ATLANTIC CITY — Gov. Phil Murphy said Wednesday that service on NJ Transit’s Atlantic City Rail Line will resume May 12, two weeks earlier than previously announced, with added rush hour service into Philadelphia.
Service on the line, which serves both commuters going into Philadelphia from South Jersey and tourists traveling to Atlantic City, has been suspended since September.
The suspended Princeton Branch “Dinky” Line will also resume service May 12, Murphy said at a luncheon during the NJ TransAction Conference at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino.
Both lines were suspended, officials said, to allow NJ Transit to finish installation of the Positive Train Control safety system.
NJ Transit officials initially said the rail line would resume service in January, then delayed that indefinitely. In February, prompted by Murphy and a chorus of criticism from public officials, they announced a May 24 start date, just before the Memorial Day weekend.
“Riders in Atlantic City will find an improved schedule that was built in response to their needs and to the feedback of employers and elected officials,” Murphy said.
He said a second morning rush hour train would be added from Atlantic City to Philadelphia, “closing a gap in service that all too often left commuters just a minute or two late for their train to sit trackside in frustration for two hours or more until the next one showed up.”
There will now be three trains arriving before 9 a.m., instead of two, and five trains before noon, with reduced wait times between each of them, Murphy said.
The Atlantic City line stops at Absecon, Egg Harbor City, Hammonton, Atco, Lindenwold, Cherry Hill, and Pennsauken before ending at 30th Street Station.
N.J. Transit executive director Kevin Corbett said the added morning rush hour train was made possible by tweaking the old schedule, which included a late-night train from Philadelphia that few riders took and was scheduled mostly to accommodate a 12-hour required break time for conductors.
Frustrated riders, including those who commute from Cherry Hill to University City, had not been impressed by the Memorial Day weekend restart date and had accused NJ Transit officials of not being honest with them.
Entrepreneurs like the operators of Atlantic City Beer Festival were left without train service that had previously been used by thousands of customers.
Murphy said the first of six new classes of NJ Transit rail engineers was set to graduate, and Positive Train Control installation was complete.
“I recognize the challenges and frustrations that commuters have endured over these past months,” Murphy said. “I thank them for their patience.”