PATH Rail History

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PATH's first century saw ridership soar in the early decades and decline significantly as the motor vehicle entered its golden age, before rising again in recent decades. Like other rail lines, PATH went from private ownership to public ownership during the 20th century. PATH's second century has begun with a Port Authority commitment for a massive reinvestment.

PATH was originally known as the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, and later as the H&M Hudson Tubes. The railroad was first planned in 1873 to link the major railroad stations in New Jersey with New York City, but early construction was intermittent. The first trains ran in 1907, and revenue service started between Hoboken and 19th Street at midnight on February 26, 1908. On July 19, 1909, service began between Lower Manhattan and Jersey City, through a new set of tunnels located south of the first pair. After the completion of the uptown Manhattan extension to 33rd Street and the westward extension to Newark (and the now-defunct Manhattan Transfer in 1911), the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad was considered to be complete.

The construction of the Holland Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge between the 1920s and 1940s led people away from the railroad, and ridership declined steadily. In the 1950s, H&M fell into bankruptcy, but continued to operate. The planning of the World Trade Center enabled the Port Authority to eventually purchase and maintain the Tubes in return for the rights to build the World Trade Center on the land occupied by H&M's Hudson Terminal, the Lower Manhattan terminus of the Tubes. The Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (PATH), a subsidiary organization of the Port Authority, began operation in 1962.

PATH embarked on an improvement and modernization plan with the rehabilitation of several stations in the 1980s and 1990s. Universal upgrades to vending machines and the introduction of PATHVision occurred in the early 2000s, concurrent with the construction of the temporary World Trade Center Station following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack.

At present, PATH is pursuing a modernization project that will replace its entire fleet with new, state-of-the-art railcars, as well as major upgrades of stations, signals and signs.

Today, PATH continues to adapt and grow to meet present-day riders' needs, with enhanced use of technology to make travel more convenient and reliable.

Timeline
1873 Hudson Tunnel Railroad incorporated by Dewitt C. Haskins; Construction of rail system started
1902 Hudson & Manhattan Railway chartered
1906 H&M and Pennsylvania Railroad agree on "joint service" operation to Newark
1907 First test train operates from Hoboken to Morton Street, NYC
1908 Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Experimental Service begins from Hoboken to Christopher Street; service begins between Hoboken and 23rd Street
1909 H&M Experimental service begins from Hoboken to Cortland Street (Hudson Terminal)
1910 Service begins from Exchange Place to Grove Street; service begins from 23rd Street to 33rd Street 
1911 Service begins between Manhattan Transfer and Newark; regular train service begins between Hudson Terminal, Park Place and Newark 
1912 Additional platform at Pavonia opened 
1913 Harrison Station opens to the public
1927 H&M's busiest year: 113,141,729 passengers
1938 New 33rd Street (NYC) Station opens to the public
1954 19th Street Station closed; H&M files bankruptcy petition 
1958 Inauguration of world's first air-conditioned fleet
1962 The Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation is chartered as the Port Authority assumes control of the H&M Railroad in a deal that allows the agency to build the World Trade Center on the west side of Lower Manhattan.
1968 Construction of the Journal Square Transportation Center begins
1970 Refurbished entrance and mezzanine at Grove Street Station opens
1971 Hudson Terminal closes and PATH's World Trade Center Terminal opens
1975 Journal Square Transportation Center Bus Terminal opens; parking garage follows
1978 Designation of PATH tunnels as a National Engineering Landmark
1989 Dedication of PATH's new Exchange Place Station; first Metro Vision Patron Video Information monitors installed at the World Trade Center
1990 PATH's new Pavonia/Newport Station opens
1998 PATH wins top APTA prize for heavy rail system; PATHVision in-station broadcast system installed by PATH
2000 to present Following 9/11, PATH has embarked during this decade on a major push toward modernization, which will culminate in the replacement of the entire fleet of rail cars, upgraded stations, improved signs and computerized signals

 

 



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