NJ TRANSIT is still planning to reroute Midtown Direct trains over a new Midtown Indirect routing via an easterly route that would cover portions of the M&E and Bergen County/Main/Pascack Valley Lines before finally entering the Northeast Corridor. This "temporary" plan would allow some trains to bypass the Portal Bridge, which is said to be incapable of handling the projected 48 trains per hour envisioned once T.H.E. Tunnel opens. A second EIS will be needed to study building two twin span bridges to replace the Portal Bridge so that all NJT and Amtrak trains will be able to run over the most direct route into New York. Meanwhile, officials in towns along the M&E line are beginning to express their displeasure over what could be an extra 12-15 minute trip into the Big Apple when trains are following this circuitous route.
NJARP from time to time lists active NJ TRANSIT projects with their original target dates and the new deadlines.
- HBLRT to North Bergen. under construction, was originally scheduled to be complete by 2003. Its is expected to open in January 2006.
- The Newark LRT extension to Broad Street Station was supposed to open in 2005, but now it is targeted for the spring of 2006.
- Pascack Valley Line sidings should have been in place by 2000. The new projected date is 2007.
- A pocket track just north of Newark Penn Station for Raritan Valley Line trains was supposed to have been completed by 2001. New target is 2008!
- And Lackawanna Cutoff service, which was supposed to have been in effect by 2003, is now scheduled for 2008.
Track construction appears to be getting underway in January 2006 along the Pascack Valley Line, where some passing sidings will allow expansion of service to reverse-peak, midday, and weekend hours. Express service will also be started, enabling faster rush hour trips.
The Cape May Seashore Lines service between Richland Village and Tuckahoe was a success. Passengers filled the Saturday-only trains each week for a 2-month period in the fall. Hopefully in 2006 there will be more trains operating on this segment of CMSL. Unfortunately there still remains a 10-mile gap in CMSL's operations between Tuckahoe and Cape May Court House. Filling it is a priority for NJARP and CMSL. CMSL cannot operate both of its services at the same time due to this gap.