2. The Floating Train Barge to New Jersey

Just south of the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park is one of New York City›s infrastructure survivors: a floating barge freight train line that runs from the 65th Street Rail Yard to Jersey City across the Hudson River. The New York New Jersey Rail, founded in 2005, is operated now by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Although the line is only four miles long, it serves as a small, but increasingly critical link for freight in the New York region, and cements the city’s commitment to bringing industry back to the waterfront.

“We’re an anomaly. Out of the 500 railroads in the United States, the nearest one that looks like us in texture and feel is the Alaska railroad,” says Donald B. Hutton, Managing Director of the New York and New Jersey Rail. The ride takes 35 to 40 minutes. The floats transport 14 train cars at once (the equivalent of 56 semi-trucks) on two tracks side by side, although the Port Authority is currently building new car floats that will have four tracks, accommodating 18 train cars (equivalent to 72 trucks) and providing faster unload and reload times. With the expansion, the line will have a capacity of 24,000 rail cars per year.

New York and New Jersey Rail transports a large amount of local lumber and building materials, as well as food products like soybean oil, Washington state apples, separated recycled materials from the nearby SIMS Municipal Recycling Facility and other solid waste like scrap metal. Special cargo has included New York City transit subway cars and oversize pieces for the Willis Avenue Bridge, which spans the Harlem River.

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