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N.J. Transit may reroute trains during convention

(The following story by Joshua Robin appeared on the Newsday website on July 8.)

NEW YORK -- In an attempt to reduce crowds during the Republican National Convention, NJ Transit officials said Thursday it might reroute some of its Penn Station-bound trains during the GOP gathering.

The move could require up to 31,000 daily passengers to take Port Authority trains or ferries across the river to reach Manhattan.

Long Island Rail Road has no plans to change service during the Aug. 29-Sept. 2 convention, said spokesman Brian Dolan.

Amtrak also has no plans to alter its schedule, said spokesman Clifford Black.

The trains that NJ Transit may re-route are on the "Midtown Direct" route, which now run express from Newark's Broad Street station to Penn Station, said spokeswoman Penny Bassett Hackett.

Under the plan, the trains would end at Hoboken, where city-bound passengers could hop on the PATH or ferry service.

"This is all about reducing the pressure on Penn Station," Hackett said. "The plan has not been finalized."

She said "Midtown Direct" trains carry about 31,000 passengers daily, including some 11,000 total during the morning and evening rush.

Hackett would not say during what hours the railroad is considering changing the service, saying officials would announce any changes shortly.

The mayor's office and the committee hosting the convention declined to comment.

(Staff writer Glenn Thrush contributed to the story.)

Friday, July 9, 2004

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