Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Main Line (NJ Transit)
The NJ Transit Main Line (or Erie Main Line) runs from Suffern, New York to Hoboken, New Jersey. It runs daily commuter service and was once the former north-south main line of the Erie Lackawanna Railroad. Some trains continue as far as Port Jervis in partnership with Metro North Railroad. The Bergen County Line splits off the Main Line just west of the Secaucus Junction transfer station and rejoins it at Ridgewood. Service is diesel-powered.
Departing the historic (1907) Hoboken terminal, the yards for the coaches are to your left. You then pass over several city avenues before entering the Bergen Tunnels under the New Jersey Palisades. Midway through the tunnel there are air shaft allowing light through and venting out the diesel fumes. Exiting the tunnel your train curves right onto the Main Line at West End interlocking in Jersey City. About a mile ahead is the former connection with the Bergen line (removed in 2003 during the Secaucus Junction transfer station construction). This is where in 1996 two trains collided head-on, killing two engineers and a passenger.
After the transfer station the Main Line runs through an industrial section of Secaucus. Shortly afterwards the Bergen line separates off on the new routing. The Main Line then crosses over the Hackensack River on the single-track Upper Hack Lift bridge. This bridge was built in 1958.
The one track continues for a brief distance until it once again becomes two, under the New Jersey Turnpike's western spur. The train continues through the Meadowlands and passes the first grade crossing at Valley Brook Avenue in Lyndhurst. The line curves slightly and passes under the 1903 Kingsland tunnel. Kingland station is shortly after the tunnel and is in an open cut. Just beyong Kingland station is Lyndhurst station, located on an enbankment.
After leaving Lyndhurst, your train crosses over the Passaic River on a swing bridge. The train passes under New Jersey State Highway 3 and approaches Delawanna station, which is served by limited weekday trains.
Next stop is Passaic, which is located on an enbankment. After Passaic, the Main Line has a stretch through some indusrial areas before the Clifton station. Clifton station is also located on an enbankment.
The Main Line passes under United States Highway 46 and the Garden State Parkway before it crosses under and over several streets in south Paterson. This portion of the line was single-tracked, then doubled tracked in a rehabilitation project in 2002. The line passes under Interstate 80 and heads into downtown Paterson. Paterson station is elevated, with a center platform.
Continuing north, the Main Line is on an elevated grade through Paterson, passing over streets. After several grade crossings in an industrial area, the tracks crosses over the Passaic River on a truss bridge. Hawthorne is the next shop, at grade level. After a long stretch, the train reaches Glen Rock station, at grade level at a crossing.
After Glen Rock station, Ridgewood Junction is reached. This is where Main Line will merge with the Bergen County Line. The line widens to three tracks. Ridgewood station is next, with Spanish-style design on the station building and platforms.
Next is Ho-Ho-Kus, also at grade. Waldwick follows with a abandoned station building on the northbound side and a footbridge connecting the two platforms. Waldwick Yard is just north of the station. North of Waldwick the line becomes two tracks.
Mahwah follows and is the last station in New Jersey. Crossing over the New York state line, the train arrives at Suffern, the last stop. The yards are located just to the north, under the New York State Thruway overpass.
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