The Historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Train Terminal

May 20, 2005
Hazlet Township, NJ USA
Hi all! I shot this building at Liberty State Park here in New Jersey early this morning, built in 1889 went belly up in 1967. A little history below if interested.


D70, Nikkor 12-24mm

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Central Railroad of New Jersey (CRRNJ) chartered a waterfront location in Jersey City. Completed four years later, the terminal was constructed primarily on landfill from New York City and ballast from ocean going vessels. The new CRRNJ Terminal provided both an easy route across the Hudson and a gateway to the ocean.

Heavier transportation demands soon rendered the original terminal inadequate. By 1889, a new terminal had been designed and constructed by the Boston architectural firm of Peabody and Stearns. The three-story head house joined twelve tracks with six platforms to the ferry slips at the water’s edge. Service and repair facilities float bridges, barges and thawing sheds combined to make this complex the largest in the New York Harbor at the turn of the century.

With the opening of the Immigration Station on Ellis Island in 1892, traffic increased dramatically. Two-thirds of these courageous newcomers, welcomed by the Statue of Liberty and processed on Ellis Island, started their new lives via the CRRNJ Terminal, settling in New Jersey or traveling on to other states.

By the turn of the century, the CRRNJ Terminal accommodated between 30,000-50,000 people per day on 128 ferry runs and 300 trains. By 1914, the train and ferry sheds were enlarged to accommodate the growing numbers of commuters. The Bush train shed, still standing today, housing 20 tracks, was the largest one ever built.

The end of “The Age of the Railroad” was in sight and the industry, which had peaked by 1929, rapidly declined. Better highways, competition from the trucking industry, and the shift from coal to oil and gas led to the demise of the railroads. Finally in 1967, the Aldene Plan called for the rerouting of all train traffic to the Pennsylvania Station in Newark. The CRRNJ declared bankruptcy and Terminal ceased passenger operations in April 1967.

Deserted and falling into ruin, the CRRNJ Terminal and the adjacent acreage was bought through local, state and federal funds. A massive clean-up campaign was begun and by1975 the building was added to both the State and National Register of Historic Places.
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