Exchange Place station (Pennsylvania Railroad)

Last updated
Jersey City
Pennsylvania Railroad's Jersey City Station, 1893
Coordinates 40°42′59″N74°01′57″W / 40.71648°N 74.03238°W / 40.71648; -74.03238 Coordinates: 40°42′59″N74°01′57″W / 40.71648°N 74.03238°W / 40.71648; -74.03238
Operated by Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)
Connections BSicon TRAIN3.svg Ferry symbol.svg
Opened1834 (1834)
Closed1961 (1961)
Former services
Preceding station Pennsylvania Railroad Following station
Terminus Jersey City Ferry Cortlandt Street
Manhattan Transfer
Until 1937
toward Chicago
Main Line Terminus
Marion New Brunswick Line
Preceding station Lehigh Valley Railroad Following station
Manhattan Transfer
toward Buffalo
Main Line
Until 1913

The Pennsylvania Railroad Station was the intermodal passenger terminal for the Pennsylvania Railroad's (PRR) vast holdings on the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey. By the 1920s the station was called Exchange Place. The rail terminal and its ferry slips were the main New York City station for the railroad until the opening in 1910 of New York Pennsylvania Station, made possible by the construction of the North River Tunnels. It was one of the busiest stations in the world for much of the 19th century.


The terminal was on Paulus Hook, which in 1812 became the landing of the first steam ferry service in the world, and to which rail service began in 1834. Train service to the station ended in November 1961 and demolition of the complex was completed in 1963. Part of the former terminal complex is now the PATH system's Exchange Place Station.

The station was one of five passenger railroad terminals on the western shore of the Hudson River during the 19th and 20th centuries, the others being Weehawken, Hoboken, Pavonia, and Communipaw, with Hoboken being the only station still in use. The PRR referred to the location simply as "Jersey City," and if necessary to distinguish it from other railroads' terminals, as the Pennsylvania station.


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Map of the five train-to-ferry transfer points along the west shore of Hudson River circa 1900

As early as July 1764 [1] a ferry began operating from Paulus Hook to the foot of Courtland Street (where Cortland Street Ferry Depot would be built). [2] The first steam ferry service in the world began between Paulus Hook and Manhattan in 1812, [3] and the New Jersey Rail Road and Transportation Company opened a rail line from Newark to Paulus Hook, then part of the newly incorporated City of Jersey, in 1834. [4] The PRR acquired the railroad in 1871 and replaced the terminal in 1876 and yet again in 1888-1892. [5] Competition along the Northeast Corridor between New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, principally between the PRR and Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, was fierce. These railroads both used terminals in Jersey City, there being no tunnels or bridges to Manhattan, and for much of the 19th century, Exchange Place was one of the busiest rail stations in the world.

At Exchange Place passengers could move between the trains and ferries without going outside, and crossed the river on the Jersey City Ferry to Cortland Street Ferry Depot in lower Manhattan, to 34th Street in Midtown Manhattan or via the Desbrosses Street Ferry which connected to the Metropolitan Crosstown Line and the Ninth Avenue Elevated at Desbrosses St.. [6]

In the 1870s the PRR began exploring ways to reach New York directly (see New York Tunnel Extension). A number of realignments produced a straighter track, with the final realignment, a new passenger line from Harrison to east of the new bridge (now the PATH Lift Bridge) over the Hackensack River, opening in 1900. [7] (The old freight line still exists as part of the Passaic and Harsimus Line.)

In 1910 the PRR opened New York Penn Station in Manhattan. The new station used the North River Tunnels under the Hudson River to reach New York City from the south for the first time. Penn Station's opening led to reduced PRR traffic at Exchange Place. On October 1, 1911 the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, a rapid transit system (now called Port Authority Trans Hudson or PATH), began running over the PRR line west of Waldo Yard, connecting with the new Manhattan Transfer station at Harrison. [8] The Lehigh Valley Railroad, which had operated its Black Diamond train from Buffalo, New York since 1896, ended service to Exchange Place in 1913. [9] Ferry service at Exchange Place ended in 1949. The last PRR passenger train used the branch on November 17, 1961. [10] [11] The PATH continues to use the line through Bergen Hill to the Journal Square Transportation Center and onward to Newark Penn Station.

The Exchange Place terminal fell into disuse. [12] The last of the buildings of the complex, along with the elevated portion of the rail line, were demolished in 1963. [13] Part of the former terminal complex is now the PATH system's Exchange Place Station and the Harborside Financial Center, while the ferry slips have been replaced with J. Owen Grundy Waterfront Park. Hudson-Bergen Light Rail maintains two stations in the district while ferries are now served by the Paulus Hook Ferry Terminal. The trestle carrying PRR tracks above what is now Christopher Columbus Drive between Exchange Place and Waldo Yard was removed.

See also

Related Research Articles

New York Tunnel Extension

The New York Tunnel Extension was a major project of the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) at the beginning of the 20th century, to improve railroad access throughout the greater New York City area. The project comprised tunnels and approaches from New Jersey and Long Island to Midtown Manhattan, leading to the PRR's massive new station, New York Penn Station.

Timeline of Jersey City, New Jersey-area railroads

For the purposes of this article, the Jersey City area extends North to Edgewater, South to Bayonne and includes Kearny Junction and Harrison but not Newark. Many routes east of Newark are listed here.

Manhattan Transfer station railway station

Manhattan Transfer was a passenger transfer station in Harrison, New Jersey, east of Newark, 8.8 miles (14.2 km) west of New York Penn Station on the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) main line, now Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. It operated from 1910 to 1937 and consisted of two 1,100 feet (340 m) car-floor-level platforms, one on each side of the PRR line. It was also served by the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad. There were no pedestrian entrances or exits to the station, as its sole purpose was for passengers to change trains.

Paulus Hook, Jersey City neighborhood of Jersey City, New Jersey

Paulus Hook is a community on the Hudson River waterfront in Jersey City, New Jersey, located one mile across the river from Manhattan. The name Hook comes from the Dutch word "hoeck" which translates into "point of land." This "point of land" has been described as an elevated area, the location of which is today bounded by Montgomery, Hudson, Dudley and Van Vorst Streets. The neighborhood's main street is the north- and south-running Washington Street. The waterfront of Paulus Hook is along the basin of the Morris Canal in a park with a segment of Liberty State Park. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail has a Paulus Hook stop at Essex Street and the Liberty Water Taxi at Warren Street. The introduction of the light rail and development of office buildings on the Hudson Waterfront have brought more businesses to Morris Street including a number of restaurants with outdoor seating and small neighborhood shops.

Exchange Place (Jersey City) Neighborhood of Jersey City in New Jersey, United States

Exchange Place is a district of Downtown Jersey City, New Jersey, United States, that is sometimes referred to as "Wall Street West" due to the concentration of financial companies that have offices there. The namesake is a square, about 200 feet long, at the foot of Montgomery Street at the Hudson River. This square was created by landfilling the shore at Paulus Hook, and has been a major transportation hub since the colonial era.

The Federal Express was an overnight named passenger train run by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad between Washington, DC's Union Station and Boston, Massachusetts's South Station from 1912 to 1971. Train numbers on both railroads were 172 northbound and 173 southbound. At different times, its route has taken it across the Hudson River via a car float between Port Morris and Jersey City, the Poughkeepsie Bridge, and finally the Pennsylvania Tunnel and Terminal Railroad. The final routing was identical to today's high-speed Northeast Corridor.

Exchange Place station (PATH) Port Authority Trans-Hudson rail station

Exchange Place is a station on the Port Authority Trans–Hudson (PATH) rail system in the Paulus Hook neighborhood of Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey. The station is on the Newark–World Trade Center line between Newark Penn Station and World Trade Center all week and the Hoboken–World Trade Center line during the day on weekdays to service Hoboken Terminal. Exchange Place provides access to the Jersey City waterfront and a station on the Hudson–Bergen Light Rail, where connections are available to Bayonne and North Bergen.

Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal

The Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, also known as Communipaw Terminal and Jersey City Terminal, was the Central Railroad of New Jersey's waterfront passenger terminal in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was also serviced by CNJ-operated Reading Railroad trains, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and the Lehigh Valley Railroad during various periods in its 78 years of operation.

Pavonia Terminal

Pavonia Terminal was the Erie Railroad terminal on the Hudson River situated on the landfilled Harsimus Cove in Jersey City, New Jersey. The station opened in 1887 and closed in 1958 when the Erie Railroad moved its passenger services to nearby Hoboken Terminal. The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway also ran commuter trains from the terminal and various street cars, ferries and the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad subway line serviced the station. The station was abandoned in 1958 and demolished in 1961.

East River Tunnels

The East River Tunnels are four single-track railroad tunnels that extend from the eastern end of Pennsylvania Station under 32nd and 33rd Streets in Manhattan and cross the East River to Long Island City in Queens. The tracks carry Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Amtrak trains travelling to and from Penn Station and points to the north and east. The tracks also carry New Jersey Transit trains deadheading to Sunnyside Yard. They are part of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor, used by trains traveling between New York City and New England via the Hell Gate Bridge.

North River Tunnels

The North River Tunnels are a pair of tunnels that carry Amtrak and New Jersey Transit rail lines under the Hudson River between Weehawken, New Jersey and Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, New York City. Built between 1904 and 1908 by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) to allow its trains to reach Manhattan, they opened for passenger service in late 1910.

Downtown Hudson Tubes railway tunnel in the United States

The Downtown Hudson Tubes are a pair of tunnels that carry PATH trains under the Hudson River in the United States, between New York City to the east and Jersey City, New Jersey, to the west. The tunnels runs between the World Trade Center station on the New York side and the Exchange Place station on the New Jersey side.

Bergen Hill lower Hudson Palisades in New Jersey, United States

Bergen Hill refers to the lower Hudson Palisades in New Jersey, United States, where they emerge on Bergen Neck, which in turn is the peninsula between the Hackensack and Hudson River, and their bays. In Hudson County, it reaches a height of 260 feet.

Weehawken Terminal former train station in New Jersey

Weehawken Terminal was the waterfront intermodal terminal on the North River in Weehawken, New Jersey for the New York Central Railroad's West Shore Railroad division, whose route travelled along the west shore of the Hudson River. It opened in 1884 and closed in 1959. The complex contained five ferry slips, sixteen passenger train tracks, car float facilities, and extensive yards. The facility was also used by the New York, Ontario and Western Railway. The terminal was one of five passenger railroad terminals that lined the Hudson Waterfront during the 19th and 20th centuries, the others were located at Hoboken, Pavonia, Exchange Place and Communipaw, with Hoboken being the only one still in use.

Harsimus United States historic place

Harsimus is a neighborhood within Downtown Jersey City, Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. The neighborhood stretches from the Harsimus Stem Embankment on the north to Christopher Columbus Drive on the south between Coles Street and Grove Street or more broadly, to Marin Boulevard. It borders the neighborhoods of Hamilton Park to the north, Van Vorst Park to the south, the Village to the west, and the Powerhouse Arts District to the east. Newark Avenue has traditionally been its main street. The name is from the Lenape, used by the Hackensack Indians who inhabited the region and could be translated as Crow’s Marsh. From many years, the neighborhood was part of the "Horseshoe", a political delineation created by its position between the converging rail lines and political gerrymandering.

PATH Lift Bridge

The PATH Lift is a lift bridge carrying the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) rapid transit line across the Hackensack River between Kearny and Jersey City, New Jersey. It is used by PATH trains going to and from Newark.

Point-No-Point Bridge bridge in United States of America

Point-No-Point Bridge is a railroad bridge crossing the Passaic River between Newark and Kearny, New Jersey, United States, in the New Jersey Meadowlands. The swing bridge is the fourth from the river's mouth at Newark Bay and is 2.6 miles (4.2 km) upstream from it. A camelback through truss bridge, it is owned by Conrail as part of its North Jersey Shared Assets and carries the Passaic and Harsimus Line used by CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern. River Subdivision accesses the line via Marion Junction. Conrail is considering replacing the bridge, which was opened in 1901.

Cortlandt Street Ferry Depot

Cortlandt Street Ferry Depot was the main ferry terminal of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the West Shore Railroad on the North River in lower Manhattan. The railroads operated ferries to their terminal stations on the Hudson River waterfront in New Jersey at Exchange Place and Weehawken, respectively.

Desbrosses Street Ferry

The Desbrosses Street Ferry was a ferry route across the Hudson River in the 19th and 20th centuries. It provided passengers with ferry service between the Pennsylvania Railroad's Exchange Place station at Jersey City and Desbrosses Street in lower Manhattan where an elevated railway station at Ninth Avenue was located and where the Metropolitan Crosstown Line provided a connection to the Grand Street Ferry.

Jersey City Ferry

The Jersey City Ferry was a major ferry service that operated between Jersey City and Cortland Street in lower Manhattan for almost 200 years (1764-1949). The ferry was notable for being the first to use steam power which began in 1812. The ferry's history was closely tied to the Pennsylvania Railroad's station in Jersey City at Exchange Place, which gradually fell into disuse after the railroad opened the North River Tunnels and Penn Station in 1910. Ferry service from lower Manhattan to Jersey City continued via the even older Communipaw ferry which operated from the adjacent Liberty Street Ferry Terminal until this service was also discontinued in 1967. In 1986 ferry service was revived and today it is operated by New York Waterway.


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  6. Cudahy, Brian J. (1990). Over and Back: The History of Ferryboats in New York Harbor. New York: Fordham University Press. p. 72. ISBN   0-8232-1245-9.
  7. "PRR Chronology, 1900." March 2005 Edition.
  8. "PRR Chronology, 1911." March 2005 Edition.
  9. "The 'Black Diamond' on the Lehigh". Railway and Locomotive Engineering. New York: Angus Sinclair Co. 20 (12): 525. 1907.
  10. "PRR Chronology, 1961." June 2004 Edition.
  11. "JERSEY CITY DEPOT CLOSED BY PENNSY; Trains to Exchange Plac Will Now Come Here". The New York Times. November 18, 1961. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
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