NJ Transit to suspend entire Atlantic City Line for months
TRENTON — NJ Transit will suspend service on its Atlantic City Line in September and temporarily suspend off peak one-seat service to New York on the Raritan Valley Line.
The changes were announced Friday as part of NJ Transit's ongoing efforts to outfit train cars with positive train control braking technology.
Both changes take effect Tuesday, September 4 and will last at least four months, according to a statement from the railroad. The changes will allow for PTC work of rail cars and the railroad right of way.
“We regret the inconvenience this will cause our customers on the RVL and ACRL. That’s why we’ve maintained the same level of RVL service to/from Penn Station New York with connections at Newark Penn, and are offering a range of options with discounted fares to and from Philadelphia to continue meeting the travel needs of our ACRL customers,’’ Executive Director Kevin Corbett said.
GC Burkett, general chairman of SMART Local 60, sent a text alert to union members on Friday afternoon to give them advance notice about the NJ Transit announcement.
"There was no advance notification and I will be meeting with the carrier ASAP and will keep members updated," Burkett wrote.
NJ Transit has been taking trains off line to install positive train control braking technology. The work contributed to dozens of trains being canceled on several lines, causing delays and packed commutes.
Raritan Valley Line customers will not receive any discounts but will be required to transfer to a New York-bound train at Newark Penn Station.
NJ Transit will offer the following discounts and options during the closure of the Atlantic City Line:
- All ACRL rail tickets and passes with a destination or origin of Philadelphia will be discounted 25 percent. These rail tickets and passes will be cross-honored on NJT bus route No. 554, PATCO (Lindenwold, Walter Rand Transportation Center (WRTC) and 8th St./Market St. only), River LINE (Pennsauken to WRTC only), and special shuttle bus service operating between Cherry Hill, Pennsauken and WRTC.
- Bus route No. 554 will cross-honor rail tickets and passes and will have enhanced service to/from all rail stations between Atlantic City and Lindenwold, operating on similar times to the rail schedule.
- PATCO will cross-honor rail tickets and passes with an origin or destination of Philadelphia at Lindenwold, WRTC in Camden and 8th St./Market St. in Philadelphia for service to/from Philadelphia. Customers must have a rail ticket or pass with a Philadelphia origin or destination for travel on PATCO at no additional charge.
- Shuttle bus service will be provided between Cherry Hill, Pennsauken and WRTC for connections to PATCO. Customers should display their rail tickets and passes to board the shuttle bus and retain them for cross-honoring on PATCO.
- River Line will cross-honor rail tickets and passes between Pennsauken and WRTC for connections to PATCO. Customers should retain their rail tickets and passes for cross honoring on PATCO.
- ACRL customers utilizing PATCO to/from Philadelphia will not have service to/from 30th Street station in Philadelphia. Customers will board/exit PATCO at the 8th St./Market St. Station in Philadelphia.
- Customers in Atlantic City will not use the Atlantic City Rail Terminal. All customers should utilize the Atlantic City Bus Terminal for service on bus route No. 554, which will arrive/depart only at the Atlantic City Bus Terminal.
- Atlantic City casino jitney bus service will not operate to/from the Atlantic City Rail Terminal. This service will relocate to/from the Atlantic City Bus Terminal.
The Atlantic City Line last year had an average daily ridership of less than 2,000 boardings, a number that has been falling every year. The Atlantic City station has less than 600 boardings on an average weekday. Another 490 board in Philadelphia and about 300 board in Lindenwold. By comparison, the River Line between Camden and Trenton had about 9,000 weekday boardings in 2014.
Several years ago, Atlantic County officials discussed expanding the Atlantic City Line but NJ Transit officials were skeptical about such an investment.
Editor's note: This story was updated to reflect updated information released by NJ Transit