Commuter service on what was to become the Northeast Corridor Line began with the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1933, after the 11,000 volt AC overhead catenary was completed between Trenton and Pennsylvania Station. Penn Station had originally been intended for long distance passenger trains, with steam-hauled commuter traffic routed to the older Jersey City terminal. With the overhead electrification complete, the PRR could run trains of electric multiple units direct to Manhattan.
The weekday schedule in September 1951 had six trains a day from New York to Trenton, seven from New York to New Brunswick, two from Jersey City to Trenton and six from Jersey City to New Brunswick. That includes just the trains that terminated at Trenton or New Brunswick; many more trains from New York to Philadelphia and beyond carried passengers to some suburban stations.
By the 1960s the financial situation of the Pennsylvania Railroad had deteriorated. With the railroad unable to sustain the money losing commuter operation, let alone invest in improved physical plant and rolling stock, the New Jersey Department of Transportation became involved with maintaining the service. In 1968 NJDoT funded construction of the new Metropark station and in 1969 they funded 35 new stainless steel "Jersey Arrow" MU cars. After 1968 the service was taken over by the merged Penn Central railroad and following the Penn Central's bankruptcy the commuter service was taken over by Conrail in 1976, under a contract from NJDoT. The state continued to fund replacement of the aging pre-war MU equipment with the Arrow II and Arrow III orders. Finally in 1983 the State took over all of the Conrail operations under the aegis of a new statewide public transport agency, New Jersey Transit.
Read more about this topic: Northeast Corridor Line
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