Train traveling from Jersey Avenue to Liberty State Park.

(Photo: King of Hearts, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


The Hudson–Bergen Light Rail (HBLR) is a light rail system in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. Owned by New Jersey Transit (NJT) and operated by the 21st Century Rail Corporation, it connects the communities of Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City (at the city line with West New York), and North Bergen.

The system began operating its first segment in April 2000, expanded in phases during the next decade, and was completed with the opening of its southern terminus on January 31, 2011. The line generally runs parallel to the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay, while its northern end and its western branch travel through the lower Hudson Palisades. HBLR has 24 stations along a total track length of 17 miles (27 km) for each of its two tracks and as of 2017 serves over 52,000 weekday passengers. Despite its name, the system does not serve Bergen County, into which long-standing plans for expansion have not advanced.

The project was financed by a mixture of state and federal funding. With an eventual overall cost of approximately $2.2 billion to complete its initial operating segments, the Hudson–Bergen Light Rail was one of the largest ever public works projects in New Jersey. The system is a component of the state's "smart growth" strategy to reduce auto-ridership and to revitalize older urban and suburban areas through transit-oriented development.


Hudson County, New Jersey, is the sixth most densely populated county in the U.S. and has one of America's highest percentages of public transportation use. During the 1980s and early 1990s, planners and government officials realized that alternative transportation systems needed to be put in place to relieve increasing congestion along the Hudson Waterfront, particularly in the vicinity of the Hudson River crossings. After extensive studies, it was decided that the most efficient and cost-effective system to meet the growing demands of the area would be a light rail system, constructed in several phases.

The design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the system is part of a public-private partnership. In 1996, New Jersey Transit awarded a "DBOM" (design/build/operate/maintain) contract to the 21st Century Rail Corporation, a subsidiary of Washington Group International, an engineering and construction consulting firm later acquired by URS, then AECOM. Under the contract, 21st Century Rail would deliver a fleet of vehicles, a guaranteed completion date, and 15 years of operation and maintenance of the system, for a fixed price. The agreement was later extended to a 20-year period.

Original plans called for extending the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail north to the Vince Lombardi Park & Ride in Ridgefield, south to 5th Street in Bayonne, and west to Droyer's Point in Jersey City. In Hoboken, the line was to have originally been configured as a through-running operation, with an alignment built closer to the river which would have given closer access to both the PATH station entrance and the bus terminal. This was shelved in favor of the current stub-end station in the southern end of Hoboken Terminal and the current route along an existing right-of-way at the foot of the Hudson Palisades on the city's west side.

The light rail opened to the public on April 15, 2000, with an initial operating segment connecting Bayonne 34th Street and Exchange Place, as well as the spur line to West Side Avenue. Later that year, on November 18, the service was extended northward to Pavonia-Newport. On September 29, 2002, service was extended to Hoboken Terminal, which completed MOS-1, the first Minimum Operating Segment (MOS) of the project, at the cost of $992 million.

MOS-2 involved several extensions costing a combined $1.2 billion. The first extension as part of MOS-2, which brought the light rail system southward to 22nd Street in Bayonne, was opened on November 15, 2003. It also involved extending the line west and north of Hoboken Terminal into Weehawken. The line was completed to Lincoln Harbor on September 7, 2004, and to Port Imperial on weekends only on October 29, 2005. The line was extended from Port Imperial to Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen on February 25, 2006, and light rail vehicles began running seven days a week to Tonnelle Avenue. Bus service on connecting routes was modified so that there would be more direct connections to Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stations. The extension to a southern terminal at 8th Street opened January 31, 2011, at a cost of $100 million.

In early 2019, it was announced that service on the West Side Branch would be suspended for nine months starting in June 2019 to allow for repairs to a sewer line running along the right-of-way and that service would instead be provided by NJ Transit shuttle buses. Partial service was restored on the branch in April 2020 to the Garfield Ave. and Martin Luther King Dr. stations while the West Side Ave. station remained closed due to ongoing Bayfront-Route 440 extension construction. Full service to the West Side Ave. station resumed in May 2020.



There are 24 stations along the routes within the system. Trains run from approximately 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily.

8th Street–Hoboken, between 8th Street in Bayonne and Hoboken Terminal
West Side–Tonnelle between West Side Avenue in Jersey City and Tonnelle Avenue in North Bergen
Hoboken–Tonnelle between Hoboken Terminal and Tonnelle Avenue (weekdays only)
The system operates a weekday schedule along three routes or weekend schedule along two routes, whereby passengers travelling north of Hoboken Terminal are required to transfer at Newport to reach the terminal.

Bayonne Flyer express service operates on the 8th Street–Hoboken route during weekday peak hours, stopping at all Bayonne stations, Liberty State Park, Essex Street, Exchange Place, Harborside Financial Center, Newport, and Hoboken Terminal.

Park-and-Ride lots are available at East 22nd Street, East 34th Street, West Side Avenue, Liberty State Park and Tonnelle Avenue. In total, there are 3,880 parking spaces.

Paid transfer to the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) is possible at Exchange Place, Newport and Hoboken Terminal, where connections to NJT commuter rail service are also available. Paid transfer to New York Waterway ferries is also available at some stations. NJT and other buses serve most stations.


Many of the stations feature public art. A total of 30 artists have created 50 art works with various themes for the stations. For example, the Liberty State Park station features glass tiles representing a number of "fallen flag" railroad logos.


System map with connecting rail service. Click to enlarge.

(Original PNG: User:The Port of AuthorityVectorization: User:Pi.1415926535, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



Like most other light rail services in the United States, the HBLR operates on a proof-of-payment system, in which riders must present their tickets upon request during random fare inspections. Passengers must purchase tickets at NJ Transit ticket vending machines (TVMs) on or near station platforms. One-way, round-trip, and ten-trip tickets must then be validated at automated validators located near the TVMs, which date and time stamp the ticket for 60 minutes of use. NJ Transit's fare inspectors randomly check tickets on trains and at stations; as of 2014, the fine for fare evasion is $100.

As of September 28, 2016, a one-way adult fare is $2.25. Ten-trip tickets are $22.50. A monthly, unlimited pass is $70; holders of monthly passes can transfer to NJ Transit buses without an additional fare. Senior citizens (62 and older; valid ID may be requested), passengers with disabilities, and children under 12 may travel on the light rail at a reduced fare of $1.05. Customers who purchase one-way tickets can purchase "tickets with transfer" at a cost of $3.00. When validated, these tickets may be used for travel on the light rail system, plus a one-zone transfer to any connecting NJ Transit intrastate bus. Conversely, transfers purchased on intrastate buses are accepted on the HBLR. Valid NJ Transit weekly and monthly rail passes, as well as 2-zone or greater bus passes, are also good for travel and do not need validation. Like the rest of NJ Transit's other transportation modes, it does not accept the MetroCard nor OMNY although it has plans to create a new fare payment system in the future.

In May 2012, NJ Transit and NY Waterway introduced a monthly or ten-trip discounted combination fare for passengers using the HBLR and ferry at Weehawken Port Imperial. Monthly joint tickets are also available for ferry passengers using slips at Lincoln Harbor and 14th Street (Hoboken).

In February 2013, NJ Transit began offering free weekend parking at Tonnelle Avenue, Liberty State Park, West Side Avenue, 34th Street and 45th Street stations.


Train number 2017A at Pavonia/Newport. Click to enlarge.

(Photo: Injustifiiable at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


Rolling stock

The Hudson–Bergen Light Rail system has 52 electrically powered air-conditioned vehicles built by Kinki Sharyo and numbered in the 2000 series. The cars were assembled in Harrison, New Jersey. The original fleet consisted of 54 cars, but 2 cars were transferred to the Newark Light Rail. Each vehicle is 90 feet (27.43 m) long and has four sets of double-opening doors on each side, with seats for 68 passengers and standing room for another 122 passengers.

The Newark Light Rail system uses the same type of vehicle, with slight modifications to the trucks and wheels due to the different rails used.

On July 3, 2013, NJ Transit released lengthened light rail car 2054 as a prototype. The expanded car consists of two new sections, increasing length by 37 feet (11.28 m) to a total of 127 feet (38.71 m). Seating capacity is increased from 68 passengers to 102 passengers, with standing capacity increased accordingly as well. Overall capacity increases from approximately 200 per vehicle to 300 per vehicle. The prototype was placed on rotations through the three lines of the system over the next 6 months, after which, NJ Transit started to expand 26 cars in total, or half of the total fleet. The contract to expand the remaining balance of 25 cars was approved on July 9, 2014. The expanded cars were renumbered to the 5000 series.


Proposed expansions

Proposed expansions include:

Route 440/Bayfront; 18th Street, Jersey City; Northwest Hoboken; Northern Branch/Bergen County; Canal Crossing; Secaucus Junction/Meadowlands; Bayonne Bridge/Staten Island; Liberty State Park trolley

Transit-oriented development and urban revitalization

The light rail has been a catalyst for both residential and commercial development along the route and has played a significant role in the revitalization of Hudson County. Many of the stops are sited in vacant or underutilized areas, which are now beginning to see intense residential and mixed-use development. The line running along Essex Street in downtown Jersey City has spawned 3,000 residential units in five years. An 86-acre (350,000 m2) tract of land bordering Liberty State Park is being redeveloped into a transit-oriented development known as Liberty Harbor North, which will consist of 6,000 residential units and millions of square feet of commercial space. Two New Urbanism projects in Jersey City, Bayfront and Canal Crossing, are being planned with the expectation that new stations will be built in conjunction with their development. Other developments are either planned or already underway in Hoboken, Union City, Bayonne, and Weehawken, in areas very near to light rail stations.