APRIL 15 saw the formal inauguration of the first 12·7 km of New Jersey Transit’s $1·2bn Hudson - Bergen light rail network by state Governor Christie Whitman. Services are now running from 34th Street in Bayonne to Exchange Place in Jersey City, and on the short branch from Exchange Place to West Side Avenue (RG 12.99 p777). Headway on both routes is 15min, but main line services run every 7 1/2 min at peak periods.

The initial section was intended to run a further 3·2 km to NJ Transit’s Hoboken Terminal, but construction has been delayed, and this section is not now expected to open until the end of 2001. Services should reach Newport in Jersey City late this year. The line is being built and operated by the Raytheon-led 21st Century Rail Corp consortium under a DBOM concession. Kinki Sharyo has supplied 29 articulated LRVs, of which 11 are needed to run the initial segment.

The line is intended to spur the redevelopment of the Hudson River waterfront area in Jersey City, and some commercial and residential development is already under way. Initial weekday ridership is forecast at over 18000, but could reach 100000 when the full 33 km line is completed through to a park-and-ride interchange on the New Jersey Turnpike in Ridgefield.