A railfan grabs a shot of Amtrak's Acela Express as it races south (westbound) at well over 100 mph through NJT's bland Jersey Avenue stop in New Brunswick, NJ.
The Jersey Avenue station is a rather odd station on the NEC. The stop is located in an industrial area near Jersey Avenue in New Brunswick, NJ and lies between the Princeton Junction and New Brunswick stations on the NEC. Today, the 16-mile stretch between Jersey Avenue and Princeton Junction is the longest along the Northeast Corridor without a train station in the Garden State. The stop was built for the Pennsylvania Railroad and funded by the Federal Housing Act, opening on October 28th, 1963. The stop actually started out as an 18 month experiment to see if the station's easy access would generate additional use of rail service with the goal of diverting passengers from the downtown station, thereby relieving local traffic congestion and diverting passengers from other means of travel. It cost $256,185 dollars (close to 2 million dollars if adjusted for inflation today) yet has only a tiny station located on a spur in a parking lot with over 1,300 spots across from the southbound platform. With this layout, northbound trains cannot service Jersey Avenue and thus bypass the station en route to New York. Some southbound trains do terminate at Jersey Avenue, using a siding that is also used by special northbound trains that originate at the station. No Amtrak trains stop here. Unlike all other stations on the Northeast Corridor today, Jersey Avenue has low-level platforms (the rest are elevated), and is the only station on the line that is not handicap accessible. Despite all of these drawbacks, and the fact that the original free parking is now $6 per day, the station was a resounding success. There is actually a 2 year waiting list for parking permits.
In April 2014 NJT approved a contract for the design, relocation and rebuilding of the station platform to permit high-level boarding, along with pedestrian overpass, vertical circulation, improved parking, and bus connection areas. as well improvements to 5 miles of the existing Delco freight line. As of 2015, additional design and engineering work to reconfigure the station was funded, but no construction date has been scheduled. Meanwhile, a new "Transit Village" has popped up on the site of the old Johnson & Johnson complex on Route 1 which will see a brand new near by station which could be built in 2018. That station would be the first NJ Transit station on the corridor since Secaucus Junction in 2003 and Hamilton in 1999. It was about time, no?