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Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal

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Title: Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Columbian (B&O train), Pavonia Terminal, Baltimore Belt Line, Grover Cleveland Birthplace, Allaire Village
Collection: Buildings and Structures in Jersey City, New Jersey, Defunct Railway Stations in New Jersey, Ferry Terminals in New Jersey, Historic American Engineering Record in New Jersey, Hudson River, Museums in Hudson County, New Jersey, National Register of Historic Places in Hudson County, New Jersey, Railroad Museums in New Jersey, Railway Stations Closed in 1967, Railway Stations on the National Register of Historic Places in New Jersey, Railway Stations Opened in 1864, Railway Stations Opened in 1889, Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture, Richardsonian Romanesque Architecture in New Jersey, Romanesque Revival Architecture in New Jersey, Stations Along Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Lines, Stations Along Central Railroad of New Jersey Lines, Stations Along Reading Company Lines, Transit Hubs Serving New Jersey, Transportation in Hudson County, New Jersey
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal

Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
CNJ Terminal at Liberty State Park showing ferry slips serving boats to Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island (2013)
Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal is located in Hudson County, New Jersey
Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal
Location Liberty State Park
Jersey City, New Jersey
Area 63 acres (25 ha)
Built 1889
Architect William H. Peddle, Peabody & Stearns
Architectural style Richardsonian Romanesque
Governing body State
NRHP Reference #


NJRHP # 1513[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 12, 1975
Designated NJRHP August 27, 1975

The Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, also known as Communipaw Terminal and Jersey City Terminal, was the Central Railroad of New Jersey's waterfront passenger terminal in Jersey City, New Jersey. It was also serviced by the Reading Railroad, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and Lehigh Valley Railroad during various periods in its 78 years of operation.[3] The current terminal building was constructed in 1889 but was abandoned in 1967. The headhouse was later renovated. It was later added to the New Jersey Register of Historic Places and incorporated into Liberty State Park. The terminal was one of five passenger railroad terminals that lined the Hudson Waterfront during the 19th and 20th centuries, the others being Weehawken, Hoboken, Pavonia and Exchange Place.


  • Designation 1
  • Site 2
  • Description 3
  • Service 4
    • Trackage 4.1
    • Ferries and Ships 4.2
    • Railroad lines 4.3
    • Named passenger trains 4.4
  • Post-railroad service uses 5
  • Gallery 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The terminal was built in 1889, replacing an earlier one that had been in use since 1864. It operated until April 30, 1967.[4] The station has been listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places[5] and National Register of Historic Places since September 12, 1975.[6] Additionally it is a .

The outdoor clock at CNJ Terminal


The terminal is part of Liberty State Park, and along with nearby Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty recalls the era of massive immigration through the Port of New York and New Jersey. It is estimated that around 10.5 million entered the country through the station.[3][7] The area has long been known by as Communipaw, which in the Algonquian language Lenape means big landing place at the side of a river .[8] The first stop west of the station was indeed called Communipaw,[9] and was not far from the village that had been established there in 1634 as part of the New Netherland settlement of Pavonia. The land on which the extensive yards were built was reclaimed, or filled. The terminal itself is next to the Morris Canal Big Basin, which to some degree was made obsolete by the railroads which replaced it. The long cobbled road which ends at the terminal (once called Johnston Avenue for a president of CNJ) is Audrey Zapp Drive, for the environmentalist active in the creation of the park.


The concourse at Communipaw Terminal. The abandoned shed, which covered 12 platforms and 20 tracks[10] is closed to the public

The main building is designed in a Richardsonian Romanesque style. The intermodal facility contains more than a dozen platforms and several ferry slips. Arriving passengers would walk to the railhead concourse and could either pass through its main waiting room, by-pass it on either side, and take stairs to the upper level. The ferry slips have also been restored though the structure which housed them has been removed, as have the tracks. The Bush-type trainsheds, the largest ever to be constructed and designed by A. Lincoln Bush, were not part of the original construction, but were built in 1914 and have not been restored.[11]



The Terminal in 1893

The terminal, along with its docks and yards, was one of several massive terminal complexes (the other being the terminals of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Exchange Place, the Erie Railroad Terminal in Pavonia, the Lackawanna Railroad Terminal in Hoboken, and the West Shore Railroad Terminal in Weehawken) that dominated the western waterfront of the New York Harbor from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century. Of the two still standing, the Hoboken Terminal (the former Lackwanna Railroad Terminal) is the only one still in use. Lines from the station headed to the southwest. Arriving at the waterfront from the points required overcoming significant natural obstacles including crossing the Hackensack River and Meadows and Hudson Palisades, and in the case of New Jersey Central, traversing the Newark Bay. For its mainline, the railroad constructed the Newark Bay Bridge to Elizabeth. Its Newark branch cut through Bergen Hill and crossed two bridges at Kearny Point. Both rights-of-way in Hudson County are now used by the Hudson Bergen Light Rail, one terminating at West Side Avenue and the other at 8th Street Station in Bayonne.

Ferries and Ships

Central Railroad of New Jersey's Liberty Street Ferry Terminal in New York City, ca. 1900

The main ferry from the terminal crossed the river to Liberty Street Ferry Terminal at Liberty Street and West Street in Manhattan, with additional service to 23rd Street. The B&O's Royal Blue service crossed to Whitehall/South Street. Until the opening of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge there was also service to Brooklyn and Staten Island[12] Other boats, among them the SS Asbury Park and SS Sandy Hook, which travelled to the Raritan Bayshore.[13] In 1941, Railroad Magazine reported that the CRRNJ ferryboat fleet made 374 one-way crossings of the North River (Hudson River) each day. (Nov., p. 41)

The famed Royal Limited in 1898. This train provided luxury service between Jersey City Terminal and Washington, DC and made the journey in under 5 hours.

Railroad lines

Final run of the Royal Blue on April 26, 1958 departing Jersey City

Jersey Central's Blue Comet offered elaborate service to Atlantic City. The railroad's suburban trains served passengers to west and south, including the Jersey Shore. CNJ's long-distance service into Pennsylvania ran to Harrisburg, Scranton, and Mauch Chunk.[14]

The Reading Company used the terminal for its Crusader and Wall Street trains. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), whose Royal Blue was a premier passenger train to Washington, DC, also had trains to Chicago and St. Louis.[14]

In April 1967 the opening of the Aldene Connection lead to the end of passenger service to the station and the diverting of all remaining passenger trains to Penn Station in Newark.

The timetable for 27 September 1936 shows 132 weekday departures, including 25 to CNJ's Broad St. Newark station, 25 that ran south from Elizabethport (two to Chrome and the rest to the NY&LB) and 19 Reading and B&O trains that turned southwest at Bound Brook Jct. Three trains ran to Mauch Chunk and two to Harrisburg via Allentown; the other 58 trains terminated along the main line between West 8th St in Bayonne and Hampton.

Named passenger trains

Until April 1958 several long-distance trains originated at the station, and trains to Philadelphia lasted until 1967.

Operators Named trains Destination Year begun Year discontinued
Baltimore and Ohio Capitol Limited Chicago, Illinois via Washington, D.C. and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1923 1958*
Baltimore and Ohio Metropolitan Special St. Louis, Missouri via Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati, Ohio ca. 1920 1958*
Baltimore and Ohio National Limited St. Louis, Missouri via Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati, Ohio 1925 1958*
Baltimore and Ohio Royal Blue Washington, D.C. 1890 1958
Central Railroad of New Jersey Blue Comet Atlantic City, New Jersey 1929 1941
Reading Railroad with the Central Railroad of New Jersey Crusader Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1937 1967
Reading Railroad with the Central Railroad of New Jersey Harrisburg Special Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Reading Railroad with the Central Railroad of New Jersey Queen of the Valley Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 1902 1967
Reading Railroad with the Central Railroad of New Jersey Wall Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Reading Railroad with the Central Railroad of New Jersey Williamsporter Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • With the closing of Baltimore & Ohio passenger service north of Baltimore in 1958 the Royal Blue was abandoned and the Capitol Limited, Metropolitan Special and National Limited were terminated east of Baltimore.

Post-railroad service uses

  • Following the closure of CNJ shops and engine facilities nearby in the early 1970s, the terminal sat abandoned.
  • Following the Aldene Plan the terminal sat unused but maintained and guarded by the Central Railroad of New Jersey and during this time a portion of the movie Funny Girl was filmed at the terminal.[17]
  • Numerous fairs, concerts, and other sponsored events (among them the Central Jersey Heritage Festival[18] and the All Points West Music & Arts Festival) take place at the station and its grounds, which is a very popular place from which to view July 4th fireworks.
  • On September 11, 2001 its parking lot was the staging area for dozens of ambulances that were mobilized to transport victims of the attack.
  • There is no shuttlebus from the terminal to the Hudson Bergen Light Rail's Liberty State Park Station in 2009 Rutgers University students proposed building a trolley line to the terminal building and other points in the park from the light rail station to improve access.[19]
  • The terminal was badly damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy and remains closed.


See also



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ "New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places – Hudson County".  
  3. ^ a b Jersey City Past and Present
  4. ^
  5. ^ New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places
  6. ^ National Register of Historic Places in Hudon County
  7. ^ New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection LSP:Communipaw Terminal
  8. ^ Indian Place names in New Jersey
  9. ^ List of stations on the Central Railroad of New Jersey. (2009, August 14). In WorldHeritage, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:31, November 21, 2009, from
  10. ^ Karnoutsos, Carmela (September 16, 2009). "Jersey City Past and Present".  
  11. ^ French, Kenneth (February 24, 2002). Images of America:Railroads of Hoboken and Jersey City.  
  12. ^ French, Kenneth (2002). Images of America:Railroads of Hoboken and Jersey City. USA: Arcadia Publishing. p. 30.  
  13. ^ French, Kenneth (2002). Images of America:Railroads of Hoboken and Jersey City. USA: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 25–29.  
  14. ^ a b "Intercity passenger trains serving New York via New Jersey terminals in 1942, 1956, and 1971 immediately prior to the creation of Amtrak.". New York's Passenger Trains of the Past. Retrieved 2012-02-13. 
  15. ^ Ferry map
  16. ^ The Historic CRRNJ Train Terminal
  17. ^ "Funny Girl (1968)" filming locations
  18. ^ Website memorial to the past Jersey Central Heritage Festivals
  19. ^ Kaulessar, Ricardo (September 6, 2009). "Trolley through Liberty State Park?". Hudson Reporter (Hoboken). Retrieved May 30, 2010. 
  20. ^

External links

  • Liberty Historic Railway
  • Ellis/Liberty Island Ferry map
  • Wikipmapia: Communipaw Terminal
  • Locomotives at NRRNJ Terminal
  • Timeline of Communipaw Cove
  • CRRNJ Bronx Terminal
  • Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. NJ-27, "Central Railroad of New Jersey, Jersey City Ferry Terminal, Johnson Avenue at Hudson River, Jersey City, Hudson County, NJ", 37 photos, 52 data pages, 3 photo caption pages
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