Thursday, October 11, 2012

Central Railroad of New Jersey's Jersey City Terminal Today

Built in 1889, this terminal received trains from Atlantic City and Washington, DC and as far away as Chicago and St. Louis.  But its main purpose was to transfer Manhattan-bound commuters between commuter trains from northern New Jersey to ferry boats for Manhattan.  The timetable for September 27, 1936 shows 132 weekday train departures.  The last train visited in 1967.

The terminal is in Liberty State Park, faces lower Manhattan across the Hudson River, and is about a mile north of Liberty Island.  Today Liberty Island Ferry tickets instead of train tickets are sold at its ticket windows and it serves as a waiting area for those ferries.  This has probably kept it from the wrecking ball.

Using pictures, let me walk you from outside the front of the depot to the back where the trains came in.

From out front of the station's head house, i.e., the waiting room, ticket office, newsstand, and baggage room, the lower Manhattan skyline and the ferry dock dominate.   This shows one of a ferry slip as it was left in 1967 except the roofing between the headhouse and the ferry slips has been removed.  The Liberty Island Ferries do not dock at the original slips.

This shows a slip with the new World Trade Center Towers rising in the background.

When you turn around you see the head house.  The building is in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

When you enter the front doors looking through the head house you can see the gates for the trains through the doors and windows at the far end.  The people are waiting to go through security to board a ferry for Liberty Island.  The clock is correct except in is on Standard Time instead of Daylight Savings Time.

Walking through the head house and turning around this is the scene looking east.

This shot is in the Concourse, the area between the head house and the gates to the trains.  Portions of the movie Funny Girl was filmed at the terminal.  In the clip from the movie listed at the end of this essay, Barbara Streisand runs across and sings in this long room years after the trains actually stopped running.

Here is one of the gates.

These are two bumper posts for two now virtual tracks.  The train shed has become a natural botanical garden.

The north side of the train shed has an outdoor track.  Centered in the picture is the north end of the Concourse.
Here is the west end of the Bush-type train shed where the trains came in and passengers detrained or boarded.  The station had about 16 tracks.  The people are headed from the parking lot (left) where the tracks that led to the station to the head house for the Liberty Island Ferry.

The Barbara Streisand  clip from Funny Girl shot partially in the Terminal years after the trains stopped running is here:

Side Note

To the north of the head house is a 9/11 memorial.  These two pictures are self explanatory.


Note:  Wikipedia supplied many of the facts in this essay.


  1. A good piece - I enjoy having you as our virtual docent.

  2. Very interesting indeed. I like the overgrown train bumpers -- how it will looks when civilization crumbles. And the two long walls echoing the twin towers is powerful.

  3. Replies
    1. Very well done. An enjoyable read with great photos.

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