat rides into Manhattan. (SenateNJ.com)

Far too many passengers riding that line into New York are still forced to switch trains at Newark Penn Station, adding time and hassle to already lengthy and difficult commutes.

“There are a number of hurdles that we must clear to make a one-seat ride on the Raritan Valley Line possible for more passengers,” said Kean. “The study we have secured funding for is the next step in understanding everything that must be done to allow improved and expanded Midtown Direct service from towns along the line like Roselle Park, Garwood, Cranford, and Westfield.”

Some of the challenges that must be addressed by the study include capacity issues with the existing trans-Hudson rail tunnels, the long-discussed Hunter flyover, the need for dual-powered trains, and limited track and platform space at New York Penn Station.

“Diesel trains run on the Raritan Valley Line, but only electric trains can run through the tunnels to Manhattan,” said Bramnick. “We need to get a better sense of whether dual-powered trains that run on both diesel and electricity can solve all of the issues on these tracks, and examine if there other lingering capacity issues due to the Raritan Valley Line’s aging infrastructure.”

Kean and Bramnick have long worked with the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) on its mission to secure a one-seat ride into Manhattan.

Kean joined the coalition in a meeting with New Jersey Transit staff on September 28 to discuss the effort.

“The RVRC understands the importance of a one-seat ride, and I’m honored to work with them,” said Kean. “The impact will be felt not just by commuters through saved time and reduced frustration, but also through increased home values and more vibrant communities all along the line.”

A study by the Northeast Corridor Commission found substantial improvements in economic development and home values when Midtown Direct service was introduced on New Jersey Transit’s Morris & Essex Lines in 1996.

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