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training gains weekend service!

I live on the ONLY train line in New Jersey that doesn't run on weekends. NJTransit has had many reasons why it doesn't run on weekends. A few years ago they changed their stance from "we won't" to "we can't" to "we'd love to, but we realy can't. The reasons they've given during each phase contradict each other.

Lately ARP-NJ (Association of Rail Passengers of New Jersey) has been on a major lobbying effort to change thing. They got the majors of each town to publically state they want the trains to run on the weekends, they've got the town councils to either vote a resolution supporting it, or had a majority of the members publically state they wanted it, and they held marathon lobbying efforts at our state and federal politicians offices.

I was optimistic that it might happen a at least a year from now. The current excuse was construction that was to end around then.

Then suddenly...

All aboard weekenders! NJ Transit announced today that weekend train service for the Montclair-Boonton line will start on Nov. 8.

The announcement was made at an 11 a.m. press conference this morning at the Bay Street Station by NJ Transit executive director Richard Sarles. Essex County Executive Joe D. Vincenzo, Mayor Ray McCarthy of Bloomfield, Mayor Peter Hughes of Glen Ridge and Mayor Jerry Fried of Montclair were on hand for the announcement. Fried took an active role in impressing upon NJ transit how important weekend train service for Montclair would be back in June. At the press conference, McCarthy credited Fried with making the service happen, saying "Mayor Fried was a dog on a bone with this one."

How will it work? It was announced that Montclair parking authority will offer free weekend parking in the Bay Street garage at least through the end of 2009. Weekend service will be bi-hourly and Montclair weekenders will need to catch the train from Bay Street, as that will be where the service terminates. Trains will run to Newark where passengers can transfer to New York Penn Station, or stay on board for Hoboken service. Weekend trains will also stop at Watsessing, Bloomfield and Glen Ridge stations.

Weekend train service didn't sound promising back in March and here, too, when it was expected to be delayed into late 2009. Now that it's here -- are you over the top glad, sad or ambivalent? Tell us how and when will you use the weekend train in comments.

NJ Transit Executive Director Richard Sarles says the new service will run at "virtually no cost" because it is an extension of an existing train that runs from Broad Street to Hoboken.

Mayor Fried, in his thanks to various officials, mentioned Montclair State University President Susan Cole as a big supporter, and expressed the hope that the service will eventually extend all the way to Montclair State. "This is the beginning," he said. "We expect to see you all on the train."


The train will run at 7am then every 2 hours until just after midnight. Not the best schedule, but I'll take it.

NJTransit says the new service will run at "virtually no cost" because the train line already exists. Duh. We've been saying that for YEARS. I hope this will improve my property value as not being able to get into NYC by train from a house that is 22 miles from NYC depresses house prices around here.


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Are you sure yours is the only one? I'm pretty sure in the not too distant past, there was a line in Bergen County that not only rand weekdays only, but only ran toward New York in the AM and away from NY in the PM.

It's (or at least was) a single-line track.

Edited at 2009-10-01 12:43 pm (UTC)

They enacted some degree of sanity on the Pascack Valley Line a couple years ago.

OMG. *clutch heart, stagger backwards*

This is the 4th sign of the Apocalypse, innit?

As someone really tired of having to make special arrangements regarding our sole family vehicle every time eafm or I want to go somewhere on a Saturday: w00t!

Weekend train service didn't sound promising back in March and here, too, when it was expected to be delayed into late 2009.

Er, it was delayed into late 2009, unless "late 2009" has been quietly redefined to mean "after Christmas."

It's terminating in Montclair? I imagine the folks further up the hill are less than thrilled.

Yeah, they aren't super happy but they're offering free parking until the end of the year. I hope that means they'll extend the train line after that.


almost-zero is an odd claim to make for costs, because "the line is already there" is a dumb statement. the majority of the cost is in provision and maintenance of rolling stock and staff (rolling stock uses power, has time-based maintenance requirements, etc).

- train nerd

Agreed. But they had previously said that it was too expensive to run this line on the weekend (it was excuse #458 of their zillions of conflicting excuses over the past decade).

It's good to see them admit that this isn't true.

I'm sure the cost of the tickets will pay for the fuel and staff.

Well, you're also making the incorrect assumption that fuel and staff is the total cost. I suspect their "almost zero" is actually PR, and there's a subsidy coming from somewhere. Revenue recovery on even quite busy lines only rarely hits 100%.

When I lived in Belleville a few years ago I was excited to find out about this train, then similarly disappointed to find out that it was virtually useless to me. The Newark City Subway was also pretty close and has also been greatly improved schedule-wise since I left. It used to stop going to the Grove Street stop at 9 PM on weekends, now you can catch a 1:31 AM from Newark Penn.

The Montclair/Bloomfield/Belleville area has gotten some weekend mass transit options -- nice!

Madison trains, however, have seen a slow but steady decline in usefulness.

Fantastic! Thanks for posting.

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