Riders on the Raritan Valley Line of NJ Transit have always had to change trains at Newark to reach Manhattan. New "dual-mode" locomotives acquired by the railroad make a one-seat ride technically feasible, but implementation has been slow in coming, as NJT pleads that the direct service would cost them money.  A trial service began for some midday trains in March, 2014; now additional trips will run in weekday evening hours, according to reporting by Katie Lannan in the Star-Ledger (Dec. 19). Four trains will depart Penn Station on weekday evenings beginning January 12, with equivalent inbound service. The expanded service was originally scheduled to begin in November, but NJT budgetary constraints forced a postponement. Advocacy by the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition helped spark the transfer of $910 thousand in Federal congestion management and clean air funds to finance the new trips. The group's chair, Somerset County freeholder Peter Palmer, said "We're only halfway toward our goal of full Mid-Town Direct service" for all Raritan Valley trains.

In contrast, other lines which might benefit from direct service to Manhattan have not seen any new trains; lines on which this would be technically feasible include the Montclair-Boonton Line west of Montclair State University, the North Jersey Coast Line south of Long Branch, as well as the Gladstone Branch, which currently has only two rush-hour trains direct to Manhattan, with transfers (sometimes involving lengthy waits) at other times.

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