Pavonia Terminal

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Jersey City
Location Harsimus Cove, Jersey City, New Jersey
Owned by Erie Railroad
Line(s) Erie Railroad Main Line
New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad
Bergen County Railroad
New York and Greenwood Lake Railroad
New Jersey and New York Railroad
Weehawken Branch
Newark Branch
Northern Branch
Platform levels 1
Disabled access NO
Other information
Station code 4971[1]
Opened 1887
Closed 1958
Rebuilt No
Electrified Not electrified
Preceding station   Erie Railroad   Following station
TerminusPavonia Ferry
toward Chicago
Main LineTerminus
toward Ridgewood
Bergen County Railroad
New York and Greenwood Lake Railroad
toward Haverstraw
New Jersey and New York Railroad
toward Nyack
Northern Branch
Weehawken Branch
toward Paterson
Newark Branch
New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad
toward Stroudsburg
Main LineTerminus

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.


Pavonia was one of five passenger railroad terminals that lined the western shore of the Hudson Waterfront from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, along with those at Weehawken, Hoboken, Exchange Place, and Communipaw, with Hoboken being the only one still in service.

The Erie began developing the waterfront site in 1856.[2] The intermodal complex was open December 4, 1887.[3] 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[4] or Erie Railroad Station The colloquial name is taken from the 17th century European settlement of Pavonia, New Netherland[5] 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. It was designed by George E. Archer.[6] The end of track was at about 40.7266 N 74.0304 W. 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.[7] 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.[8]

In October 1956 the Erie Railroad began moving its trains out of Pavonia Terminal and into Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad's Hoboken Terminal, and by 1960 had merged to become the Erie Lackawanna Railway.[9] Erie's Northern Branch trains moved to Hoboken in 1959; the New York, Susquehanna and Western operated to the terminal until it pulled back to Susquehanna Transfer in 1961. The terminal was razed by 1961.[10]



The few remnants of the Erie's extensive holdings include the embankment from the Palisades to the river

The Erie Railroad's Main Line ran from Jersey City to Chicago via Binghamton and Youngstown; with a line to Buffalo, and a line to Akron with a spur to Cleveland.[11] The name and a portion of the route exists in the form of the New Jersey Transit Main Line to Suffern, New York and, under contract for Metro North, all the way to Port Jervis. 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 of the Northern Railroad of New Jersey is another line from the Erie era along which freight is transported and that may be revived as light rail service.[12][13] 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 Newark Branch (with continuing service to Paterson) and the Orange Branch were also parts of its suburban network. The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway main line ran to Wilkes-Barre,[7] although passenger service was operated that far for only a few years (and that Wilkes Barre and Eastern line was completely abandoned, even for freight service, in 1939), while regular commuter service ran only to Butler, NJ until 1966.

The timetable for 17 August 1947 shows 96 weekday departures: 48 to the main line and Bergen County line (including 6 beyond Port Jervis), 6 to Spring Valley, 26 NY&GL, 5 Newark Branch, 3 to Nyack and 8 NYS&W.


An undated photograph of an Erie-owned ferryboat named the "Susquehanna" docked at the Pavonia Ferry Terminal.

The Pavonia Ferry began running in 1851,[14] along a route that had been established some decades earlier as Budd's Ferry. It was taken over by the Erie[15] and sold to the Pavonia Ferry Company of Jersey City[16] for what was considered a low price of $9,050, at New York City Hall, in February 1854.[5][17] 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.[18] Eventually the railroad constructed its Pavonia Terminal on the land-filled Harsimus Cove. Suburban and long distance travelers 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.[19]

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).[20]

New York Waterway re-introduced service to Pier 79 at West 39th Street on December 1, 2006.[21] Service officially ended January 2014.[22]


The letter E on the pillars at the Newport PATH station

Numerous streetcar lines served the station.[23] Eventually they (and indeed all of Hudson County lines) were operated by the Public Service Railway. The Grove Street, which operated between Exchange Place and Hudson Place (Hoboken), passed nearby. The Pavonia and the Crosstown originated at the station. The Hudson Bergen Light Rail Pavonia/Newport Station opened in 2002, and is located one and half blocks west of the PATH system.

H & M tube station[edit]

Originally named "Erie", the PATH's Newport station, originally built by the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (H&M), still bears the letter "E" engraved on its pillars. Opened on August 2, 1909,[24] the station was built with only the island platform. The side platform was added around 1914 to handle the heavier passenger volume. It was closed in 1954 in order for the bankrupt railroad to reduce costs. The side platform remained dormant for nearly 50 years.[25] 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 (as was also the entrance to/from Henderson Street), but was reopened in the late 1980s/early 1990s after the station was renovated. Also in 1954, the first moving sidewalk, or travellator, in the United States was installed. Named the "Speedwalk" and built by Goodyear, it was 277 feet (84 m) long and moved up a 10-percent grade at a speed of 1.5 miles per hour (2.4 km/h).[26] 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 northern 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 of 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.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of Station Names and Numbers". Jersey City, New Jersey: Erie Railroad. May 1, 1916. Retrieved November 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ "NEW-JERSEY.; Erie Railroad Improvements. Another Victim. Pickpockets on the Ferry-boats. Military. The Kentucky Legislature on Federal Relations--Resolutions on the Missouri Compromise, Fugitive Slave Law, &c" (PDF). The New York Times. 1856. Retrieved 2011-01-31. 
  3. ^ "A HANDSOME BUILDING.; THE ERIE RAILWAY'S NEW STATION AT JERSEY CITY" (PDF). The New York Times. December 4, 1887. Retrieved February 15, 2018. 
  4. ^ Jersey City Terminal Station
  5. ^ a b "Erie Railroad Terminal". New Jersey City University. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  6. ^ "Jersey Central Railroad Jersey City Ferry Terminal Johnson Ave. at Hudson River Jersey City Hudson County New Jersey (HAER No. NJ-27)" (PDF). Historical American Engineering Record. p. 16. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-01-06. Retrieved 2013-05-05. 
  7. ^ a b NYSW Stations[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ "The Bergen Arches of the Erie Railroad". Jersey City Landmarks Conservancy. Archived from the original on 2011-01-30. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  9. ^ "The Erie and the DL&W Were Merged in 1960". Archived from the original on 2010-03-30. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  10. ^ "Erie Lackwanna Railroad and Predecessors". Archived from the original on 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Bogaty, Lewis (2009). "Northern Branch Photos & Information". Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  13. ^ "Northern Branch Corridor Project". New Jersey Transit. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  14. ^ Baxter, Raymond J.; Adams, Arthur G. (1999). Railroad Ferries of the Hudson. New York: Fordham University Press. p. 65. ISBN 0-8232-1954-2. 
  15. ^ "Sale Postponed". The New York Times. February 2, 1854. p. 6. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  16. ^ "The Pavonia Ferry Lease Sold at Auction". The New York Times. February 16, 1854. p. 8. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  17. ^ "Corporation Doings". The New York Times. February 24, 1854. p. 4. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  18. ^ "Aldermen's Committee On Ferries". The New York Times. February 1, 1859. p. 5. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  19. ^ "Metropolitan's Capitalization". The Wall Street Journal. May 25, 1904. p. 1. 
  20. ^ "Pavonia Ferry Service". The New York Times. January 20, 1903. p. 8. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  21. ^ "Newport Ferry to Pier 79, West 39th Street, Manhattan". New York City Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on 2010-05-29. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  22. ^ McDonald, Terrence (January 18, 2014). "NY Waterway officially ends service from Newport terminal". The Jersey Journal. Retrieved 2014-09-18. 
  23. ^ "New Erie Road Terminal". The New York Times. March 31, 1903. p. 7. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  24. ^ "Tube Stations". Retrieved 2006-04-14. 
  25. ^ "PATH to Reopen Commuter Platform at Pavonia/Newport Station" (Press release). Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. August 11, 2003. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  26. ^ "Passenger Conveyor Belt to Be Installed in Erie Station". The New York Times. October 6, 1953. p. 31. Retrieved 2010-05-30. 
  27. ^ Erie ROW

External links[edit]

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