The Glassboro-Camden Line (GCL) is a proposed 18-mile passenger rail line between Glassboro and Camden in Southern New Jersey. The GCL corridor traverses Gloucester and Camden counties including the communities of Glassboro, Pitman, Sewell, Mantua Twp., Deptford Twp., Wenonah, Woodbury Heights, Woodbury, Westville, Brooklawn, Gloucester City and Camden.
The proposed line would restore passenger rail service along the existing rail line from Glassboro to Camden. Using light rail vehicles similar to the NJ TRANSIT River LINE, the GCL would offer quick, reliable, frequent service between the communities of the Glassboro to Camden corridor. Connections will be possible in Camden from the GCL to Philadelphia, Trenton, and more distant points in the region via the PATCO Speedline, the NJ TRANSIT River LINE, and bus.
A 2-year Alternatives Analysis study was completed in 2009 which recommended Light Rail from Glassboro to Camden as the alternative preferred by the local communities for transit expansion in Southern New Jersey. This project has now advanced to the Environmental Analysis phase. The Project Team, in coordination with NJ TRANSIT and DRPA, is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in compliance with the New Jersey EO215 process. More information about the EIS Process is available here.
What is the purpose and need for the GCL?
The purpose of this project is to improve transit service along the Glassboro to Camden corridor in Southern New Jersey with a focus on increasing mobility and improving links between the established communities and activity centers.
The Glassboro to Camden corridor is characterized by older, densely populated communities that developed along the rail line, as well as by major employment and activity centers including universities, medical centers and other institutions. However, connections between these activity centers and the people who access them are not efficient, and travel along the corridor is difficult. With regard to transit service especially, the corridor lacks competitive and reliable transit options between the major communities and activity centers.
Trips along the corridor are made primarily by car. Major roadways experience congestion during peak hours, and even greater travel demands associated with growth in population and employment are predicted for the future in Gloucester and Camden counties. This growth will contribute to continued increases in travel times, vehicle miles of travel, air pollutants, and greenhouse gases. In addition, this auto dependence has contributed to and continues to encourage development “sprawl” into open space and agricultural land, requiring new supporting infrastructure, and does not encourage growth in the established communities as promoted by state and local “Smart Growth” initiatives.
The proposed 18-mile GCL traverses established communities and would provide a new reliable transit system competitive with auto travel, linking activity centers, employment destinations and established residential areas. This reliability and competitiveness would encourage a modal shift from auto to transit, and contribute to reductions in congestion, travel times, vehicle miles of travel, air pollutants, and greenhouse gases. By locating the proposed GCL within or adjacent to the existing Conrail railroad right-of-way would minimize property acquisition and take advantage of an underutilized transportation corridor. Moreover, its location amid established communities would encourage growth and economic development consistent with “Smart Growth” programs and policies at the local, state, and regional level.
The following goals were derived from the needs of the communities along the Glassboro to Camden corridor and Southern New Jersey as a whole, as articulated during the public outreach and analyses performed during the Alternatives Analysis study.
- Provide More Transit Choices and Improved Quality of Service
- Develop a Transit Network that Improves Links between People and Activity Centers
- Reduce Highway Congestion with Competitive Transit Investment
- Maximize Existing Transportation Assets and Minimize Impacts to the Environment
- Support State and Local Planned Growth Initiatives
- Promote Economic Development and Improve Quality of Life
The alternatives being considered in the EIS include:
Light Rail Alternative: Based on the results of the 2009 Alternatives Analysis (AA) study of transit options, light rail service from Glassboro to Camden was selected as the alternative preferred by the local communities to provide expanded transit service in Gloucester and Camden counties, New Jersey. The AA aimed to recommend a specific transportation investment and corridor after rigorous comparative evaluation of five alternatives, relative to satisfying the articulated needs and goals of the AA study area. This analysis and decision-making was advanced through an open environment that featured extensive public and stakeholder outreach and agency coordination. Upon completion of the comprehensive alternatives identification, analysis and evaluation process, the alternative for a light rail transit system located mainly within the Conrail freight rail right-of-way from Camden to Glassboro was selected. This alternative will be the main focus of the Draft EIS assessment and documentation.
The Light Rail Alternative would traverse the communities of Glassboro, Pitman, Mantua Township, Deptford Township, Wenonah, Woodbury Heights, Woodbury, Westville, Brooklawn, Gloucester City, and Camden. The new line would primarily run along Conrail’s freight alignment with the northern segment in Camden following a new right-of-way adjacent to I-676 before entering an in-street alignment. This alignment is roughly parallel to NJ Route 45 and Woodbury-Glassboro Road. In Camden, transfers would be possible to the PATCO Lindenwold Line and the NJ TRANSIT River LINE and bus.
The Light Rail Alternative would use diesel-powered light rail vehicles, operating on new dedicated tracks and/or sharing portions of Conrail track. This alternative would serve approximately fourteen (14) new stations along the alignment; station locations will be refined during the EIS phase.
- No Action Alternative: This Alternative is included in the Draft EIS as a means of comparing and evaluating the impacts and benefits of the GCL alternatives. The No Action Alternative represents future conditions in the EIS analysis year of 2040 without the GCL Project. The No Action Alternative includes the existing transit and transportation system in Southern New Jersey plus planned improvements for which the need, commitment, financing, and public and political support have been identified, and which may reasonably be expected to be implemented.
- Transportation System Management (TSM) Alternative: A TSM alternative was initially identified during the scoping process and consisted of enhancements and upgrades to the existing transportation system to address some of the needs and purpose of the project at less capital cost. However, the initial screening analysis of this alternative resulted in the determination that the TSM alternative for the corridor would provide no appreciable difference in transportation services or accessibility outside of the existing bus service in the corridor. As a result, the TSM alternative has been dropped as a viable option and will not be carried forward for further consideration in the EIS.
The concept of providing improved passenger rail access to Southern New Jersey dates back to the 1930’s, with many studies addressing various corridors and transit technologies. The most recent impetus for improved transit began in 2003 when DRPA/PATCO initiated the “Southern New Jersey to Philadelphia Transit Study”, completed in 2005. The study concluded with a short list of recommendations, including new transit service along the Conrail railroad right-of-way from Glassboro to Camden. These recommendations formed the basis for the Southern New Jersey to Philadelphia Mass Transit Expansion Alternative Analysis, conducted from 2007 to 2009. The AA Study examined five potential transit alternatives for the region and evaluated these against numerous quantitative and qualitative criteria. As a result of a comprehensive analysis of these alternatives, the Light Rail alternative from Glassboro to Camden, located along and primarily within the existing Conrail railroad right-of-way, was chosen as the alternative preferred by the local communities. The EIS began in 2010 as part of the federal NEPA process. In 2017, the GCL project transitioned to the State of New Jersey EO 215 Process.
Alternatives Analysis Study Documents
- Appendix A: Existing Study Area Conditions (PDF 1.68 MB)
Appendix B: Land Use and Demographic Maps:
• Demographic and Land Use Map (PDF 7.28 MB)
• Income and Demographic Maps (PDF 7.25 MB)
• Environmental Land Use and Zone Maps (PDF 3.53 MB)
- Appendix C: Public Outreach Materials (PDF 7.64 MB)
- Appendix D: Ridership and Cost Methodology (PDF 30k)
To view additional documents and downloads from previous phases of the GCL, please visit the Project Archive Folder by clicking here.