GCL Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the FAQ page. Here you will find the answers to the frequently asked questions regarding the project. You can always submit a direct question or comment to the GCL Project Team through the website.
The GCL is a proposed 18-mile passenger rail line between Glassboro and Camden. The GCL restores passenger rail service along an existing rail line in the communities of Glassboro, Pitman, Sewell, Mantua Township, Deptford Township, Wenonah, Woodbury Heights, Woodbury, Westville, Brooklawn, Gloucester City, and Camden.
The purpose of the GCL is threefold:
- To improve transit service along the Glassboro-to-Camden corridor.
- To increase mobility.
- To improve links between people, communities, jobs, and activity centers.
The GCL bolsters economic competitiveness in South Jersey, creates a robust and resilient real-estate market, and improves quality of life, locally and throughout the region.
By linking people to major medical and academic research institutions and other employment centers, the GCL increases the pool of workforce candidates, customers, and patrons, and expands opportunities for discovery, healing, and personal enrichment. The visibility and viability of existing and burgeoning businesses soar as foot traffic in and around GCL stations increases. Housing prices also escalate, as the desire for an easy commute with proximity to mass transit attracts new buyers in towns throughout the alignment.
Each GCL train will carry more than 300 commuters to and from their destinations. By comparison, a bus holds 71 passengers, while a car transports an average of 3. With less cars on the road, travel becomes faster, cleaner, and more efficient for all of us sharing South Jersey roads. The GCL will consolidate commuters into one vehicle, reducing traffic jams and providing improved transportation options for those who live, work, and play in Camden and Gloucester counties, enriching the overall quality of life.
Safety improvements will be made at 46 grade crossings in accordance with state and federal requirements. Improvements include traffic calming measures, sidewalk enhancements, lighting and security features, and intersection alterations executed with the intent of reducing accidents and keeping pedestrians and property safe.
The GCL is an investment in South Jersey’s transportation infrastructure. With approximately 132,000 people within half a mile of the GCL, there is a need for transportation alternatives to combat traffic volumes, environmental impacts, and car dependency. The GCL is a game changer.
In the first year alone, it is projected that ridership on the GCL will eliminate more than 27,000 peak-hour vehicle miles traveled. That contributes to a reduction in volume on I-295, I-676, NJ 55, and Route 130, as well as cuts in noise, emissions, and road deterioration.
The 18-mile corridor stretches from Glassboro to Camden. The GCL restores passenger rail service along an existing rail line currently used by Conrail. Stations will be ADA-accessible and located approximately every one-to-two miles.
“Light rail technology” refers to trains that are smaller and quieter than conventional commuter rail trains. Key characteristics of light rail include level boarding and the ability to operate on both a railroad right-of-way and an in-street alignment.
Three major public agencies have joined forces and renewed their commitments to the GCL project.
- Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) serves as Project Manager.
- As Project Manager, the Delaware River Port Authority is responsible for managing the overall project and fulfilling the tasks needed to achieve project completion.
- South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) serves as a project/funding partner.
- In this role, the South Jersey Transportation Authority assists with the funding of the project and advises on project deliverables when needed.
- NJ TRANSIT serves as a project partner.
- As a project partner, NJ TRANSIT advises on project deliverables.
The procurement method for the GCL is expected to be a Design, Build, Operate, Maintain, and Finance project delivery. This is referred to as DBOM(F). At this point in the preliminary engineering design phase, an operator has not been selected. Competitive responses to requests for proposals (RFPs) will be solicited and evaluated by the Project Team.
Approximately $1.6 – $1.8 billion will be needed to implement the project. This estimate reflects work done in the early stages of preliminary engineering design and the current schedule for construction. The estimate will be further refined throughout the preliminary engineering design phase.
A quiet zone is a section of a rail line at least one-half mile in length that contains one or more consecutive at-grade crossings at which train horns are not routinely sounded as trains approach the crossings. A quiet zone would apply to both freight and passenger trains. The GCL Project Team is coordinating quiet zones along the alignment to alleviate concerns about the noise levels associated with the new service. Enhanced safety measures (such as four-quadrant gates) are required in order to be approved for a quiet zone. These safety measures will be implemented throughout the GCL’s alignment.
The restoration of passenger rail service using light rail technology was the alternative preferred by the local communities and selected at the end of the Alternatives Analysis study. Five routes were evaluated, and the options were presented at public hearings in communities along the corridor. Selection was based on the following criteria:
- Has the highest new transit trip potential.
- Has the lowest capital and operating costs.
- Maximizes use of existing infrastructure.
- Links communities, universities, activity centers, and cities.
- Supports intra‐state trips.
- Encourages economic redevelopment and Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) within surrounding communities.
- Creates footprint consistent with surrounding area.
- Consistent with New Jersey’s Smart Growth initiatives.
- Supported by local and state elected officials.
- Received the most public comment support.
The following table shows estimated travel times between select locations:
|ESTIMATED TRAVEL TIMES BETWEEN SELECT LOCATIONS
(via PATCO Transfer)
The exact interval between trains at any specific point along the line cannot be determined until a final schedule is prepared. This will be done before the GCL is in operation.
Train service will operate seven days a week. From 5 AM to 9 PM, trains will run every 15 minutes. After 9 PM, trains will run every 30 minutes until midnight.
It is estimated that the GCL will carry 16,000 riders daily by 2040, per the EIS analysis. The ridership models are being updated as part of the preliminary engineering design phase.
Yes, GCL travelers will be able to make public transportation transfers at Walter Rand Transportation Center (WRTC) in Camden to extend their trips. Examples include:
- Transfer to PATCO
- Connection to Center City Philadelphia.
- Connection to the SEPTA Regional Rail system, trolley network, and Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines.
- Connection to Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) via SEPTA.
- Connection to Amtrak routes at 30th Street Station.
- Connection to communities within Camden and Gloucester counties.
- Transfer to NJ TRANSIT
- Connection to Atlantic City
- Connection to Trenton via River Line.
- Connection to New York City via the Northeast Corridor.
- Connection to multiple NJ TRANSIT bus lines.
The Project Team is evaluating the latest and alternative technologies and working with vehicle suppliers as part of the preliminary engineering design phase. Some technologies under consideration include hydrogen fuel cell and battery powered vehicles, as well as biofuel vehicles. The type of train selected will need to be capable of operating in the existing mixed-use rail corridor.
The selected train type will be compliant with ADA requirements and have low-floor cars to allow for level boarding. The trains will run in two-car sets capable of transporting more than 300 passengers. Stations are being designed to accommodate ridership projections for the next 25 years, and can be expanded to meet future ridership growth.
Stations with center platforms have tracks on both sides. Trains move in opposite directions, inbound on one side and outbound on the other. Commuters can transfer between sides without leaving the platform. Stations with side platforms have tracks between the platforms. Trains move in opposite directions between the platforms.
Many factors influence which type of platform a station has — space, track layout, and volume of commuters are only a few. The GCL Project Team is exploring the complexity of these factors now in the preliminary engineering design phase.