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Tube Stations

Since the closure of Manhattan Transfer there are only three surface stations:
  • Newark which is located inside Amtrak's Newark Pennsylvania Station;
  • Harrison, a very simple shed-like structure;
  • Journal Square. 

Hudson Tubes: Journal Square Station  in the 1930sEver since it was opened (as Summit Avenue station), Journal Square station had been and is the heart of the Tubes. After the transfer of the Tubes from private to public ownership, the PA demolished the original station (shown here) and constructed a totally new station with a modernistic high rise located above it. This new station complex was laid out to combine the tube station, a major local bus station, shopping center, office building, parking garage and operations center for the Tubes (renamed PATH). [The high  yellow building in the upper left is the movie palace,  Loew's Jersey, which still stands and which is now being restored to act as both a movie theater and a venue for live music.] Expand image and then click 5. Tube Stations to return

PATH Hudson Tubes Journal Square train through Bergen HllUnfortunately, the planners paid little attention to the economic and social structure of the neighborhood and the complex turned into an economic and social disaster, destroying scores of small businesses and bringing about a desert landscape populated by municipal and other governmental offices. Although the train platforms are on a lower level and were not directly affected by the construction above, the new building cut off light and turned the platforms into perpetual night. Due to sloppiness in oversight of the construction and the construction materials, the roof covering the platforms began collapsing a few years after construction and had to be rebuilt. Attempts are being made during 2001 to refurbish the station, paying special attention to improving the lighting.

In the very early 1950s Grove Street station was the first station [and in fact, the only station during period of private H&M operation] to undergo modernization, into a modified sleek Art Modern design with aluminum cladding and indirect florescent lighting. Since then the station has been changed yet again, now into the homogenized style PATH has been using for most of its refurbished stations. Here, probably from the time of the initial renovation in the 1950s the ornate capitals are missing, with riveted steel segments taking their place. The station originally had two exits, a northerly one to Grove Street and a south one to Henderson Street. That Henderson Street exit was closed down after the PA takeover but because of the upsurge in ridership plans are being developed for a new exit from the station.

Click for fall size image, then click 5. Tube Stations to return  Expand image and then click 5. Tube Stations to return The underground stations Grove Street, Pavonia/Newport, Christopher Street and 9th Street, all resemble each other very closely: two tubes which spread out to leave a narrow central island platform between them. The best stations for viewing the cast iron ring tube construction and the resulting relatively narrow central platforms are Christopher Street and Ninth Street. Unfortunately, the modernization of the originally round stone columns supporting the roof of the platform into clad quadratic columns is aesthetically jarring. This clickable illustration of Ninth Street station  shows thePATH / Hudson Tubes 9th Street Station, click for full size view. © B Klapouchy 2001 clash of the original curves of the tunnels with the straight line construction put in by the Port Authority renovations. The pedestrian exit from the Ninth Street station is also a tunnel, a long and curving tunnel. As is the case with most of the Tube stations in Manhattan, the Ninth Street entrance is not too clearly marked, since almost all stations had originally been entered through the surrounding commercial buildings, providing passengers with direct entrance to many retail stores.

14th Street Capital PATH Hudson TubesThe stations at 14th and 23rd Streets use side platforms instead of central ones and the north/south tunnels are separated from one another by a wall. At 14th Street the capitals, as in the clickable image to the right, are generic and do not display a letter or digit specifically designating the station as 14th Street.

Red and white had been the logo colors for 14th Street Mosaic PATH Hudson Tubesthe Hudson Tubes. There are very few of the original signs left. One of them, although partially obscured by a security gate, is at the Sixth Avenue IND, where the red and white mosaic sign directs passengers to Jersey City and Hoboken via the Hudson Tubes.

A peculiarity of 23rd Street station is that one has to first  descend from the station before going up to the street. This is  related to the Sixth Avenue subway which was built after the Tubes and whose tracks run on both outer sides of the Tube tunnels. With the recent expansion of the e-industry around the Flatiron Building and Madison Square the 23rd Street station has experienced a surge in passengers, a 9.4% increase in 1999.

PATH Hudson Tubes Newport Pavonia stationPavonia/Newport  station (originally "Erie" and then until May 1988 "Pavonia Avenue") has one center platform as well as one side platform, from the days when the Erie Railroad Terminal stood above this station. Even in the late 1940s 32 commuter and long distance trains an hour were running into and out of the terminal. Even today the capitals of the columns in the station display the "E" of the Erie Railroad [see the clickable image below]. Pavonia Newport as a PATH station; the E on the capital is a reminder of the Erie Railroad whose main terminal stood here in Jersey City. Photograph by B Klapouchy

The H&M station at Erie was not as closely integrated into the railroad station as the Tubes stations at Hoboken [Lackawanna Railroad] and Exchange Place [Pennsylvania Railroad] were. There was a substantial underground walk from the Tubes station to the Erie station. Under the name "the "travelator" the H&M installed a 100 foot long pedestrian beltway in this Tubes station, two decades in advance of such conveyances appearing in airports throughout the world. But, unfortunately,  the conveyor went into service in 1954, just two years before the Erie abandoned its terminal in Jersey City and moved to the Lackawanna terminal in Hoboken. In 1960 the small New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad ceased its operations at the Erie Terminal which was ripped down immediately afterwards. As a result, the number of passengers using the Erie (Tube) Station sank sharply and suddenly: from 20,000 a day to 300 a day (in 1980) and there no longer was a purpose for the conveyor. 

For years this tube station acted only as a transfer station from one line to another. The construction of Newport on the Jersey City bank of the river with residences, office space and a major indoor shopping center has Pavonia Station photographed by_wayne_whitehorn.jpg (100980 bytes)reversed the trend and the station is now a normal one. In fact, in 1999 the number of passengers using the station grew at the fastest rate of the entire system: up 7% to 3½ million passengers, while in 2000 the number increased by an additional 14%. Expand image and then click 5. Tube Stations to return On a daily basis riders increased from the 300 a day in 1980 to 8,750 in 1996, 11,000 in 1999 and 13,000 in 2001. Partly to accommodate the steep increase in ridership [even before the 2001 terrorist attacks], and partly to comply with the federal ADA, the second platform, long out of public use, is being readied for service, probably in 2002. This has also brought about the re-openingPATH Hudson Tubes Newport Pavonia  Station pasenger tunnel of the second passenger tunnel; there is still a long walk through the curving tunnels from the platforms to the escalators that lead to the street. As can be seen in the clickable image to the right.

Although Journal Square station developed into the de facto heart of the Tubes, in the original planning it was Exchange Place station which had a special status. When the Tubes were being designed, Journal Square (then still called Summit Avenue) was relatively insignificant commercially and  the business heart of Jersey City centered on Exchange Place. But still more decisive for the attention paid to the Exchange Place Station was the existence of the Jersey City Pennsylvania Station

Pennsylvania Station Jersey City; Click to enlarge, use your browser's BACK button to return to narrative Hudson Tubes / PATH / H&M RRThis station was located at Exchange Place and was the main station of the Pennsylvania Railroad for New York City. Although the PRR believed that the opening of the New York Pennsylvania Station (which occurred just after the opening of the Tubes) would take over all or almost all of the long distance passengers, the railroad still expected a large stream of commuter and local passenger traffic into the Jersey City Pennsylvania Station. (In fact, the Jersey City station was in operation until the end of the 1950s but with a very low passenger count at the end.) 

For these reasons the H&M planned an expansive layout for Exchange Place station, a layout which soon showed itself unnecessary because the importance of the Jersey City Pennsylvania Station sank much more quickly than had been expected and because the economic life of Jersey City moved westwards, away from the river and Exchange Place to Journal Square.  

The Exchange Place station is directly at the river bank approximately 84 feet below ground. The two tube tunnels coming from lower Manhattan begin to spread apart from one another, so that the station is almost 150 feet wide. This is in very sharp contrast to the other, narrow, underground stations. There are two tracks whose platforms are connected to one another through relatively long pedestrian tunnels. Overall, Exchange Place gives the general impression of a Tube station in London. 

Hudson Tubes Exchange Place PATH track plan from Terry Kennedy Collection. Click to enlargeThe two tracks that are in service now were to be the express tracks or through tracks for lower Manhattan. Three additional tracks that had been planned to terminate in the station and which were designed for the suburban traffic from/to the Jersey City Pennsylvania Station were never completed. The enlargeable diagram to the left is from the Terry Kennedy collection and shows the complexity of the layout. After the terrorist attacks on New York, Exchange Place itself was undamaged but was impractical to access because of the lack of a track set-up to have the trains change direction. Discussions were held on the feasibility of reusing the original trackage for turning trains until a new World Trade Center terminal is constructed.

Three elevators, extremely large and fast for the time of construction, connected the tube station with the street and the Pennsylvania Station. Reconstruction after the PA takeover resulted in a new street entrance with escalators as well as an 88 foot long elevator.

Hoboken Tube Station at opening; click to enlargeBoth Hoboken and 33rd Street are stub terminal stations: Hoboken  with three tracks, two center platforms and one side platform; 33rd Street with three tracks, two center platforms and two side platforms. Since 33rd Street now lies in a subway complex that was built several decades after the opening of the Tubes, its original vaulted arch construction has disappeared; in Hoboken, on the other hand, this construction is still very obvious.  Expand image and then click 5. Tube Stations to return Pavonia/Newport (Also note the picture on the Gallery Page) The Tubes' 33rd Street station is sandwiched between the IND Sixth Avenue Line below it and the Broadway BMT above it.

Until its destruction in the terrorist attack on New York the PATH World Trade Center ("WTC") station replaced the Tubes' Hudson Terminal (which was often referred to as Cortlandt Street). Hudson Hudson Terminal, later replaced by the World Trade Center New York; click to enlarge Terminal straddled Dey Street and was bounded on the north by Fulton Street, on the south by Cortlandt Street, on the east by Church Street and on the west by Greenwich Street. As noted earlier, in 1909 the H&M erected over the station Hudson Terminal, the world's then largest office complex which consisted of two skyscrapers. Because of political and economic disputes between New York and New Jersey that were related to the PA's takeover of the Tubes (and which are not worthwhile describing now) the PA demolished Hudson Terminal and erected on its site the World Trade Center, whose kernel consisted of two 110 story office towers: ironically the highest buildings in the world at the time of their erection.

Below the WTC the original five track Hudson Terminal station with its five-tracked loop was replacedHudson Terminal World Trade Center trackage comparisons; Hudson Tubes; click to enlarge with a new five-tracked loop with less severe curves and was renamed WTC. At the time of its opening, WTC was said to be the first fully air-conditioned subway station in the world. Here the Tubes/PATH tracks are approximately 80 feet below the street and on the lowest level of a mutilevel subway interchange, with  the IND, BMT and IRT trackage lying above them. The next level above the PATH tracks was the entry level with fare card machines and station personnel. From here a bank of eight extremely long escalators rose up to the shopping concourse, as large as many suburban malls, that lay under the World Trade Center complex. 

There are proposals to use the [surprisingly still extant] Hudson Terminal turning loop for downtown service until the World Trade Center station is rebuilt.

Two underground stations, 28th Street and 19th Street,  are no longer in operation. In spite of its H&M 19th street station, c.1906; click to enlarge name 33rd Street station is not located at 33rd Street but between 30th and 32nd Streets because the  construction of the Sixth Avenue subway caused the original 33rd Street station to be relocated further to the south. As a result, the 33rd Street station was now so close to the 28th Street Station that 28th Street was closed.  If you're quick of eye, it still is possible to catch a glimpse of 19th Street Station which was closed in 1955; it's easiest, if one looks to the right after leaving 14th Street while heading towards 33rd Street.  Expand image and then click 5. Tube Stations to return

[Additional photos and comments on the stations are in the Picture Gallery]


© BKlapouchy 1987-2001
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This page was last updated on December-17-2001 using HTMLpad.