All Aboard. Like Now.

Catching a New Jersey Transit train from New York Penn Station is a breeze…IF you are already in Manhattan.

Catching that same train when it arrives in Newark Penn Station is another story. It really is quite easy. But because there are several transfers from where I live, it can induce stress, even in a frequent traveler (like me!), to ensure you catch that train!

Knowing what time the train leaves Newark Penn and working backwards takes some mathematical doing to avoid spending as much time in the station as possible.

Here’s the transportation process from my home:

I live about a fifteen minute walk (okay, it’s probably more like twenty and because I go with fifteen, is probably the reason I cut it too close) from the PATH train, that will ultimately get me to the train station. This train on the weekends is a little iffy. They run on a schedule, but you never know if there will be signal problems, delays or construction.

This train takes you right to Newark … almost. You need to switch at Journal Square, a transportation hub in Jersey City, which is no problem since you are literally just crossing the platform. It takes about five seconds. Seriously. But you have to allot time to wait for that train because of said issues: signal problems, delays or construction.

Accounting for these delays is important because it could mean the difference between getting your train in Newark, or waiting thirty minutes to an hour for the next one. Newark Penn Station is not a place you want to spend extra time if you don’t have to.

When getting on the PATH train in Journal Square, I make sure I am waiting on the platform for the car that will align me with the exit in Newark so I can just head directly to my train, and not waste any time getting myself off the platform.

Pulling into Newark…

Now I’m not usually cutting it THAT close because I don’t want to miss my train. I typically try to ensure I arrive into the station about ten to fifteen minutes before my train, which is more than enough time to get to the right track and buy a ticket. Again, because I rely on public transportation and I am forced to abide by their schedules, I’m just rushing for the train, plane, bus or ferry that I need…of course on the other end, when I disembark I’m perfectly on time, or pretty damn close to it!

As the train doors open, my heart beating ramps up. As anyone who takes public transportation can tell you, you never want to ‘just miss’ the train. Let me miss it by ten minutes, not ten seconds.

So the doors open and I jog, even though I know I don’t have to. My first glance, as I am speedily cruising through the train station to purchase my ticket, is to check the train status.

So long as it says ‘on time’ and not ‘all aboard’ I am all good. The ‘all aboard’ status usually goes up about five minutes before the train arrives. Those five minutes are important because they mean I am more than good and I don’t have to sprint up the stairs to my track.

Even with that said, I always get nervous I am going to miss my New Jersey Transit train.

I know you may be scratching your head saying, why don’t you just get the PATH train before the one you really need? I do. But without fail, it still causes me stress to make sure I am getting to the platform in time. I can’t breathe a sigh of relief until I am holding my ticket and waiting on the platform.

If I am traveling with someone who is worried (see: boyfriend), I have to act cool and collected because I know we’re good. If I let him know we weren’t good, well that would just add unnecessary stress, because he would have liked to give himself double the amount of time he would need.

If you have ever spent any time in that train station…you know why I don’t want to be there any longer than absolutely necessary. I think that is the cause of why getting to Newark Penn Station stresses me out.

Newark Penn Station contains a mix of some interesting characters. It’s a great place to people watch. I’ve seen degenerates peeing on the station floor and I have seen people getting taken out in handcuffs. If you’ve ever spent any time there, I am certain that you have a story.

Do tell!

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2 responses to “All Aboard. Like Now.

  • Melissa

    How about the time we were apartment hunting in HOB, and we took the train from Newark back to your parents house…that creepy guy who sat next to us on the train???GROSS!!!

    How about the time we were stranded waiting for the Transfer Train in Long Branch over 4th of July weekend-that was SUPER FUN…I think it was about 100 degrees out and the platform was packed with people while my father was waiting for us at the Point Beach train station (with NO CELL PHONE)…Oh NJT! you have provided us with so many memories 🙂

  • simply three cents

    Oh New Jersey Transit…thanks for the memories.

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