PATH announces $1 billion rail improvement plan

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An eastbound mid-day PATH train from Newark has just left the Harrison, N.J., station on its way to New York City’s World Trade Center station in October 2018. PATH has announced plans to expand capacity on this and other lines.
Ralph Spielman

NEW YORK —Officials have unveiled a $1-billion, three-year plan to increase capacity on the Port Authority Trans-Hudson rail system, aiming to reduce overcrowding and delays for the more than 80 million riders annually.

“This plan addresses some of our PATH riders’ biggest concerns,” said Clarelle DeGraffe, PATH’s director of rail transit and general manager, while ensuring that we intensify the repair and maintenance of our existing system.”

The plan to increase capacity by 2022, announced Thursday, includes:

— A six-point, $50-million delay-reduction program over the next 30 months. It will focus on track conditions, switch failures, car and signal-equipment issues, sick passengers, and unattended bags.

— A new signal system that will enable PATH to run more trains per hour, increasing capacity by 40 percent on its busiest line, between Newark and the World Trade Center, and by 20 percent on the Journal Square-33rd Street and Hoboken-World Trade Center lines.

— New equipment. PATH has already ordered 72 new Kawaski-built cars, at a cost of $215.7 million, to add to its existing 350-car fleet. The first of the new cars will enter service in 2021.

— Conversion of the Newark-to-World Trade Center line to nine-car trains running every three minutes. Currently, the line runs eight-car trains; to accommodate the longer trains, PATH has proposed longer platforms and additional exits at its Grove Street and Exchange Place stations. This is expected to be done by 2022, as is a new fare payment system, similar to the OMNY system being tested on New York City Transit subways and buses.

In the near term, PATH has begun work to add two more rush-hour transits on the Newark-World Trade Center and Journal Square-33rd Street lines, which would increase capacity on those lines by 10 percent by this September. Trains will run as little as three minutes apart instead of the current four-minute minimum.

More details are available here.

PATH ridership is the highest since the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey took over the former Hudson & Manhattan Railroad lines in 1962. Its 310,000 weekday riders is almost identical to the number moved by the Metro-North commuter railroad.

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