The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced that, starting today, PATH will operate nine-car trains on the Newark-World Trade Center line for the first time in its 100-year history.

Gradually over the next 12 months, says the interstate agency, PATH will place increasing numbers of nine-car trains in service and, by the beginning of 2024, nearly all trains on the line at peak times will be nine-car trains, from the customary eight cars.

“The addition of a ninth rail car to trains during peak hours is part of an ambitious program to increase capacity and provide a safer, more convenient commuting experience for customers” said PATH in a press release.

The rollout will be helped by the delivery of 72 new rail cars later this year to augment PATH’s current operating fleet of 350 cars. The new cars will be added to service over the course of this year and 2024. The first delivery of new rail cars to help support the nine-car program took place at Port Newark in September.

The nine-car train, says the agency, is an essential element of PATH’s plan to increase capacity on the NWK-WTC line by 40 percent.

The American Public Transportation Association cited the expansion in its selection of PATH for the 2022 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement award for North American railroads with more than 20 million riders annually. 

“The unveiling of nine-car PATH service builds upon my administration’s significant progress toward the modernization of one of the most important transportation networks in the world,” said Governor Phil Murphy.

Governor Phil Murphy and officials

“Today marks a crucial milestone in the continuing journey to create a state-of-the-art rail experience for our customers,” said Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole.

The announcement follows the completion of platform and infrastructure expansion projects along the Newark-WTC line to accommodate longer trains. The project has undergone rigorous independent inspection and testing as part of the preparation for Thursday’s initial introduction of the nine-car service.

Comprising 13 stations in New York City and New Jersey, PATH handled nearly 82 million commuter trips in 2019, a record number of passengers in one year, before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that significantly lowered ridership. PATH says it is rebuilding its ridership steadily and expects to achieve at least 60 percent of its overall average daily ridership by the end of 2023.