The Skyway's future is in question: What's next?

September 16, 2015 44 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

6. Newark City Subway - Newark, NJ
Option selected: Modification of early 20th century streetcar subway into LRT

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New Jersey Transit's Newark City Subway opened in 1935. At the time, it was operated by the Public Service Coordinated Transport as its No. 7 line. In 1954, when Minneapolis' Twin City Rapid Transit (TCRT) shut down its streetcar system in favor of buses, 30 PCC streetcars were acquired from TCRT and relocated to Newark.

Photo courtesy of  SYSTRA Services at

When it came time to decide what to do with its aging fleet of PCC streetcars, New Jersey Transit replaced them with new light rail cars built by Japan-based Kinki Sharyo. In 2002, the Newark City Subway was extended to the suburbs of Belleville and Bloomfield, along track owned by Norfolk Southern (NS). This corridor operates at-grade and is has an operation agreement for NS to operate during all off-peak hours. Today, Newark's LRT system is 6.2-miles in length.

Back in Jacksonville

On August 28, 2015, Metro Jacksonville forum members were presented with a poll to provide their opinions on what path the JTA should take. The poll closed on September 11, 2015. The results are provided below:

A. 0% - Overhaul: Spend $70.2 million to keep the existing vehicles operating for another 20 years.

B. 71.4% - New Vehicles: Spend $85.1 million to buy new vehicles that will last 25-40 years.

C. 5.7% - Decommission: Spend up to $78.5 million to demolish it and payback $38.1 million obligation.

D. 20% - Repurpose: Spend up to $67.8 million to convert to "high line" and payback $38.1 million obligation.

So what's the lesson for Jacksonville and JTA? Use this as an opportunity to be creative and think outside of the box!

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at

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