New Jersey Transit debuted its new railroad station in East Rutherford with an inaugural train trip from Hoboken last Monday. The train made a stop along the way – in Secaucus – before reaching its final destination, a mere 20 minutes later, in the shadow of Giants Stadium.
Ultimately, people will be able to use the train to travel among Hoboken, Secaucus, the Meadowlands Sports Complex, and the Xanadu entertainment development.
For now, the line will only run on weekends for specific events.
Various state VIPs, including Gov. Jon Corzine, were on board for the ceremonial trip. Secaucus Mayor Dennis Elwell, Hoboken Mayor Peter Cammarano, and U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman were also along for the ride.
Work was recently completed on the two-mile rail spur that links the Pascack Valley Line in Hoboken and Secaucus to the Sports Complex, which includes Giants Stadium, Meadowlands Racetrack, and the Izod Center, current home of the New York Nets basketball team. The Izod Center is also a major concert venue for popular music acts.
Area residents, sports fans, and NJ Transit hope the new spur will cut the number of people who drive to sporting events, particularly Jets and Giants games, and clog the Turnpike for hours getting in and out of the parking lot.
It’s estimated that 6 million people visit Giants Stadium and the nearby Izod Center each year.
The train station was integral to efforts to address traffic congestion before the completion of Meadowlands Stadium.
The $213 million effort to bring rail service to Giants Stadium, where both the New York Giants and New York Jets play their home games, was a collaborative venture between NJ Transit, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The train station was integral to the teams’ efforts to address traffic congestion before the completion of the new Meadowlands Stadium, which will replace Giants Stadium next year.
“This service is great news for all our faithful fans throughout the tri-state region, whether they’re making the trip to the Meadowlands from other parts of New Jersey or from New York, Long Island, or Connecticut,” said Jets owner Woody Johnson, who made the inaugural train ride last week with the governor.
John Mara, co-owner of the Giants, agreed.
“This train service complements our efforts to improve the fan experience here at the stadium,” Mara said. “This new line gives our fans more ways to get to our games and back home in a comfortable, hassle-free manner.”
For the time being, train service will only be available on days when large events – ones expected to attract 50,000 or more fans – are being held at the Sports Complex. This includes music concerts, Jets and Giants games, and other sporting events. Service will be available 3 1/2 hours prior to an event and will continue until two hours after the event ends.
Service to the Meadowlands will run every 10 to 20 minutes. Riders coming from Hoboken can expect a 20 minute trip, those coming from Secaucus will see a 10-minute ride.
Although daily service will eventually be added, there is no daily service at this time. Daily schedules to and from the Meadowlands will likely be added after Xanadu makes its debut, according to NJ Transit.
Xanadu, which was originally scheduled to open last year, has had its opening date pushed back several times. The current planned opening date for Xanadu is summer 2010.
Fans attending the Gold Cup soccer match this weekend can begin boarding trains for the Meadowlands Rail Station at 11:30 a.m. The last train for the evening will depart the Meadowlands at 6:48 p.m.
For smaller events attracting fewer than 50,000 people NJ Transit will continue to operate shuttle bus service between the Secaucus station and the Meadowlands.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.