On MARCH 22 New Jersey Transit held the first demonstrations of its Hudson-Bergen light rail line through Jersey City. One of the new Kinki Sharyo low-floor cars took invited guests on a 10 min trip along the 4 km test section from the Caven Point maintenance depot via Richard and Danforth St stations. Participants included State Transportation Commissioner James Weinstein, who promised that ’the line will have a dramatic improvement on the quality of life.’

Being built by a private sector consortium under a DBOM concession, the 15·3 km initial segment along the Hudson River waterfront is scheduled to start revenue service in March 2000. Various extensions totalling 17 km are under consideration for construction by 2003, bringing the total cost to over $1bn. Weekday ridership is expected to average 100000.

  • On April 1 NJ Transit began testing its new integrated braking system which combines Automatic Train Protection and Positive Train Stop functions. Due to be installed on the entire 621 km commuter rail network by 2003 at a cost of $150m, the equipment is being developed as the result of a fatal accident at Secaucus in February 1996 caused by a driver passing a red signal.

    Continuous ATP using an inductive data exchange has already been installed on 72% of the network and should be extended to the rest by the end of this year. However, it does not stop trains passing signals at less than 32 km/h. PTS uses transponders to trigger an automatic stop should a train attempt to pass a red signal. A 7·2 km section of the Boonton and Morristown lines near Denville has been fitted as a test track, after which the Pascack Valley line is to be equipped. PTS will be extended system-wide following federal approval. n