Port Authority Trans-Hudson

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Template:Infobox SGRailroad

PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) is a rapid transit system linking Manhattan, New York with New Jersey, and providing service to Jersey City, Hoboken, Harrison, and Newark. It is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. While some PATH stations are adjacent to New York City subway, Newark City Subway and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail stations, there are no free transfers, and the four systems operate independently.

PATH spans 13.8 miles (22.2 km) of route mileage, not including any route overlap.

PATH trains only use tunnels in Manhattan and parts of New Jersey (specifically, Hoboken and downtown Jersey City). The tracks cross the Hudson River through century-old cast iron tubes that rest on the river bottom under a thin layer of muck. PATH routes in most of New Jersey run in open cuts, at grade level, and on elevated track.

Missing image
Hoboken- and Newark-bound platform at Exchange Place station in Jersey City.


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A drawing of the northern of the two underground junctions on the New Jersey side. The two western tracks at the bottom were never built.

PATH, originally known as the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad, predates the New York City subway system (the IRT). Although the railroad was first planned in 1874, existing technologies could not safely tunnel under the Hudson River. Construction began on the existing tunnels in 1890, but stopped shortly thereafter when funding ran out. Indeed, construction did not resume until 1900 under the direction of William Gibbs McAdoo, an ambitious, young lawyer who had moved to New York from Tennessee. McAdoo would later become president of what would, for many years, be known as the H&M, Hudson Tubes or McAdoo Tunnels.

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 set of tunnels located about 1 1/4 miles 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 cost of the entire project was estimated at between $55 and $60 million, equal to more than $1 billion in present-day dollars.

Originally, the Hudson Tubes were designed to link the major railroad stations in New Jersey — Lackawanna in Hoboken, Erie and PRR in Jersey City — with New York City. While it still provides a connection to train stations in Hoboken and Newark, the commuter train stations at Erie (now Pavonia-Newport) and Exchange Place have since closed down. In recent years, the old rail yards at Pavonia and Exchange Place have been replaced with large-scale office, residential, and retail developments.

The original plan included an agreement between H&M and the Pennsylvania Railroad whereby PRR traffic headed for Lower Manhattan would transfer at Manhattan Transfer to the Hudson Tubes, and H&M would operate all traffic — ferry, train, or tube — between Lower Manhattan and Newark. The Tubes would also take over operation of the Jersey City Pennsylvania Railroad station at Exchange Place, when the new Pennsylvania Station in midtown Manhattan were to open, which would have its own tunnel under the Hudson River. Penn Station in Manhattan did open some ten years later, but the plans had changed; the PRR maintained operation of its Jersey City Station and they also maintained their ferries between Exchange Place and Lower Manhattan. Additionally, the route between Journal Square (then Summit Avenue) and Newark became a joint operation of the H&M and PRR.

Missing image
The entrance to the old Hudson Terminal, with all the stations on the line to Newark listed. Passengers on the Pennsylvania Limited to Chicago transferred to the PRR along the way.

Attempts to extend the Tubes to Astor Place and Grand Central Terminal failed, even after some construction began on the extension. There was also a plan to build an extension from the curve west of Hoboken Terminal to where Secaucus Junction is now, and a plan for a north-south connection from the 33rd Street Station south on Broadway to Union Square and then a new alignment to Hudson Terminal.

The opening of the Holland Tunnel in 1927, coupled with the Depression that began shortly after, marked the decline of the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad. Later, the construction of the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge further enticed people away from the railroad.

Promotions and other advertising proved ineffectual at slowing the financial decline. In the 1950s, H&M fell into bankruptcy. However, the Tubes would not be taken over by the Port Authority until the late 1960s. For decades, New Jersey politicians wanted the Port Authority to operate the vital transit link, but Port Authority officials were reluctant to assume the money losing operation, and New York politicians did not want extra Port Authority money spent in New Jersey. The compromise was reached over the World Trade Center. The Port Authority agreed to purchase and maintain the Tubes in return for the rights to build the World Trade Center on the lands occupied by H&M's Hudson Terminal, which was the Lower Manhattan terminus of the Tubes.

In 1962, the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Company ceased operation of the Hudson Tubes, and service began through the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation, a subsidiary organization of the Port Authority.

Recently, the Port Authority has allocated funds to conduct a feasibility study of extending PATH two miles south of Newark Penn Station to Newark Liberty International Airport. If the project is deemed to be possible from an engineering, operational, and financial standpoint, the Port Authority would include funding for the project in its Capital Plan. The extension to Newark Airport is estimated to cost $500 million. Extensions of PATH to Newark Airport and Plainfield, New Jersey have been on the drawing board for years, but there has been no movement on either project.

Construction of the tunnels

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One of the original plans, with branches to the IRT Lexington Avenue Line and the Central Railroad of New Jersey terminal

The first tunnel (the northernmost of the uptown pair) was originally built without an excavation shield or iron construction because the chief engineer of the time, DeWitt Haskins, believed that the river silt was strong enough to maintain the tunnel's form (with the help of compressed air) until a 2 1/2 foot thick brick lining could be constructed. Haskins' plan was to excavate the tunnel, then fill it with compressed air to expel the water and to hold the iron plate lining in place. They succeeded in building the tunnel out by approximately 1,200 feet from Jersey City until a series of blowouts — including a particularly serious one in 1880 that took the lives of 20 workers — ended the project.

When the New York and Jersey Tunnel Company resumed construction on the tunnels in 1902, they employed a different method of tunnelling using tubular cast iron plating. An enormous mechanical shield was pushed through the silt at the bottom of the river. The displaced mud would then be placed into a chamber, where it would later be shoveled into small cars that hauled it to the surface. In some cases, the silt would be baked with kerosene torches to facilitate easier removal of the mud. The southernmost tunnel of the uptown pair, as well as the downtown tunnels, were all constructed using the tubular cast iron method.

The tunnels in Manhattan, on the other hand, employed cut and cover construction methods.

Early timeline

  • February 26, 1908: The uptown tubes open from 19th Street to Hoboken Terminal.
  • June 15, 1908: The H&M is extended from 19th Street to 23rd Street.
  • July 19, 1909: The downtown tubes open from Hudson Terminal to Exchange Place.
  • August 2, 1909: The New Jersey-side connection opens, between Exchange Place and the junction near Hoboken.
  • September 6, 1910: The H&M is extended from Exchange Place west to Grove Street.
  • November 10, 1910: The H&M is extended from 23rd Street to 33rd Street.
  • November 27, 1910: The PRR tunnel to New York Penn Station opens.
  • October 1, 1911: The H&M is extended from Grove Street west to Manhattan Transfer.
  • November 26, 1911: The H&M opens to Park Place, Newark.
  • June 20, 1937: Manhattan Transfer is closed and the H&M is realigned to Newark Penn Station; the Harrison station is moved several blocks south. On the same day, the Newark City Subway is extended to Newark Penn Station.

Station listing

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Map of PATH system (regular service)
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Map of PATH system (after hours)

There are currently 13 active PATH stations:

State City Station Services Opened Transfers and notes
NYNew York 33rd Street HOB-33
November 10, 1910 Template:NYCS Sixth (IND Sixth Avenue Line)
Template:NYCS Broadway (BMT Broadway Line)
New York Penn Station (Amtrak, NJ Transit, Template:LIRR)
28th Street closed November 10, 1910 closed in 1937 when the 33rd Street station was extended southward
23rd Street HOB-33
June 15, 1908 Template:NYCS Sixth local (IND Sixth Avenue Line)
19th Street closed February 26, 1908 closed in 1954 ostensibly to speed service through midtown Manhattan
14th Street HOB-33
February 26, 1908 Template:NYCS Sixth local (IND Sixth Avenue Line)
Template:NYCS Canarsie (BMT Canarsie Line)
Ninth Street HOB-33
February 26, 1908 Template:NYCS Sixth (IND Sixth Avenue Line)
Template:NYCS Eighth south (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
Christopher Street HOB-33
February 26, 1908 Template:NYCS Broadway-Seventh center local (IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line)
NJJersey City Hoboken HOB-WTC HOB-33 February 26, 1908 Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, NJ Transit
originally Lackawanna Railroad
Pavonia/Newport HOB-WTC JSQ-33 August 2, 1909 Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
originally Erie Railroad
NYNew York World Trade Center NWK-WTC HOB-WTC July 19, 1909 Template:NYCS Brooklyn (IRT Brooklyn Branch)
Template:NYCS Eighth south (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
Template:NYCS Broadway south (BMT Broadway Line)
originally Hudson Terminal, replaced with the World Trade Center station in 1971
NJJersey City Exchange Place NWK-WTC HOB-WTC July 19, 1909 Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
originally Pennsylvania Railroad (also served the Lehigh Valley Railroad and Susquehanna Railway)
Grove Street NWK-WTC JSQ-33 September 6, 1910 originally Grove-Henderson Streets
Journal Square NWK-WTC JSQ-33 April 14, 1912 Journal Square Transportation Center
originally Summit Avenue
Harrison Manhattan Transfer closed October 1, 1911 closed in 1937 when the H&M was realigned to Newark Penn Station
Harrison NWK-WTC June 20, 1937 originally several blocks north (opened November 26, 1911)
Newark Newark NWK-WTC June 20, 1937 Newark Penn Station (Amtrak, NJ Transit, Newark City Subway)
originally at Park Place (opened November 26, 1911)


PATH operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During normal hours, PATH operates four train services, using two terminals in New Jersey and two in Manhattan. Each line is represented by a unique color, which also corresponds to the color of the lights on the front of the trains. The Journal Square-33rd Street (via Hoboken) service is the only line represented by two colors, since it is an after-hours combination of the Journal Square-33rd Street and Hoboken-33rd Street services.

  • Newark-World Trade Center
  • Hoboken-World Trade Center
  • Journal Square-33rd Street
  • Hoboken-33rd Street

After 23:00 and before 06:00 Monday to Friday, and after 19:30 and before 09:00 Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, PATH operates two train services:

  • Newark-World Trade Center
  • Journal Square-33rd Street (via Hoboken)

After September 11, 2001, PATH closed its World Trade Center and Exchange Place stations. Two uptown services—Newark-33rd Street and Hoboken-33rd Street—and one intra-state New Jersey service—Hoboken-Journal Square—were put into operation. Only one after-hours train was put into service, Newark-33rd Street (via Hoboken). When Exchange Place opened in June 2003, the following trains were put into service: Newark-Exchange Place and Hoboken-Exchange Place.


Missing image
PATH QuickCard
As of 2005, the following is the schedule of fares for the PATH:
  • One-Way $1.50 (Cash or MTA Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard / PATH QuickCard not available for one-way trips / No discounts)
  • Roundtrip $3.00 (PATH QuickCard or MTA Pay-Per-Ride Metrocard / No discounts)
  • Eleven Trip $15.00 (PATH QuickCard Only / Fare discounted to $1.36 per trip)
  • Twenty Trip $24.00 (PATH QuickCard Only / Fare discounted to $1.20 per trip)
  • Forty Trip $48.00 (PATH QuickCard Only / Fare discounted to $1.20 per trip)
  • Senior Citizens $1.00 (Seniors age 65 and older must possess a PATH Senior Fare Card in order to pay the Senior Fare)

PATH QuickCards can be purchased from designated QuickCard machines and NJ Transit ticket vending machines inside PATH stations.


PATH has a fleet of approximately 250 cars, manufactured by Kawasaki (PA-4 cars), Hawker-Siddeley (PA-3 cars), and the St. Louis Car Company (PA-1 and PA-2 cars). PATH cars are 51' long, with a width of approximately 9'-2 3/4". They can achieve a maximum speed of 70 mph (112 km/h), but typically do not reach speeds of greater than 55 mph (90 km/h) in regular service. Each car seats 35 passengers, on seats that line the sides of the cars.

PA-1, PA-2, and PA-3 cars were built in the 1960s and 1970s. These cars have painted aluminum bodies, and have two doors on each side. Back-lit panels above the doors display the destination of that particular train.

PA-4 cars have stainless steel bodies, and have three doors on each side. These are the newest cars in the current fleet, having been built by Kawasaki in 1986. Back-lit displays above the windows (between the doors) display the destination of that particular train.

In 1972, PATH revived the tradition of naming its passenger cars. Each car is named after a New Jersey community that relies on the existence of PATH to commute to and from New York City. While the PATH system is relatively small, more than 300 communities across the state are home to commuters who use PATH. The name of the community, along with a short history and description of the community, appears on a brushed aluminum plaque that is installed at each end of the car's interior.

The Port Authority awarded a $499 million contract to Kawasaki to design and build 340 new PATH cars, which will replace the system's aging fleet. With an average age of 33 years, the fleet is the oldest of any operating heavy rail line in the United States. The Port Authority announced that the new cars will be an updated version of MTA's R142A cars, which are currently in service on the New York City Subway's 4 and 6 lines. These new cars are expected to go into service in 2008.

Smart card turnstiles

The Port Authority has recently installed new fare collection turnstiles at all PATH stations. These turnstiles allow passengers to pay their fare with an MTA Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard or a PATH QuickCard — and eventually with a smart card. The project is part of a Port Authority project to implement usage of a regional smart card that could be used on transit systems throughout the New York metropolitan area.

The new turnstile program first began at the World Trade Center station. It should be noted that Monthly, Reduced Fare and Unlimited Ride MetroCards cannot be used to pay for fares on the PATH system. PATH QuickCards are still only valid on the PATH rail system; there are no plans to implement the use of the PATH QuickCard at MTA-owned stations.

In the latter part of 2005 PATH is scheduled to introduce a smart card called SmartLink (sm) which will eventually replace the QuickCard. In the intial stage the SmartLink card will allow riders to place the same value on it as if they were purchasing a QuickCard by using machines which will be located in stations. A later stage will allow the rider to register the card so that it can be replaced if lost or stolen and to be automatically be refilled if the value reaches a pre-set minimum.

After September 11th

The World Trade Center station, which is one of PATH's two New York terminals, was destroyed on September 11, 2001. Just prior to the collapse, the station was closed and any waiting passengers that were in the station were evacuated by a train that was already inside of the terminal. With the station destroyed, service to Lower Manhattan was suspended for over two years. Exchange Place, the next station on the Newark-World Trade Center line, also had to be closed due to flooding through the tunnels. Although the water damage was reparable, Exchange Place was not designed as a "terminal" station and had to be re-configured as a terminus for a temporary Newark-Exchange Place/Hoboken-Exchange Place service. The new Exchange Place station opened in June 2003. Because the original alignment of the tracks from Hoboken use separate tunnels from the Newark service the trains operated as follows:

From Newark: trains would cross over to the Newark/Hoboken bound track just north of Exchange Place. The train would then reverse direction and go to Hoboken.

From Hoboken: trains would enter on the Manhattan bound track at Exchange Place. The train would then reverse direction and use several switches north of the station to go to the Newark bound tracks before entering Grove Street.

PATH service to Lower Manhattan was restored when a $323 million temporary station opened on November 23, 2003; the inaugural train was the same one that had been used for the evacuation. The new station still contains portions of the original station but it does not have heating or air conditioning systems installed, and is very functional in its design. The permanent World Trade Center PATH station, expected to be complete by 2009 at a cost of $2 billion, will likely be paid for through insurance settlements relating to the events of September 11th and through taxpayer funds from the states of New York and New Jersey.


All terminals (33rd Street, Hoboken, World Trade Center, Journal Square and Newark) are wheelchair accessible, as are Exchange Place and Pavonia/Newport.


  • A screen projection of an advertisement can be seen between World Trade Center and Exchange Place stations, but it can only be seen on trains headed for New Jersey.
  • Every year, around Thanksgiving, PATH employees put up and decorate a lit Christmas tree at a switching station in the tunnel used by trains running from 33rd Street and Hoboken into the Pavonia/Newport station. This tradition has continued since the 1950s when a signal operator, Joe Wojtowicz, started hanging a string of Christmas lights in the tunnel. While PATH officials were initially concerned about putting up decorations in the tunnel, they later acquiesced and the tradition continues to this day. After the September 11th, 2001 attacks, a back-lit U.S. flag was put up beside the tree as a tribute to the victims of the attacks.

External links


  • Fitzherbert, Anthony. 1964. The Public Be Pleased: William G. McAdoo and the Hudson Tubes. Electric Railroaders Association. Available online at [1] (http://www.nycsubway.org/nyc/path/hmhistory/).
  • Trolley Tunnel Open to Jersey, New York Times February 26, 1908 page 1
  • To Extend Hudson Tunnel, New York Times June 12, 1908 page 6
  • Under the Hudson by Four Tubes Now, New York Times July 18, 1909 page 3
  • Erie Commuters Held Up, New York Times August 3, 1909 page 1
  • M'Adoo Would Build A West Side Subway, New York Times September 16, 1910 page 20
  • Subway Station Not Closed, New York Times August 26, 1910 page 6
  • Open McAdoo Extension, New York Times November 10, 1910 page 10
  • Open Pennsylvania Station To-night, New York Times November 26, 1910 page 5
  • Improved Transit Facilities by Newark High Speed Line, New York Times October 1, 1911 page XX2
  • Tube Service to Newark, New York Times November 26, 1911 page 9
  • New Station Open for Hudson Tubes, New York Times June 20, 1937 page 35

Template:NYC Hudson River crossings


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