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US light rail revival hits New Jersey

TWIN AND SINGLE car trams will start running later this month on a new £750M line in New Jersey, just across the Hudson river from New York.

The system will join up with links to Manhattan by 2002.

The first phase was built under a design, build, operate and maintain contract - said to be the first of its kind in the Americas. This stretch will link Hudson County with Exchange Square, Jersey City.

Work was carried out by the 21st Century Rail Corporation, a multi-firm joint venture led by Raytheon.

Funding is from the NJ Transit Authority plus a substantial Federal Transportation Authority grant.

The same consortium has begun a second phase extension and eventually it is hoped the system will run to Manhattan.

New York's system will be similar to that which opened last December in Salt Lake City, traditionally one of the sprawling west US 'car cities'.

Utah Transportation Authority is also considering a second route to be built by 2002. The first 20km line, through the 1.8M population Wasatch valley urban area to central Salt Lake City, received an enthusiastic response from locals.

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