NJ Transit's Morris & Essex Midtown Direct Trains to Be Diverted During Penn Station Overhaul: Christie - NBC 10 Philadelphia

NJ Transit's Morris & Essex Midtown Direct Trains to Be Diverted During Penn Station Overhaul: Christie

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    All New Jersey Transit's Morris & Essex Midtown Direct trains to Penn Station will be diverted to Hoboken during the weeks-long overhaul at Penn Station this summer, Gov. Christie announced Tuesday. Brian Thompson reports.

    (Published Tuesday, May 23, 2017)

    All New Jersey Transit's Morris & Essex Midtown Direct trains to Penn Station will be diverted to Hoboken during the weeks-long overhaul at Penn Station this summer, Gov. Christie announced Tuesday. 

    The Morris & Essex Line's Midtown Direct trains will end in Hoboken, and from there, PATH trains and ferries will honor NJ Transit fares on that line, Christie said at a news conference Tuesday.

    "Amtrak is telling us now that the eight-week repair schedule that will begin in July and run to Labor Day weekend will necessitate limited service into Penn Station for the Morris & Essex line of the Midtown Direct line, and that will obviously cause some significant delays," Christie said. 

    The delays will be in effect from July 10 to Sept. 1. Christie said other lines were not expected to have significant delays but that he wouldn't guarantee it. NJ Transit riders on other lines won't be cross-honored on the PATH or ferry.

    Morris & Essex riders will get a discount of 56 to 63 percent during the work -- so a monthly pass from Gladstone to New York City, for example, would drop from $451 to $168, and still include the free ferry and PATH transfers.

    Christie estimates a loss of revenue to New Jersey at about $15 million, but said he would find the money to cover it in the state's $35.5 billion budget.

    "I'm not happy about any of this, but the fact of the matter is, we're gonna either make these repairs now or make them later," he said. "But the repairs need to be made." 

    NJ Transit estimates about 23,000 passengers ride the Morris and Essex into Penn Station daily, making it their No. 2 line. 

    Amtrak, the owner and landlord of Penn Station, announced earlier in the month that it's finally getting around to fixing tracks and switches that have been crumbling for years. The overhaul will cut down service for both NJ Transit and LIRR commuters for six weeks.

    In New York, Gov. Cuomo was presenting his own plan for Long Island Rail Road commuters who are expected to be detoured from Penn Station during the makeover project.

    Alternatives will include a high-speed ferry service, several park-and-ride sites along the Long Island Expressway, and free buses from Nassau and Suffolk. 

    Both Christie and Cuomo have called for a private operator to take over Penn Station, blaming "decades of underinvestment" by Amtrak for a "continuing string of infrastructure failures at Penn Station." 

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