Conrail head outlines plans for capacity projects in North Jersey Service Area

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This schematic of Conrail's North Jersey Service Area shows planned and current improvements.
Courtesy of Conrail
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Greenville Yard in Bayonne and Jersey City, N.J., will see projects addressing capacity needs in several areas.
Courtesy of Conrail
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This overhead image shows the current Point No Point Bridge over the Passaic River, as well as the proposed new bridge alignment.
Courtesy of Conrail

NEWARK, N.J. — Conrail is planning significant projects to add capacity to its 471-track-mile North Jersey Service Area, railroad President and Chief Operating Officer Timothy Tierney said  at the April meeting of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority.

The North Jersey Service Area, which operates in six of New Jersey’s 21 counties near New York City, is one of two areas in New Jersey operated by Conrail Shared Assets, the jointly owned operation which serves customers of owners CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern and interchanges with 11 of the state’s shortline railroads. (Conrail also operates in southern New Jersey, serving the Philadelphia metro area.)

The capacity projects follow more than $20 million in capital projects in 2018, and reflect Conrail’s continuing carload growth. The planned projects will be concentrated within a 10-mile radius of Conrail’s hub, Oak Island Yard in Newark.

Tierney outlined five projects which represent approximately 16 miles of new capacity in the North Jersey terminal area to support growth in the region:

— The long-proposed Waverly Loop will connect freight trains on Conrail's Passaic and  Harsimus Line to provide a second route to access the Port areas in Northern New Jersey. It will be in operation by next year.

— Additional support tracks at the Oak Island Yard will also be in service by the end of next year.

— A new proposal for a southbound connection at Port Newark, located to the south of Oak Island, is being studied. This link would enable container trains to connect to Conrail's Chemical Coast Line south, then utilize Conrail's Port Reading Secondary Line to a junction with Norfolk Southern and CSX near Bound Brook, N.J. It would be a less-congested alternative to the current routing of traveling north to a junction with Conrail's Lehigh Line just west of Oak Island Yard.

— Improvements at Greenville Yard, straddling Jersey City and Bayonne along the Hudson River, will enable more containers to be moved from the newly-opened Intermodal terminal, Global Container Terminal-Bayonne, on the southeastern side. Improvements funded by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, will add additional tracks in the container port by this June to increase capacity as needed. At the northern end of the yard, use of the Cross Harbor section’s New York and New Jersey carfloats will increase, as two more rail carrying barges are brought on line soon. These will travel to Brooklyn to interchange with the New York and Atlantic Railway. Completion should be by 2020.

— Construction could begin in 2021 on a new bridge to replace current double-track, swing-span Point No Point Bridge, built in 1901. That bridge carries Conrail’s Passaic and Harsimus Branch over the Passaic River from the east end of CSX's Kearny Yard to Amtrak's Northeast Corridor near the west end of Newark Airport. The new structure would be a $90 million double-tracked bascule bridge. The engineering and permitting process began in 2017 and is expected to last through next year. Conrail is currently seeking federal/state funding support for this project.

The projects, to support anticipated rail freight growth in the New York City region, are primarily funded by Conrail, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the State of New Jersey.

For more information on Conrail, visit the Conrail website. For information on the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, visit its website.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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