Pavonia Terminal: Wikis


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Pavonia Terminal and others along the west bank of the Hudson River ca. 1900

Pavonia Terminal was the Erie Railroad terminal on the Hudson River situated on the landfilled Harsimus Cove in Jersey City, New Jersey.



The intermodal complex was built between 1886 and 1889. Across the river-facing facade was New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad, the name of the entity that built it, though it was also called Jersey City Terminal Station[1] or Erie Railroad Station The colloquial name is taken from the 17th century European settlement of Pavonia, New Netherland[2] which began in the area and the ferry that served it. It has been described as "a brightly colored Victorian eclectic three story terminal located at the foot of Pavonia Avenue to serve a twelve track" station. Besides the railroad, the complex was served by ferries, streetcars and the rapid transit Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (now PATH). The terminal was also used by New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway trains.[3] Long distance and suburban passenger trains reached the terminal by travelling through Bergen Hill via the Long Dock Tunnel and later under the Bergen Arches.[4] In 1956 the Erie Railroad began moving its operations out of the Pavonia Terminal and into the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad's Hoboken Terminal, and by 1961 had merged to become the Erie Lackawanna Railway.[5] The New York, Susquehanna and Western continued to operate until late 1958 when it was closed. The terminal sat abandoned until was razed in 1961.[6]




The Tenafly Station along the Northern Branch

The Erie Railroad's Main Line ran from Jersey City to Chicago via Binghamton, Buffalo, Akron with a spur to Cleveland. [7]The name and a portion of the route exists in the form of the New Jersey Transit Main Line to Suffern, New York. Parts of the contemporary Bergen County Line and Pascack Valley Line were also Erie operated, while sections of its Greenwood Lake Branch have been incorporated into the Montclair-Boonton Line. The Northern Branch is another line from the Erie era along which freight is transported and that may be revived as light rail service.[8][9] The last train to leave the station, the #1205 at 6:35 p.m. on Friday, December 12, 1958 was along the Northern Branch. The Paterson and Newark Branch and the Orange Branch were also parts of its suburban network. The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway main line ran to Wilkes-Barre[3]


The Pavonia Ferry begun running in 1851.[10], along a route that had been established some decades earlier as Budd's Ferry. It was taken over the by Erie [11] and sold to the Pavonia Ferry Company of Jersey City[12] for what was considered a low price of $9,050, at New York City Hall, in February 1854.[13][14] In February 1859 Nathaniel Marsh of the Erie Railroad Company purchased the lease on behalf of the Pavonia Ferry Company. He started a ferry which ran from Chambers Street (Manhattan) to the foot Pavonia Avenue on the other side of the Hudson River. Legal problems had prevented the Pavonia Ferry Company from establishing a ferry along this route. The New York and Erie Railroad paid an annual rent of $9,050 to transport passengers back and forth.[15] Eventually the railroad constructed its Pavonia Terminal on the landfilled Harsimus Cove. Surburban and long distance travellers would transfer from trains to boats for the passage across the river.

Its final two routes from the terminal across the Hudson to Lower Manhattan, one to 23rd Street and another to Chambers Street.

Many streetcar systems began at the Manhattan side of the many ferries that at landed there. The Metropolitan Street Railway system began after the merger of the Chambers Street & Grand Street (Manhattan) Ferry Railway and the Houston Street (Manhattan), West Street & Pavonia Ferry Railroad, on January 30, 1891. The roads were capitalized for $800,000 and $250,000 respectively, totaling a combined capital of $1,050,000.[16]

A January 18, 1903 letter from a Passaic, New Jersey reader to the New York Times, commented about the inadequacy of the boats of the Pavonia Ferry, which was then the property of the Erie Railroad. All their boats are old, small and entirely inadequate to accommodate the crowds during rush hours. The vessels then in use by the Erie Railroad, listed with first year of service, were Pavonia (1861), Susquehanna (1865), Delaware (1868), Chatauqua (1868), Passaic (1869), Ridgewood (1873), Paterson (1886), and J.G. McCullough (1891).[17]

New York Waterway re-introduced service to Midtown Manhattan (Pier 79 at West 39th Street) in the 2000s.[18]


The letter E on the pillars at Pavonia Newport Station

Numerous streetcar lines that served the station.[19] Eventually they (and indeed all of Hudson County lines) were operated by the Public Service Railway. The Grove Street started at either other Exchange Place or Hudson Place (Hoboken) passing by. The Pavonia and the Crosstown originated at the station. The Hudson Bergen Light RailPavonia Newport Station opened in 2002.

Tube Station

Originally named "Erie", the PATH's Pavonia/Newport station still bears the letter "E" engraved on its pillars. Opened on August 2, 1909[20] the station was built with only the island platform. The side platform added around after 1914 to handle the heavier passenger volume. It was closed in 1954 in order for the bankrupt Hudson and Manhattan Railroad reduce costs. The side platform remained dormant for nearly 50 years.[21] The northernmost stairway exit from the two platforms led to a steep passageway which originally went directly to the Erie Railroad terminal. In the 1920s a second passageway and mezzanine area was built over the existing platforms and northbound trackway. This second passageway and mezzanine area were also closed in 1954, but was reopened in the late 1980s/early 1990s after the station was renovated. Also in 1954 the first moving sideway, or travellator, in the United States was installed. Named the "Speedwalk" and built by Goodyear, it was 277 ft (84.5 m) long and moved up a 10 percent grade at a speed of 1.5 mph (2.4 km/h).[22] The walkway was removed a few years later when traffic patterns at the station changed.


Site of former terminal across the Long Slip. Ventilation tower is part of Holland Tunnel, which contributed to the demise of terminals along the west bank of the North River


The complex was built on the northen portion of landfilled Harsimus Cove. The southern part was the Pennsylvania Railroad abattoir and freight yard. A narrow slip kept that name, while another called the Long Slip was created and separated it from Hoboken Terminal. The only visible trace the Erie's waterfront complex that remains today is part of the right of way/viaduct which carried trains from the foot of the Palisades escarpment to the waterfront. Part of it runs parallel to Boyle Plaza (the toll plaza for the Holland Tunnel) and is used for motor vehicular traffic to the Newport Section of the city.[23]

See also


  1. ^ Jersey City Terminal Station
  2. ^ Jersey City Past and Present: Erie Railroad Terminal
  3. ^ a b NYSW Stations
  4. ^ Bergen Arches
  5. ^ [1] E-L merger]
  6. ^ Erie Lackwanna Railroad and Predecessors
  7. ^
  8. ^ Northern Branch 2006/2009
  9. ^ Northern Branch Corridor
  10. ^ [2]Raolroaf Ferries, p65
  11. ^ Article 9-No Title, New York Times, February 2, 1854, pg. 6.
  12. ^ New York-City, New York Times, February 16, 1854, pg. 8.
  13. ^ Corporation Doings, New York Times, February 24, 1854, pg. 4.
  14. ^ Erie Railroad Terminal
  15. ^ Aldermen's Committee On Ferries, New York Times, February 1, 1859, pg. 5.
  16. ^ Metropolitan's Capitalization, Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1904, pg. 1.
  17. ^ Pavonia Ferry Service, New York Times, January 20, 1903, pg. 8.
  18. ^ Newport to W39th Street
  19. ^ [3] NY Times 1903]
  20. ^ "Tube Stations". Retrieved 2006-04-14. 
  21. ^ [4] Pavonia plaform re-opening
  22. ^ "Passenger Conveyor Belt to be Installed in Erie Station", New York Times, 1953, October 6
  23. ^ Erie ROW

External links

Coordinates: 40°43′36″N 74°02′05″W / 40.726676°N 74.034757°W / 40.726676; -74.034757


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