New Jersey Transit's
on the SubwayNut
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) (Station List, Map is Clickable) is the New York Metro area's newest rail system not built to serve an airport. This 20 mile system with runs along the New Jersey side of the Hudson River Waterfront (with views of the Manhattan skyline directly from the trains) and serves this rapidly growing and redeveloping area of former industrial lands and railroad yards and terminals. The system uses 48 Kinki Sharyo articulated low-floor LRVs powered by overhead catenary. The 48 half-height platforms (maybe a foot off the ground) can all accommodate two LRVs. These are similar to the LRVs also used by the Newark City Subway (introduced around the same time) except for slightly different wheel designs. The stations all look fairly similar but are well decorated with artwork. The normal canopy structures on the platforms all have gabled roofs painted turquoise. The edges of the platforms originally had grey tactile warning strips but these are slowly being replaced by more ADA compliant and normal yellow ones. Steel pillars are the indication for a light rail station and nearly every station has one somewhere.
The system uses former railroad ROWs at its faster northern and southern ends with a newly built ROW mainly along the medians and sides of city streets between Liberty State Park and Hoboken Terminal. The southern branches were built on former Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJs) ROWs. The line to West Side Avenue is the former CNJ Newark and New York Railroad branch ROW. The line south to Bayonne the former main line of the CNJ as it headed into the Communipaw Terminal in Liberty State Park inside Jersey City that was built on the original base of the Morris Canal. The Bayonne branch of the HBLR today is complimented in most places by a still in service freight track. The northern system is built on the former Conrail River Line (originally the New Jersey Junction Railroad) connecting to the Weehawken Tunnel through the Palisades was originally built by the New York, West Shore and Buffalo Railway in 1883 (soon controlled by the New York Central) and the tunnel repurposed for light rail service with the building of the one underground station, Bergenline Avenue. NJT in order to build the light rail line paid to upgrade the North Running Track to replace the Conrail capacity lost when the freight line closed to be converted to light rail.
The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has been a system, not a single line since its initial opening on April 22, 2000 and the way the different lines have been depicted on the system map has varied. Trains are always refereed to by simply their terminals, which are displayed on exterior destination signs. The only exception is Bayonne Flyer Express Service that has Bayonne Flyer on the destination signs, regardless of service direction, after the train has finished the express section they revert back to the actual destination for the final few local stops before the end of their run. Originally the branding on timetables was simply a depiction of an LRV with Hudson-Bergen Light Rail written next to it. The only logos on the LRVs were those of New Jersey Transit. With the 2006 opening of the north branch the new Purple Grey and Gold Hudson Bergen Light Rail logo debut and replaced the NJ Transit logos towards the top of the sides of the LRVs. This HBLR logo is used concurrently with the NJT logo to brand the system.
Service and Operation History:
February 25, 2006 — ■ ■ the Weehawken Tunnel opens: trains are extended 7 a days week to Port Imperial, through the Weehawken Tunnel stopping at the only underground HBLR station at Bergenline Avenue to Tonnelle Avenue on the otherside of the tunnel
February 24, 2007 — Bayonne Flyer F service is increased to 3 Reverse peak trips still 4 peak direction trips
August 28, 2010 — The recession results in service cuts across New Jersey Transit, including the HBLR. Tonnelle Avenue to Hoboken ■ is reduced to weekdays only. This forces weekend passengers from Hoboken to take a ■ to Pavonia-Newport and make a timed transfer to a ■ train to Tonnelle Avenue and the rest of the north branch stations. From the 2009 to 2010 timetables off-peak and weekend service frequencies have been reduced from 15 minutes to 20 minutes intervals on all three routes.
January 31, 2011 — ■ trains are extended one stop south in Bayonne to 8th Street, this is a single track extension and some ■ trains continue to terminate at 22nd Street during rush hours (as of February 2016, this is the current service).
- April 22, 2000 — Opening day saw the following two lines in operation with:
- ■ Exchange Place to West Side Avenue
- ■ Exchange Place to 34 Street
- May 22, 2000 — Rush Hour Express Service, the Bayonne Flyer F (called this by 2001) begins operation, the original operations saw trains stopping at 34th Street, 45th Street, Liberty State Park Station and Exchange Place only. There are 4 trains per peak direction (northbound in the AM and southbound in PM), 2 AM and 3 PM reverse peak trips.
- November 18th, 2000 — ■ extended north to Pavoina/Newport, ■ I believe (can't get timetable confirmation) extended only as far as Harborside Financial Center
- April 21, 2001 — no newly open extensions except Bayonne trains ■ are now also extended to Newport. The timetable announces 'Additional Service to Newport including New Direct Service to Newport' All of these trains run 'limited' during rush hours (Leaving 34 Street 5:48 to 8:24 AM and 3:14 to 6:28 PM, Newport 6:36 to 9:12 AM and 3:36 to 7:12 PM) and bypass Essex Street and Jersey Avenue. Only West Side Avenue (Turquoise dot) trains stop during rush hours
- Bayonne Flyer F runs 6 Peak Direction trips and 3 Reverse Peak direction trips from 34th Street to Harborside Financial Center stopping at 45th Street, Liberty State Park and Exchange Place
- From September 11, 2001 until Hoboken Terminal opens the 9/11 attacks close PATH trains at Exchange Place and Pavonia/Newport becomes the only HBLR to PATH connecting station.
- September 29, 2002 — ■ ■ extended north to Hoboken Terminal
- Revised November 2002 timetable — Bayonne Flyer Service F operates between Harborside Financial Center and 34th Street, Bayonne (one or two trips in each direction extended to Pavoina-Newport or Hoboken) stopping at Exchange Place, Liberty State Park and 45th Street.
- November 15, 2003 — ■ service extended one stop south in Bayonne to 22nd Street.
- Bayonne Flyer F — runs from Pavonia-Newport to 22nd Street stopping at Harborside, Exchange Place, Liberty State Park, 45th and 34th Streets making 5 peak direction rush hour trips and 3 reverse peak trips.
- September 7, 2004 — ■ new north branch line opens from Hoboken Terminal to Lincoln Harbor, (2 intermediate stations- 2nd, 9th Streets) a shuttle LRV operates every 15 minutes.
- Bayonne Flyer F: AM trips only are extended to Hoboken (PM trips still terminate at Pavonia/Newport) with 6 Peak direction trips and 3 reverse-peak trips.
- July 2005 Timetable — Bayonne Flyer F operates from Hoboken (AM trips), Pavonia/Newport (PM trips) to 22 Street Bayonne now stopping at Essex Street in addition to all previously mentioned stops.
- October 29, 2005 — ■ Weekends Only trains are extend one stop to Port Imperial.
- February 11, 2006: New Service Patterns and line designations take effect in anticipation of the opening of the Weehawken Tunnel 2 weeks later:
- ■ — Lincoln Harbor (weekdays)/Port Imperial (weekends) to Hoboken terminal, normally using single LRVs.
- ■ — Lincoln Harbor (weekdays)/Port Imperial (weekends) to West Side Avenue, using 2 car LRV trains
- ■ — Hoboken to 22nd Street (Bayonne) using two car trains
- Bayonne Flyer F — Operates only 4 peak direction and 2 reverse peak trips with all trains now originating at Hoboken in both the AM and PM peaks.
- Bayonne Flyer F — Trains are extended to 8th Street with many more trips added:
- Northbound: 10 AM northbound peak direction trips, 3 PM reverse peak trips. All now bypassing Liberty State Park
- Southbound: 4 AM reverse peak trips, 7 PM peak direction trips. These still stopping at Liberty State Park (making the station a stop southbound only)
- All trains still skip Harsimus Cove, Marin Boulevard, Jersey Avenue, Richard Street
Hudson-Bergen Light Rail operates on a Proof-of-Payment system with NJT fare enforcement and police officers checking tickets. All tickets must first be purchased from a TVM and then validated by getting stamped at fare validators for ninety minutes of unlimited travel in any direction including round-trips with stopovers permitted. The HLBR operates it its own distinctive fare zone with fares priced between a one zone ($1.50) and two-zone bus ride ($2.30) at $2.10 as of 2013. When the system opened the one-way fare was $1.50 (one-zone bus and Newark City Subway fare was $1.10). Although Newark Light Rail and RiverLine tickets look similar (and are accepted interchangeably on both systems since they charge the same $1.70 fare) they are not accepted on the HBLR. Fares are incorporated with the NJT bus system and passengers can purchase a light rail ticket and 1 zone intrastate bus transfer for 70¢ more (you'll even receive an itemized receipt for the charges making up your $2.80 purchase). HBLR in return accepts all one-way NJT bus transfers (these don't have to be validated), costing 70¢ plus bus fare. There are no free or discounted transfers for one way or round trip NJT Rail tickets, although HBLR accepts bus passes valid for 2 or more zones and weekly and monthly rail passes. In addition HBLR offers its own monthly passes (also valid for one zone bus rides) as well as a discounted joint monthly passes with NY Waterway for connecting ferry service to New York City. There are no discounted fares or passes for passengers connecting to PATH trains (HBLR TVMs sold PATH Quick Cards when they still existed) or the S89 MTA operated bus from the 34th Street (Bayonne) Station over the Bayonne Bridge to Staten Island (that accepts regular MetroCards).
Last Updated: 10 September, 2015
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