December 9, 2010

N.J. Transit prepared for extreme weather conditions


Two jet-engine-powered snow blowers will be available to remove ice and snow from tracks and critical switching areas of New Jersey Transit's rail operations. In addition, all locomotives are equipped with snowplows to clear snow from the rails.


New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) Executive Director James Weinstein outlined the agency’s efforts to prepare for winter weather to ensure that its rail, bus and light rail service across the state is as weather-proof as possible.

“Each year, we begin preparing for winter weather months in advance so that our ‘winterization’ process is complete long before we see the first snowfall,” said Weinstein. “These preparations help ensure that the system keeps running smoothly and help to minimize delays and disruptions during inclement weather.”

The winter-readiness preparations include:

Rail Operations

  • Hundreds of rail cars and locomotives have been “winterized,” a process that includes checking onboard heating systems, ventilation, thermostats, weather stripping and electronic components, as well as changing locomotive filters and fuel from a summer blend to a winter blend.
  • NJ Transit's preventative maintenance program also includes the inspection and winter maintenance of more than 750 switches and switch heaters, overhead wire systems, 12 moveable bridges, and wayside power at storage yards and terminals.
  • Two jet-engine-powered snow blowers are available to remove ice and snow from tracks and critical switching areas. In addition, all locomotives are equipped with snowplows to clear snow from the rails.
  • NJ Transit rail operations has 20,000 pounds of salt on hand with the ability to obtain an additional 100,000 pounds, if needed.
  • Snow removal contracts are in place.

Bus Operations

  • Bus maintenance personnel have checked the heating systems, engine fluids, tires, windshield wipers, doors and airbrake systems on NJ Transit's 2,100 buses.
  • Bus snow-fighting equipment has been readied and ice/snow-inhibiting supplies have been restocked for winter to keep 52 bus loops, terminals and lots cleared throughout the state.
  • The transit system's bus operations has 600 tons of bulk salt on standby statewide, with each of its 15 garages stocked with bag salt.
  • Vendor contracts have been finalized to perform plowing of larger park/ride facilities. 

Light Rail Operations

  • Snowplows are ready to clear station platforms and park/ride lots.
  • All switch heaters have been tested and are working as intended.
  • Catenary icebreakers are ready for installation as needed.
  • Snow removal contracts are in place.

Stations and Terminals

  • All rail stations equipped with heaters have been inspected to ensure that they are in proper working order.
  • All public address systems at rail stations, light rail stations and bus terminals have been inspected.


All photos courtesy of NJ TRANSIT.


While the agency has taken all of the necessary steps to prepare for winter weather, NJ Transit is advising customers that in the event of a severe snowstorm, it may become necessary to adjust service.

In fact during the winter months, NJ Transit faces a number of service challenges presented by snow and icy conditions. Fine blowing snow that gets into locomotive engines can interfere with electronic components, and ice buildup on overhead wires across the rail system can cause damage to the power supply system. Buses are subject to local road conditions, and operators must often navigate around snow mounds and cars stuck on the roadway, particularly in urban areas.

During times of inclement weather, customers will be kept informed of the latest service information via njtransit.com, station announcements and broadcast traffic reports. Updates will also be sent through the My Transit alert system, which delivers travel advisories for your specific trip to your cell phone, PDA or pager.

In the event of extreme cold weather conditions, NJ Transit will keep its rail station buildings and waiting rooms open for extended hours.

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