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PATH Trains Hudson & Manhattan RR Hudson Tubes PATH to get new signals in 7 years

PATH train riders can look forward to a zippier commute seven years from now when a new $500 million signal system goes into effect, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials announced yesterday in Jersey City. Coupled with a previously approved $809 million to replace the PATH's entire 340-car fleet, this outlay represents the largest investment in the 100-year-old rail line since the Port Authority took it over in 1962, said Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia.

If approved today by the agency's board, the new signal system will increase the system's capacity by 20 percent, said Coscia, who was joined at the press conference at the Exchange Place PATH station by Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy, Port Authority Executive Director Anthony E. Shorris and other Port Authority officials.

PATH trains currently carry 50,000 riders per hour during rush hour, officials said. "The new signal system . will allow us to run trains safely and efficiently at closer intervals, thereby allowing a lot more capacity to the system," Shorris said. The new system would be a significant upgrade from the current 40-year-old system and will allow trains to run closer together.

Currently, PATH trains running from Newark Penn Station to the World Trade Center during rush hour arrive every 3.8 minutes, officials said. The new signal system should shave one minute off that time, officials said.

Riders can also look forward to seeing new trains on the rails as early as June. The entire fleet will be replaced within three years, they said. The new trains all have three doors, unlike many of the existing trains, which have two, officials said. The new trains will also require less maintenance and have fewer breakdowns, Shorris said.

"I hear complaints all the time about how crowded the PATH trains are, especially during peak hours," Healy said. "This 20 percent expansion of ridership capacity can be directed at those peak hours and address some of those complaints." Sharon Peyton, an employee at the Newport Centre Mall who commutes from Newark Penn Station, said she's "satisfied now" with PATH service. "But if they can do anything to help it run faster, that would be nice," she added.

© © 2007 The Jersey Journal  

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