N.J. Transit Approves Alignment for New Trans-Hudson Rail Tunnel

NEWARK, N.J. — The project to double rail capacity between New Jersey and New York took a step forward July 27, when the N.J. Transit Board of Directors approved the locally preferred alignment (LPA) of the Trans-Hudson Express Tunnel.

The Tunnel project consists of two new single-track rail tunnels to supplement the two Amtrak-owned tunnels that currently carry all Northeast Corridor commuter rail traffic from New Jersey into Midtown Manhattan. The project also includes a new multi-level station under 34th Street in Manhattan, which will connect with the existing New York Penn Station.

The original tunnels, built by the Pennsylvania Railroad between 1907 and 1910, were designed to carry a few long distance trains per day.

The Board’s approval of the alignment is the culmination of work that began as the Access to the Region’s Core Major Investment Study in 1995. In all, 137 alternatives—involving subway, rail, and ferry—were considered.

The Board-approved LPA outlines that the two, new single-track tunnels will be constructed under the New Jersey Palisades and the Hudson River, south of the alignment for the existing tunnels, deep underground to avoid disturbing the river bottom.

The new track infrastructure will connect with the existing commuter rail system to provide a one-seat ride into Midtown for thousands of N.J. Transit customers.

During the Major Investment Study process over the last decade, a ballpark cost estimate between $4 billion and $5 billion for project was developed.

In 2005 dollars, the project cost is estimated at about $6 billion because the scope of the work has been refined, N.J. Transit says.