Senate President Stephen Sweeney
Deputy Speaker John Burzichelli
Assemblyman Adam Taliaferro

Today’s Sunbeam — Officials today announced $1.35-million in grant funds to help rehabilitation efforts on the county-owned short line railroad.

Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assemblyman John Burzichelli and Assemblywoman Celeste Riley announced that the Third Legislative District will receive the funds through the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

“Our infrastructure is in crucial need of improvement, particularly in Salem County. These funds are much needed, much deserved and will greatly improve both the transportation safety and commercial value of the third district,” said Sweeney.

The 18-mile short line is run by Salem County Transit, and connects Swedesboro to the Salem Port, over the Oldmans Creek trestle.

The short line delivers raw materials to several businesses in Salem County and takes finished products to be shipped via the Salem Port.

“The funding that we get for the line is vital to the businesses that are on the rail line now, and hopefully when get rail up to speed, we can encourage other businesses to tap into the line as well,” said Freeholder Director Julie Acton.

The rail line is over 100 years old and in such disrepair that it is only possible to travel 5 miles per hour, talking the operator nearly half of a shift to move the cars 18 miles from the switch yard in Swedesboro to Salem, in addition to the time it takes to load and unload cars.

The project will remove 1.86 miles of century-old rail and ties, level old rail bed and replace ballast, wood ties and rail with higher grade material, as well as rail, plates and bars.

Construction is expected to begin in March of 2013, officials said.

“A healthy infrastructure is vital to our economy, especially given the difficult economic times we face. With state unemployment at almost 10 percent, anything we can do to help commerce and business is greatly needed,” said Burzichelli.

Riley added, “Given the extraordinary fiscal times we are facing, these funds are certainly welcome to help improve our railways. As far as we are concerned, this construction can’t come fast enough for the residents of the third district.”

District Offices

Gloucester County

Kingsway Commons
935 Kings Highway, Suite 400
West Deptford, NJ 08086
Phone: (856) 251-9801
Fax: (856) 251-9752

Salem/Cumberland Counties

The Finlaw Building
199 East Broadway, Suite G
Salem, NJ 08079
Phone: (856) 339-0808 or
             (856) 455-1011
Fax: (856) 339-9626