Congressman slams NJ Transit over ongoing Atlantic City Rail Line closure

An Atlantic City Rail Line train to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia arrives in Lindenwold, N.J. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

An Atlantic City Rail Line train to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia arrives in Lindenwold, N.J. (Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

The shutdown of rail service between Philadelphia and Atlantic City that began late last summer is going to last a few more months, officials say.

New Jersey Transit announced Friday it plans to resume service on the line that carries approximately 2,000 daily commuters sometime in the second quarter, which begins April 1.

But that announcement is unacceptable to Rep. Jeff Van Drew, a Democrat who represents the southern Jersey Shore.

“The lack of communication and the delay of the ACRL’s restoration line is completely unacceptable, causing extreme frustration for South Jersey commuters and impacting our regional economy,” he said in a statement issued late Friday afternoon.

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In a release prior to Van Drew’s statement, NJ Transit Executive Director Kevin Corbett said he empathizes with the rail riders, who have had to utilize alternative transportation choices for months.

“I share our customers’ frustration and thank them for their continued patience during this time. While service reliability has improved since January 1, that’s no consolation when it’s your train that is affected,” he said.

Atlantic City customers will continue to get 25 percent discounts on tickets for alternate bus and rail lines.

The trains haven’t been running since September when NJ Transit was scrambling to install a federally mandated Positive Train Control, an emergency braking system, on all its lines by Dec. 31.

The Atlantic City line, Raritan Valley Line service to and from New York, and shuttle service between Princeton Junction and Princeton remain suspended.

NJ Transit says causes include an engineer shortage and equipment availability as braking system installations, inspections, and testing continue.

Van Drew said he won’t tolerate “South Jersey getting the short end of the stick.”

“I am immediately going to call New Jersey Transit and find out what the hell is going on and respond accordingly,” the congressman added.

Federal approval is needed before the lines resume operation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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