Union Station is the first stop on the Raritan Valley Line and is only a 1.5 mile walk from the Elizabeth Station on the Northeast Corridor. The stop opened as an infill station in 2003 (the first new stop since the 1920s) and first appears in the April timetable. The station cost $24.8 million with construction beginning in 2002. It is located on the Lehigh Line that the Central Railroad of New Jersey (now called Raritan Valley Line) has used to reach and terminate at Newark on the Northeast Corridor since the Aldene connection was built in 1967. Before that trains continued straight, stopping just beneath the NEC's Elizabeth Station to the Jersey City Communipaw Passenger Terminal. The station is located at Keen University and the platform signs alternate between Keen Unversity and the direction of travel beneath the Union Signs. Signs at the station entrances on street level say Union Station, meaning I can claim New Jersey has one although this one is named after a location and not the usual reason, a unified terminal so all railroads service the same station. The stop receives base service hourly on weekdays and weekends with more frequent service during rush hours.
The stop is located along the Lehigh Line which has two tracks, is elevated on an embankment and sees plenty of freight traffic. This means both tracks along the six car long high-level island platform have Gauntlet Track to allow wide freight trains to pass without fear of sideswiping the high-level platform. At both ends of the platform there are gated off staircases down to small low-level platforms whose purpose I don't fully understand. The single platform begins just south of the overpass of Morris Avenue although there isn't an exit here. The one exit is towards the southern two thirds of the platform where there is a canopy on the platform. This canopy has two blue enclosed shelters before each gives way to its own staircase (two in total). There is a central elevator. These lead down to the pedestrian underpass. This underpass is decorated with Union Due East/Due West by Gregg LeFevre, assisted by William Mutter, 2003, in ceramic tile. It shows the world map just at the latitude of Union, New Jersey around the globe to Babai Gaxum, China which is exactly apposite Union in terms of latitude.
The underpass only has one legal exit. The NW end leads to a very tall fence by some industry along an abandoned roadway with a No Exit sign. The SW end leads directly into the wide canopy of the street level station house. This wide canopy, covers two separate buildings and has a tall gabled roof that includes a middle clock tower. It is almost exactly the same length as the canopy on the paltform Brick beams hold up the roof and there is an underlying framework of blue metal. There are two buildings on each side of the entrance to the platform and this area is where the station's 2 TVMs are. One building contains a modern enclosed waiting room with the standard metal benches. A newsstand, called News Plus was closed and looked abandoned when I visited. The other building contains Rockn' Joe. The platform leads out to a large about 500 space parking lot with both daily ($3.50) and permit ($60 a month parking). There is also a new Transit Oriented Development of rental apartments called AVE directly along the platform at the station entrance. The only entrance roadway into the station from Green Lane and Conant Street has a decorative beams holding up a miniature railroad trestle along the trestle is a slightly comical looking mini steam engine and tender with three people standing on the tender. The steam engine is named Union and the tender says Lehigh Valley. It is L.V.R.R. &mdash 1855 by George Mossman Greenamyer, 2004
All Photos taken on 1 February, 2012