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Princeton (NJT station)

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Title: Princeton (NJT station)  
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Subject: McCarter Theatre, President's House (Princeton University), Joseph Henry House, Prospect House (Princeton, New Jersey), Maybury Hill
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Princeton (NJT station)

1918–2013 location of Princeton Station
Station statistics
Address University Place
1 block north of Alexander Street
Princeton, New Jersey
Connections NJT Bus NJT Bus: 605 and 655; Princeton Tiger Transit and Free-B shuttle buses[1]
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 1
Parking Yes
Bicycle facilities Yes
Other information
Opened 1918
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Owned by Princeton University
Operator New Jersey Transit
Fare zone 19[2]
Passengers (2012) 1,021 (average weekday)[3]
Preceding station   NJ Transit Rail   Following station
Terminus Princeton Branch
  Former services  
Pennsylvania Railroad
Terminus Princeton Branch
Princeton Railroad Station
Princeton (NJT station) is located in Mercer County, New Jersey
Princeton (NJT station)
Location Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Built 1918
Architect Alexander C. Shand
Architectural style Collegiate Gothic
Part of Princeton Historic District (#75001143)
NJRHP # 1742[4]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP June 27, 1975[5]
Designated NJRHP March 17, 1984

Princeton is the northern terminus of the Princeton Branch commuter rail service operated by New Jersey Transit (NJT), and is located on the Princeton University campus in Princeton, New Jersey. At the branch's southern end at Princeton Junction, connections are available to NJT's Northeast Corridor Line and peak-hour Amtrak trains. The shuttle train between the two stations is known as the "Dinky",[6] and has also been known as the "PJ&B", for "Princeton Junction and Back".[7] At 2.9 mi (4.7 km), it is the shortest scheduled commuter rail line in the United States.[8][9]

Plans to relocate Princeton Station 460 ft (140 m) south, proposed by the university and approved by NJT and the Princeton Regional Planning Board, were met with opposition from some commuters, residents, alumni, and transportation advocates. Initial studies to build a bus transitway along the Dinky right-of-way as part of a bus rapid transit system have been conducted.

The historic 1918 train station closed permanently on August 23, 2013. Approximately 1,200 ft (370 m) to the southeast, a temporary station operated from August 26, 2013 through November 9, 2014, accompanied by various bus routes shuttling among the old station, the temporary station, and Princeton Junction.[10][11] The new permanent Princeton Station, designed by architect Rick Joy, opened on November 17, 2014, with construction continuing on a complex of arts and dining buildings in the surrounding area.[12][13][14][15]


The 1918–2013 station was built on a site 0.25 mi (0.40 km) to the south[16] of one that had been built in 1865.[17] It was constructed when the branch was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) under the direction of architect-engineer Alexander C. Shand, who had also overseen construction of the now-demolished Philadelphia Broad Street Station. Designed in the Collegiate Gothic style, it contained a stone station house, a stone freight house, and a canopy-covered platform.[17] The station has been owned by several different parties since the PRR era: Penn Central (1968–1976), Conrail (1976–June 1984), New Jersey Department of Transportation, New Jersey Transit Rail Operations (to October 1984), and Princeton University.[18][19] It is listed individually on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places[20] and as a contributing property on the National Register of Historic Places.[5][21]

Relocation controversy

The relocation of Princeton Station has been a matter of controversy since 2006, when the university announced its intention to construct a new arts center calling for the replacement of the current station house, the shortening of the trackage [27]

In October 2010, the Princeton Regional Planning Board passed a resolution supporting the continuation of train service.[28] On October 3, 2011, Save the Dinky and residents filed suit against the university and NJT to stop the move.[29] Soon after, the borough, township, and university agreed on a memo of understanding in which the school promised to fund a transit study and provide other benefits in exchange for rezoning for the combined arts/transit project.[30]

The station house has been the property of the university since 1984, when it purchased it from NJT, with guarantees of public use. That year it was listed on the state (ID#1742) and national registers (thematic survey) of historic places.[31] In 2012, NJT requested abandonment of that public use from the State Historic Preservation Office.[20] Save the Dinky contends that the move would breach the original agreement when the property was transferred, would cause inconvenience, and is poor planning.[32] The university believes it is a necessary improvement for redevelopment of the neighborhood.[22]

In December 2012, the Regional Planning Board gave approval for the project to proceed.[33] In June 2013, NJT approved a property transfer agreement with the university involving three parcels around the station and proposed arts center.[34] The U.S. Surface Transportation Board declined a petition to review the planned move.[35] The New Jersey court system dismissed the 2011 lawsuit in December 2013, and a related appeal in March 2014, and a follow-up petition in July 2014.[36][37] Despite these federal, state and local rulings in the project's favor, and the opening of the new station, further litigation continues.[38]

The historic Princeton station at night

Dinky Transitway

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and New Jersey Transit are conducting studies to develop the Central New Jersey Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit Project. Parts of the proposals call for the construction of the "Dinky Transitway" along the Princeton Branch ROW, which would incorporate the rail service and add exclusive bus lanes and a greenway for bicycle and pedestrian traffic.[39][40][41] NJT has indicated that moving the station would not be detrimental to its planning.[9]

In April 2012, the university submitted a revised plan for the arts and transit center, which calls for the extension of the station house onto the right-of-way for possible use as a restaurant. The Regional Planning Board has passed an ordinance requiring the land be preserved for a transportation right-of-way that could eventually extend farther into the central business district at Nassau Street. The new station house plans would require the board's approval before construction could start. According to the university, ownership of the trackage would have to change hands in order for the transitway to be implemented.[42]


  1. ^ "Public Transportation — Princeton, New Jersey". Municipality of Princeton. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Northeast Corridor Timetables".  
  3. ^ "Quarterly Ridership Trends Analysis". New Jersey Transit. December 27, 2012. Archived from the original on December 27, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2012. 
  4. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places — Mercer County".  
  5. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  6. ^ "Princeton University: Train Travel". Princeton University. Retrieved November 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ Rosenbaum, Joel; Gallo, Tom (1997). NJ Transit Rail Operations. Railpace Newsmagazine. 
  8. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: Princeton Junction & Back", People (magazine) Vol. 11 No. 13, April 2, 1979, retrieved April 15, 2012 
  9. ^ a b Schultz, Bonnie (June 2011). "Arts and Transit: NJ Transit Weighs In". Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Princeton Station: Temporary Station Opens Monday, August 26, 2013 as Existing Princeton Station Closes Permanently". New Jersey Transit. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Arts and Transit Project enters new phase with temporary station". Princeton University. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  12. ^ Davis, Mike (November 17, 2014). "New Dinky station opens to public, part of Princeton U.'s arts and transit project". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ Patel, Ushma (November 3, 2014). "New Dinky station to open Nov. 17, marking Arts and Transit Project milestone" (Press release). Princeton University. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  14. ^ "New Princeton Station Opens Monday, November 17, 2014". New Jersey Transit. November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  15. ^ Knapp, Krystal (November 17, 2014). "New Dinky Station Opens in Princeton". Planet Princeton. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  16. ^ Smith, Richard D. (1999), Princeton, Arcadia Publishing, p. 50,  
  17. ^ a b Meyer, Richard (January 2001). "Summary of Information SHPO Princeton RR Station". Save the Dinky. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  18. ^ "PU-NJTransit Agreement". Save the Dinky. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  19. ^ Deed between Consolidated Rail Corporation and the State of New Jersey. June 15, 1984.
  20. ^ a b New Jersey Historic Sites Council. "Draft Resolution #2012". Save the Dinky. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Operating Passenger Railroad Stations TR". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "FAQ:The Dinky". Arts and Transit Neighborhood. Princeton University. Retrieved September 28, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Renzo Piano selected to design University Place/Alexander Street neighborhood" (Press release). Princeton University. April 13, 2006. Retrieved April 2, 2012. 
  24. ^ Hersh, Matthew (November 29, 2006). "It's All Conceptual, but Talk of BRT Has Princeton Buzzing". Town Topics. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  25. ^ Hersh, Matthew (May 23, 2007). "PU Plans Still Relocate Dinky Station". Town Topics (Princeton NJ). Retrieved December 12, 2007. 
  26. ^ "More on the Dinky". National Association of Railroad Passengers. June 21, 2007. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Save the Dinky". Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  28. ^ "After meeting, no change to Dinky". The Daily Princetonian. October 1, 2010. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  29. ^ Knapp, Krystal (October 4, 2011). "Save the Dinky, Residents Sue Princeton University and NJ Transit to Stop Dinky Station Move". Planet Princeton. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  30. ^ "Memo of Understanding". Save the Dinky. October 2011. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  31. ^ "New Jersey and National Register of Historic Places". Identification of Historic Resources. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Historic Preservation Officer. Retrieved April 14, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Save the Dinky opposes NJ Transit application to abandon public rights in historic station". Town Topics. February 15, 2012. Retrieved April 10, 2012. 
  33. ^ Offredo, Jon (December 19, 2012). "Plans for $300M Princeton University Arts and Transit project, relocation of Dinky train win approval". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved December 18, 2012. 
  34. ^ Offredo, Jon (June 25, 2013). "NJ Transit board of directors approves land transfer for Dinky station move in Princeton". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved June 26, 2013. Under the transfer struck yesterday, NJ Transit would sell a 0.84 acre parcel located in the former Princeton Township to the university. Parking for the new Dinky station would be built on that parcel. NJ Transit would buy a 0.06 acre parcel from the university in the former township to realign the Princeton branch train tracks. The agency also would trade its existing public transportation easement in the former borough and township for another 1.47-acre easement from the university. 
  35. ^ Mulvaney, Nicole (July 25, 2014). "Feds: Approval not needed for NJ Transit to remove portion of Dinky track in Princeton". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  36. ^ McGrath, Brendan (December 31, 2013). "Judge dismisses lawsuit from Save the Dinky group in Princeton". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved July 19, 2014. 
  37. ^ Mulvaney, Nicole (July 9, 2014). "New Jersey Supreme Court won't review Dinky case at Princeton University". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  38. ^ Mulvaney, Nicole (July 28, 2014). "Group to keep fighting Dinky move". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  39. ^ "US 1 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)". Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. 2012. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Fact Sheet 2008". Central New Jersey Route 1 Bus Rapid Transit Project. New Jersey Transit. 2008. Retrieved April 1, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Central NJ Route 1 BRT". NJ Transit Bus Service: The Next Generation. New Jersey Transit. April 26, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2012. 
  42. ^ Cherkin, Bridget (April 25, 2012). "Princeton University submits revised plan for $300M arts and transit center". The Times of Trenton. Retrieved April 25, 2012. 

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • NJT rail station information page for Princeton
  • NJT Northeast Corridor Line schedule
  • Princeton Junction and Princeton stations (USA RailGuide – TrainWeb)
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