The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will begin the first phase of a massive expansion of PATH service along the Newark-World Trade Center line on March 23.
PATH will operate nine-car trains on the NWK-WTC line for the first time in its 100-year existence.
PATH will gradually increase the number of nine-car trains in service over the next year, and by the beginning of 2024, nearly all trains on the NWK-WTC line at peak periods will be nine-car trains. The addition of a ninth rail car to trains during peak hours is part of a campaign to expand capacity and give commuters a safer, more pleasant ride, a release said.
Beginning later this year, an increasing number of nine-car trains will run along the NWK-WTC route, utilizing the delivery of 72 new rail cars to supplement PATH’s current operating fleet of 350 cars. The new cars will be introduced into service between now and 2024. The nine-car train is critical to PATH’s plan to enhance capacity on the NWK-WTC line by 40%.
The American Public Transportation Association cited the strategy in choosing PATH for the 2022 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement award for North American railroads with more than 20 million riders per year, a release said.
“The unveiling of nine-car PATH service builds upon my administration’s significant progress toward the modernization of one of the most important transportation networks in the world,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. “By increasing capacity and enhancing efficiency on the Newark-World Trade Center line, we will better connect local communities to good-paying jobs, economic opportunity, and each other. Just as importantly, expanding PATH service will help deliver the comfortable, safe traveling experience New Jersey residents and visitors deserve.”
The announcement was made following the completion of station and infrastructure expansion projects along the Newark-WTC route to handle larger trains. As part of the preparations for the March 23 launch of the nine-car service, the project has undergone rigorous independent inspection and testing.
PATH, which has 13 stations in New York City and New Jersey, conducted nearly 82 million commuter trips in 2019, a record amount of passengers in a single year before the COVID-19 pandemic substantially reduced ridership. PATH said the system is steadily restoring its ridership and intends to reach at least 60% of its average daily ridership by the end of 2023.
In September, the first new rail cars to support the nine-car program arrived in Port Newark.