NEWARK — NJ Transit's Atlantic City Line will not reopen until at least spring because of continuing engineer and equipment issues and the government shutdown.

The line, which has been closed since September for Positive Train Control installation, will be restored along with the Princeton "Dinky" line in the second quarter of the year. Officials said in August that the closure would last at least four months.

"Our goal is to begin restoring a service that remains reliable and predictable for customers as quickly as possible,” Executive Director Kevin Corbett said.

The lines also cannot open until the government shutdown ends, as NJ Transit awaits approval of its application to extend a final PTC installation deadline by two years from the Federal Railway Administration. The FRA is closed for the duration.

 

The agency late last year completed installation of PTC equipment on 282 pieces of equipment, making NJ Transit compliant with a deadline for that period. There are still 158 locomotives and cab cars that need installation. The extension would give NJ Transit until the end of 2020 to complete installation.

Corbett also said NJ Transit will also not extend the 10 percent fare discount on all rail tickets that had been in effect since November, when 18 trains on five lines were suspended. It will come to an end as scheduled at the end of January despite the continued last minute cancellation of trains during the morning and afternoon commutes.

Corbett in a statement said he understood the frustration of rides but said while that reliability had improved since Jan. 1, "that’s no consolation when it’s your train that is affected," Corbett said.

When Gov. Phil Murphy was asked at a recent press event when commuters can expect all of the problems at NJ Transit to begin to fade and regular, reliable service to become the norm, he turned a bit philosophical.

“Rome will not be built in a day, but it is being built. We are getting there and we will get there.," he said.

Twenty-five percent discounts will continue for Atlantic City Line riders on the alternate transportation options in effect.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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