NJ Transit announced on August 3 that continued installation of Positive Train Control systems will require cutbacks on Raritan Valley Line and Atlantic City Line service beginning September 4. A complete shutdown of Atlantic City service will take place; the Raritan Valley service change will eliminate through, one-seat service to New York Penn Station. The Raritan changes, originally announced for September 4, were later pushed back to Monday, September 10. The cutbacks are said to be temporary, with service to be restored early in 2019. Atlantic City customers will be provided with reduced-cost alternative service to Philadelphia, the northern destination of the rail line. Rail tickets to Philadelphia will be discounted 25% and honored on bus route 554, as well as at certain stations on the PATCO transit system; bus 554 will have additional service, and there will also be a shuttle bus between Cherry Hill and Pennsauken rail stations and Camden; rail tickets will also be honored on the River Line light rail between Pennsauken and Camden.  On the Raritan line, through service to New York is only offered on weekdays during off-peak periods; otherwise, passengers must transfer at Newark Penn Station. The one-seat service was achieved only after a long campaign by Raritan Valley transit advocates. The through trains will be replaced by trains terminating at Newark, with passengers riding connecting trains from New York; NJT says that the existing level of service will be preserved.

The changes are on the NJ Transit website, but the information is not easy to find. On the front page there is (as of this writing) an animated display that, occasionally, displays a notice "New Info for Atlantic City and Raritan Valley Rail Lines."  Click on this, which leads to a long page which explains the need for PTC. Scroll down to the bottom and you should find an icon "New for Atlantic City Rail and Raritan Valley Lines." Click on this and the new information will appear. Even more detailed information can be discovered by clicking on "News" at the bottom of the NJT front page, then on "2018 News Releases," and finally on the Aug. 3 release entitled "NJ Transit Continues to Advance Positive Train Control Program."

An article by Larry Higgs for nj.com, published in the Star-Ledger (Aug. 4) also describes the changes.

Although the official reason for the "temporary" cutbacks is for PTC installation, there has been speculation that the shortage of train operating personnel, particularly locomotive engineers, may have been a factor in NJT's announcement.