This reconstruction was done by New Jersey Transit (NJT) to free up the River Line and its Weehawken Tunnel for use by their proposed Waterfront Light Rail Line. Conrail uses the River Line to bring West Shore trains from Selkirk into the South Kearny and Meadows Yards. With the new layout, they will continue down the Northern Branch and hook directly into the yard.
While the new movements are being made, there two more construction projects that are going to be undertaken before Conrail will convey the River Line to NJ Transit. These other two elements are grade separating the Northern Branch/Patterson Plank Road crossing and a double stack clearance project along the Northern Branch which I can't recall now.
Another advantage of the Marion changes is Conrail's ability to make direct movements between their Croxton Yard and the Meadows/S. Kearny complex. These moves were formerly made by pulling through Journal Square and reversing.
The area a bit north of Marion, known as West End Junction, has been completely reworked by Conrail in the past few years. Now, most of their yards in the area are directly linked. The only direct connections now missing is from the National Docks Line to the South Kearny Yards and from the West Shore Line to the Croxton Yard [On these points I'm 99 and 44/100 % sure :) ].
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Last updated: 4 April 1999