State of U.S. Passenger Rail – New Jersey

Despite actions by New Jersey’s governor, a Republican who terminated a major New Jersey rail expansion project that would have doubled track capacity into New York City then transferred the funds to roadway widening, and who has instituted massive increases to train fares to keep New Jersey’s already-lowest-in-the-nation gas tax artificially low, railroad ridership in New Jersey continues a long-term trend of growing by leaps and bounds.

That’s a result of more and more New Jerseyans riding NJ Transit. It is already one of the busiest regional railroads in the nation and it just keeps getting busier by the year, despite the threat of a major tunnel rehabilitation project causing a service disruption like no other. The agency runs 11 routes, 10 of them in northern New Jersey connecting directly or with a transfer to New York City, and one from Philadelphia to Atlantic City. Ridership on NJ Transit has surged 90% since September 1995, nearly doubling, thanks to system expansion projects such as the Secaucus Junction, Midtown Direct Service, Meadowlands Station, Newark Airport Station, and Pennsauken Transit Center. This graph shows the trend.

Note that in the above graph, the downward spike in November 2012, which caused a 12-month disruption to the average, was caused by service disruptions related to Hurricane Sandy.

As seen in the map at the top, New Jersey has 152 railroad stations, but only six of them have Amtrak service. Those six stations, all on NJ Transit’s Northeast Corridor Line between New York City and Trenton, recorded a shift in ridership from Amtrak to NJ Transit in 2005 when Amtrak discontinued the Clocker service but NJ Transit replace those exact trains by adding Northeast Corridor Line trains at the same times. The result is a decrease in Amtrak ridership in the Garden State by 56.7% from 2003 to 2014, even though the majority of passengers were not actually lost to railroading as a whole, just shifted to a different railroad. The line graph shows the loss to Amtrak ridership by station.

Note that Metropark and Newark Airport Station were not impacted by the loss of Clocker trains. Metropark recorded an increase of 7% over this timeframe, while Newark Airport rose by 69%.New Jersey retains service on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional and Acela, and also a number of long-distance and medium distance trains that use the Northeast Corridor en route to or from New York City: the Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystones, the Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, and Vermonter.

This stacked column graph shows the same information as the last graph, summing each year to give an aggregated statewide total.

This pie chart shows the same information, with an emphasis on the relative volumes of passengers of each station.

This entry was posted in Acela, Amtrak, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, New Jersey, NJ Transit, Palmetto, passenger rail, Pennsylvanian, railroads, regional rail, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, State of U.S. Passenger Rail Series, trains, transportation, Vermonter. Bookmark the permalink.