New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Amtrak Board Chairman Tony Coscia, and NJ Transit CEO Kevin Corbett held a press conference on Tuesday to announce the kickoff of fall construction work at the Trenton Transit Center, as well as the Princeton Junction, New Brunswick, and Elizabeth train stations.
Murphy and the two transit leaders said the projects are a result of “a reinvigorated relationship” between NJ Transit and Amtrak that demonstrates a joint commitment to improving customer service and the travel experience throughout the state.
“A modern, safe, and reliable mass transit system is the foundation our state needs to grow our economy and reclaim our historic role as the state of innovation,” Murphy said. “The most forward-thinking organizations want to locate where both infrastructure and accessibility to capital markets and consumers are strong. These improvements announced today can help propel New Jersey to the top of any business leader’s list. The growing collaboration between Amtrak and NJ Transit is a win-win for our commuters and our economic future.”
Coscia said Amtrak, state officials, and NJ Transit are all working together to keep their promises to improve customer service. “The start of these station projects reflects our joint commitment to our customers to improve our stations, infrastructure, and the safety of our customers,” Cosica said.
Corbett said NJ Transit’s relationship with Amtrak was “fractured” before he took over as the head of the agency in 2018. “With Governor Murphy’s support, we are proud to finalize a new agreement with Amtrak that has not only resulted in projects along the Northeast Corridor advancing far more smoothly, but ensures that Amtrak is investing those dollars in New Jersey infrastructure improvements to benefit NJ Transit customers,” Corbett said.
The projects at the four stations are scheduled to take place throughout fall 2019 and early 2020.
At the Princeton Junction station, general platform repairs will be made to improve customer safety, including “refreshing” platforms that have deteriorated from exposure to weather and de-icing agents. The project includes reinforcing the platform supports, patching concrete, repainting the yellow warning strips, and the general repair of the stairs and handrails. It appears the project is already underway at that station. Workers were observed by a Planet Princeton reporter repainting yellow strips in early October.
At the Trenton Transit Center, workers will replace damaged timber boards that are located past the yellow warning strip on the platform in order to improve customer safety.
Improvements at the New Brunswick station include upgrades to the elevator system, an extension of the eastbound platform for extra boarding capacity, the rehabilitation of the station’s exterior brick façade, the installation of new lighting, windows, a new HVAC system, an escalator, and a paint refresh.
At the Elizabeth Station, upgrades include the addition of two new elevators, updates for two existing elevators, the addition of ADA-complaint ramps, and the construction of new high-level platforms, which officials say will also increase the platform area for passengers.
In February of 2019, Amtrak and NJ Transit announced that they had come to a financial settlement, and would reinvest all funds that came from the settlement and other agreements into existing and future joint Northeast Corridor infrastructure projects that benefit both Amtrak and NJ Transit. One of the joint projects is the Portal Bridge. Both organizations have said they are ready to begin full construction on Portal North as soon as federal funding is secured.