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The Newark Light Rail is a light rail system operated by New Jersey Transit serving Newark, New Jersey. The service is made up of two segments, the Newark City Subway and, somewhat confusingly, the Newark Light Rail. The combined service was officially inaugurated on July 17, 2006. The segments are run separately, with a single transfer point at Penn Station. The fare is $1.25 and is good for one hour on the entire system from the time the ticket is validated. Passengers must buy tickets before boarding and validate them before boarding the train. On the PCC streetcars, cash fares were paid on board (except for a brief period prior to the introduction of LRVs, when proof-of-payment fare collection was instituted).

The Newark City Subway (NCS) is the longer of the two segments. Despite its name, the Newark City Subway is a "subway-surface" light rail line which runs underground downtown and above-ground in outlying areas. Before becoming a part of the Newark Light Rail service, it was also known as the #7-City Subway line.

The segment is 5.3 miles (8.5 kilometers) long and runs between Newark Penn Station and Grove Street in Bloomfield.

History Edit

The line opened in 1935 along the old Morris Canal right-of-way, from Broad Street, at the old Newark Public Service Terminal, north to Heller Parkway. {{subst:Wikipedia reference 2|Works Progress Administration|WPA]] artists decorated the underground stations with art-deco scenes from life on the defunct Morris Canal. The southernmost part, south of Warren Street, was capped with a new road, known as Raymond Boulevard. Only one grade crossing was present on the original subway; the line crosses Orange Avenue at grade so it can pass over the depressed Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (now NJT Morristown Line) just to the north.

In 1937, the subway was extended to a lower level of the new Newark Penn Station. Additionally, the Cedar Street Subway, which had been used to access the Newark Public Service Terminal from Washington Street, was pushed through to a junction with the subway between Broad Street and Penn Station. An extension to North 6th Street, subsequently re-named Franklin Avenue (now Branch Brook Park Station), opened in 1940.

The subway was originally operated by the Public Service Corporation as its #7 line. Other streetcar routes used parts of the subway, with ramps to the surface:

  • Via Cedar Street Subway: #13-Broad Street, #17-Paterson, #27-Mt. Prospect, #43-Jersey City
  • Warren Street Ramp: #21-Orange via Market Street
  • Norfolk Street Ramp: #23-Central Avenue
  • Orange Street Grade Crossing: #21-Orange via Orange Street
  • Bloomfield Avenue Ramp: #29-Bloomfield

Until June 5, 1952, the Roseville Car House, on the south side of Main Street (on the #21 line) near the east border of East Orange, was used for the #7 line. Since then, Newark Penn Station has been used for storage and maintenance. A new shops and yard complex opened with the extension to Grove Street, beyond the end of passenger service at Grove Street.

New Jersey Transit took over operations in 1980. For many years, 30 PCC streetcars bought from Twin City Rapid Transit in the 1950s were running on the route. The cars had been built 1946–1949 by the St. Louis Car Company and were sold by TCRT when that system went through a conversion to buses. Four were scrapped over the years, and two were sold off to Shaker Heights Rapid Transit in 1978. In 2001, new light rail cars built by Kinki Sharyo in Japan in 1999 replaced the PCCs.

Some of the PCCs are currently stored in the Newark City Subway shop, from which they will likely end up in museums. Eleven have been sold to the San Francisco Municipal Railway for use on its F Market heritage streetcar line. One of the Shaker Heights cars has been restored by the Minnesota Transportation Museum, which operates it on a short stretch of track in western Minneapolis. Some people in Minneapolis have hoped that some of the remaining cars may also return to that city to run on a proposed streetcar line on the Midtown Greenway, but such a project is not likely to begin anytime soon as of 2006.

In 2005, eight PCCs were given to the City of Bayonne to be rehabilitated and operated along a proposed 2.5 mile loop to serve the Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor, formerly Military Ocean Terminal at Bayonne (MOTBY). The proposed line will be connected to the 34th Street station of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail[1].

Broad Street Station was renamed to Military Park Station on September 4, 2004, to avoid confusion with the new Newark Light Rail segment to Newark Broad Street Station.

Bloomfield ExtensionEdit

On June 22, 2002, the Newark City Subway was extended to the suburbs of Belleville and Bloomfield along what had been the Erie Railroad's Orange Branch, and is now owned by Norfolk Southern. New stations were opened at Silver Lake and Grove Street, and the Heller Parkway and Franklin Avenue stations were combined into a new Branch Brook Park station. The loop at Franklin Avenue was removed, since the new vehicles can travel in either direction, unlike the old PCCs. All the street crossings on the extension are at-grade.

The original agreement gave sole operating privileges to Norfolk Southern between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. daily, but a new agreement allows passenger trains at all hours, with late-night service beginning on January 8, 2005. In exchange, Norfolk Southern can now operate during all off-peak hours, when passenger trains are infrequent.

Newark Light RailEdit

Initially called the Broad Street Extension, the second segment of the Newark Light Rail, named Newark Light Rail, is one mile long and connects Newark Penn Station to Broad Street Station. A section of the extension, from Newark Penn Station to Center Street, runs underground, using a junction that originally led to the still-abandoned Cedar Street Subway tunnel. The remaining section runs above-ground. One stop serves the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, while another serves the Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium. The extension opened on July 17, 2006,[2][3] with the first revenue service train departing Newark Penn Station at 1 PM EDT.[4]

Construction began in 2002 with an estimated cost of $207.7 million dollars;[5] it was completed within budget.[6] It is expected to have 4,000 average weekday boardings after one year, growing to about 7,000 in 2010.

The art work at the new stations has a common theme, titled "Riding with Sarah and Wayne." It is intended as a tribute to Newark's native daughter Sarah Vaughan and includes the lyrics to her signature song, "Send in the Clowns."

Other extensionsEdit

Another link connecting downtown Newark with Newark Liberty International Airport was announced as in the planning stages as part of the Newark Rail Link (formerly the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link). However, NJ Transit has since removed the project from its list of candidate projects.

This proposed segment's candidate stops and nearby attractions:

Newark Arena (under construction)
  • Government Center (Mulberry Street)
  • Lincoln Park/Symphony Hall (Camp Street)
The Coast District
City Without Walls gallery (cWOW)
Theater Cafe (African Globe Theatre Works)
Arts Park (planned)
Museum of African American Music (planned)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport

Stations Edit

Newark City Subway Edit

Former Newark City Subway Edit

Newark City Subway stations that have been closed. Both are currently served by the Branch Brook Park station and were closed as a result of the Bloomfield extension.

Newark Light Rail Edit

Rolling Stock Edit

Today the Newark Light Rail system uses a new-model vehicle built by Kinki Sharyo of Japan. This vehicle, the same one used by the Hudson Bergen Light Rail system, is a double-articulated vehicle with three segments. Each of the two end segments has an operator's cab at the far end, thus eliminating the need for the vehicle to turn itself around physically in order to reverse direction. Each end segment also has seating for 16 passengers on an upper level, and seating for 13 passengers on the lower level, including one special fold-down seat intended for pregnant women at the advanced state of gestation. Next to this fold-down seat is an empty space that a wheelchair-bound passenger may use. With these two segments, and a middle segment that seats ten passengers (five on each side), the vehicle can comfortably accommodate 68 seated passengers and two wheelchairs. An additional 122 passengers could stand in the vehicle, if necessary.

The capacity of any particular "run" along the system can double by coupling two of these vehicles together and running them as a train.


  • December 22, 1910: The Public Service Corporation first announces plans to build the subway, as well as one in Broad Street from Bridge Street to Clinton Avenue.
  • May 26, 1935: The subway opens from Broad Street to Heller Parkway. The #21 line is routed onto the subway via the Warren Street Ramp and level junction at the Orange Street grade crossing. The #23 line is routed via the Norfolk Street Ramp. The #29 line starts using the Bloomfield Avenue Ramp.
  • June 20, 1937: The extension to Newark Penn Station opens. This is the same day that the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (now PATH) is realigned to Newark Penn Station. The #13, #27 and #43 lines are rerouted to Penn Station via the Cedar Street Subway; the #27 and #43 had used the lower level of the Newark Public Service Terminal.
  • June 21, 1937: The #17 line is rerouted via the Cedar Street Subway.
  • July 18, 1937: The #13 and #17 lines stop using the Cedar Street Subway.
  • December 29, 1937: The #27 line stops using the Cedar Street Subway.
  • May 1, 1938: The #43 line stops using the Cedar Street Subway, ending all service on that connection.
  • November 22, 1940: The extension to North 6th Street (later Franklin Avenue) opens.
  • December 14, 1947: The #23 line stops using the Norfolk Street Ramp.
  • March 1, 1951: The #21 line stops using the Warren Street Ramp.
  • March 29, 1952: The #21 line stops using the level junction at the Orange Street grade crossing.
  • March 30, 1952: The #29 line stops using the Bloomfield Avenue ramps.
  • January 8, 1954: The first PCC car uses the subway.
  • October 1980: NJ Transit takes over operations.
  • August 21, 1999: The subway is closed for two weeks for an overhaul.
  • September 7, 1999: The subway reopens.
  • August 24, 2001: The PCC cars are officially retired from service.[7]
  • August 27, 2001: The new light rail vehicles begin running.[8]
  • June 21, 2002: Heller Parkway closes.[9]
  • June 22, 2002: Silver Lake and Grove Street open.[10]
  • September 4, 2004: Broad Street is renamed Military Park.[11]
  • January 8, 2005: Additional late-night service is provided to Grove Street.[12]
  • July 17, 2006: The Newark City Subway extension opens, with service between Newark Penn Station and Newark Broad Street. Service is officially rebranded as the Newark Light Rail with two segments, Newark City Subway and Newark Light Rail.


  • Edward Hamm, Jr., The Public Service Trolley Lines in New Jersey.
  1. Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor development plan, page 17, accessed July 25, 2006
  2. Newark LRT Expands July 17
  3. NJ Transit press release announcing the opening of the Broad Street Extension
  4. New Jersey Transit Travel Alert announcing the opening of Newark Light Rail Extended service

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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