New Jersey Transit is currently testing dual-powered locomotives that could run on the Raritan Valley Train Line and create a one-seat ride into New York City—and local officials are in favor of that move.
“I believe that bringing a one-seat ride to residents is crucial for our continued growth,” said councilman Matthew Moench, who also serves as the township representative to the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition.
Moench said that at the December meeting, a presentation was made concerning the benefits of dual-powered trains. Currently, the trains on the Raritan Valley Line are diesel-powered, and therefore not permitted to enter tunnels leading into New York.
That is why riders are required to change trains in Newark, Moench said.
The Raritan Valley Line runs through Bridgewater, at the train station near TD Bank Ballpark.
According to the presentation, Moench said, there are many benefits to making the change to a one-seat trip for the Raritan Valley Line.
“Beyond the mere inconvenience of having to change trains, studies have shown that direct access to New York can have significant economic benefits,” he said.
For one, Moench said, the study found that eliminating the transfer of trains in New York could shave about 35 minutes off commuting times.
“The study also showed for every minute saved on the morning commute, home values could increase by $3,000,” he said. “However, this figure also depends on the distance from the train station itself.”
“In addition, benefits include increasing reliability of the Raritan Valley Line, increasing the attractiveness of train travel on the Raritan Valley Line, increased revenue, higher commercial property values and reductions in driving, congestion and air pollution,” he added.
Since the December meeting, Moench said, the trustees of the coalition have implemented a campaign to educate officials and others on the new dual-powered trains.
“While New Jersey Transit is expected to begin utilizing the dual-powered locomotives in the next two years, there is no guarantee when that will begin, how many of the locomotives will be used on the Raritan Valley Line and how they will be implemented,” he said.
This initiative, Moench said, will not cost residents money, but will have its other benefits.
At an upcoming Bridgewater meeting, Moench said, the council will be acting on a resolution to support this initiative and ask New Jersey Transit to implement these dual-powered trains on the Raritan Valley Line.
“Whether it be spending more time with their families, or increasing productivity by being able to get more work done during the day, one-seat ride has a significant quality of life improvement for our commuting residents, as well as an economic benefit to the entire community,” he said.
What do you think of the possibility of using these trains to allow for a one-seat ride?