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New Jersey Transit late last week marked the 20th anniversary of its weekday Midtown Direct rail service on the Morris & Essex lines. The introduction of the direct connection to New York City's Penn Station was a "pivotal" point in the agency's history and paved the way for increased rail ridership, NJ Transit officials said in a press release.The service also shaved 20 minutes off the commuting time for riders who no longer had to transfer to the Port Authority Trans-Hudson rail system or ferries in Hoboken, N.J.The agency broke ground for the new service in 1993. Infrastructure improvements included more than 7,000 feet of new track, installation of high-speed switches and construction of two ramps to support the connection tracks."Midtown Direct service has become part of the core fabric of NJ Transit's rail operations," said interim Executive Director Dennis Martin. “It has served as a driver of the region's economy, but more importantly, the quality of life improvements for our customers are priceless."
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