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The Port Authority Trans-Hudson Railroad (PATH) is a rapid transit railroad 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 as the four systems operate independently. PATH is also one of the few 24-hour operating rapid transit systems in the world.
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's routes from Grove Street in Jersey City west to Newark run in open cuts, at grade level, and on elevated track.
As of 2006, PATH has an average weekday ridership of 239,200.
- 1 History
- 2 Service
- 3 Rolling stock
- 4 FRA railroad status
- 5 Future expansion
- 6 Trivia
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Notes
- 10 External links
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.
Construction of the tunnels
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 (76 cm) 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 (366 m) 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.
Hudson and Manhattan Railroad years
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 (2 km) 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 — the Lackawanna station in Hoboken, the Erie and PRR stations 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 (the PRR station) 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.
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, but continued to operate. It remained under bankruptcy court protection for years, a source of embarrassment. For decades, New Jersey politicians asked 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 World Trade Center finally enabled the three parties to compromise. The Port Authority agreed to 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, 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.
- February 25, 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. The upper level of the Centre Street Bridge to Park Place later became Route 158.
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 repairable, Exchange Place was not designed as a "terminal" station, and thus there could be no terminus for a temporary Newark-Exchange Place/Hoboken-Exchange Place service. Instead, two uptown services—Newark-33rd Street (red) and Hoboken-33rd Street (blue) —and one intra-state New Jersey service—Hoboken-Journal Square (green)—were put into operation. Only one after-hours train was put into service, Newark-33rd Street (via Hoboken). The Journal Square-33rd Street service (yellow line) was suspended until November 3, 2003.
Restoration of service to Exchange Place
Modifications were made to a stub end tunnel (also known as the Penn Pocket, which was originally built for short turn World Trade Center to Exchange Place runs to handle PRR commuters from Harborside Terminal) to allow trains from Newark to reach the Hoboken bound tunnel and vice versa. The modifications required PATH to bore through the bedrock dividing the stub tunnel and the tunnels two and from Newark. The new Exchange Place station opened in June 2003. Because the original alignment of the tracks, trains to/from Hoboken use separate tunnels from the Newark service. 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 west of the station to go to the Newark bound tracks before entering Grove Street.
Restoration of service to World Trade Center
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. This project, according to The Star-Ledger of Newark, has been awarded to a joint-venture of Granite Construction North-East (formally Granite Halmar), Fluor Enterprises, Bovis Lend Lease, and Slattery Skanska.
Bomb plot of 2006
On July 7, 2006, an alleged plot to detonate explosives in the PATH tunnels (initially said to be a plot to bomb the Holland Tunnel) was uncovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The plot included the detonation of a bomb that could significantly destroy and flood the tunnels, endangering all the occupants and vehicles in the tunnel at the time of the explosion. The terror planners believed that Lower Manhattan could, as a result of the explosion, be flooded due to riverwater surging up the remaining tunnel after the blast. Officials say that this plan was unsound due to the strength of the tunnels, and that it would require a large amount of explosives to explode. Since semi-trailer trucks are currently not allowed to pass through the Holland Tunnel, and it would be unfeasible to carry such a bomb on board a PATH train, it would be very difficult to get sufficient explosives into the tunnel to accomplish the plan. If the tunnel were to explode and allow water from the Hudson River to flood the (Holland) tunnel, Lower Manhattan would be spared since the area is 2-10 feet (1-3 meters) above sea level. Three of the eight planners have been arrested, based in six different countries. 
PATH operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During normal hours, PATH operates four train services, using three 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 (yellow and blue), 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 all-day Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, PATH operates two train services:
- Newark-World Trade Center
- Journal Square-33rd Street (via Hoboken)
Prior to April 9, 2006, Hoboken-World Trade Center and Journal Square-33rd Street services were offered on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays between 09:00 and 19:30. Ongoing construction of the permanent World Trade Center Station in Manhattan prompted the indefinite discontinuation of these services on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. They have been replaced with an all-day Journal Square-33rd Street (via Hoboken) service on those days. Passengers travelling from Hoboken to the World Trade Center must take the Journal Square-33rd Street (via Hoboken) to Grove Street and transfer to the Newark-World Trade Center train.
There are currently 13 active PATH stations:
|State||City||Station||Services||Opened||Transfers and notes|
|NY||New York||33rd Street||Template:HOB33
|November 10, 1910||B|
|28th Street||closed||November 10, 1910||closed in 1937 when the 33rd Street station was extended southward|
|June 15, 1908||F V|
|19th Street||closed||February 25, 1908||closed in 1954 ostensibly to speed service through midtown Manhattan|
|February 25, 1908||F V|
|February 25, 1908||B|
|February 25, 1908||1 2 (5) (IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line)|
|Hudson Terminal||closed||July 19, 1909||closed in 1971 when service opened to World Trade Center|
|World Trade Center||Template:NWKWTC
|July 4, 1971||2 3 (1234) (IRT Broadway-Seventh Avenue Line)|
E (IND Eighth Avenue Line)
|February 25, 1908||Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, NJ Transit|
originally Lackawanna Railroad
|August 2, 1909||Hudson-Bergen Light Rail|
originally Erie Railroad
|July 19, 1909||Hudson-Bergen Light Rail|
originally Pennsylvania Railroad (also served the Lehigh Valley Railroad] and New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway)
|September 6, 1910||originally Grove-Henderson Streets|
|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||Template:NWKWTC||June 20, 1937||originally several blocks north (opened November 26, 1911)|
|Newark||Newark||Template:NWKWTC||June 20, 1937||Newark Penn Station (Amtrak, NJ Transit, Newark City Subway)|
originally at Park Place (opened November 26, 1911)
As of 2006, the following is the schedule of fares for the PATH:
- One-Way $1.50 (Cash or MTA Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard. A PATH SingleRide ticket for one-way trips is available from Metrocard Vending machines available in all in PATH stations (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 online, from NJ Transit ticket vending machines, and from some private vendors in the vicinity of PATH stations. Single ride PATH tickets, valid for 2 hours from time of purchase, are available from MetroCard Vending Machines inside all PATH stations.
SmartLink turnstiles and MetroCard Vending Machines
The Port Authority has recently installed new fare collection turnstiles at all PATH stations. These turnstiles allow passengers to pay their fare with a PATH QuickCard or a MTA Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard — and eventually with a smart card, known as SmartLink. 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 New York City subway stations (MTA).
In the fall of 2005, PATH and the MTA installed a number of MetroCard Vending Machines (MVM) on the concourse at the World Trade Center station and at the 30th Street entrance of the 33rd Street station. These machines sell Pay-Per-Ride MetroCards and will allow people to refill SmartLink cards once they are introduced in 2006. In addition, these machines sell SingleRide PATH tickets for use only on the PATH system. By the 2nd quarter of 2006 MVMs were installed in all PATH stations.
In the mid 4th quarter of 2006 PATH is scheduled to introduce SmartLink, which will eventually replace the QuickCard. The testing phase will be done with the distribution of Senior SmartCards to those who participate in the Senior Fare Card program which provides reduced fare rides to riders 65 or older. It is anticipated that the formal rollout to all riders will begin in the 1st quarter of 2007. In the initial 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.
All terminals (33rd Street, Hoboken, World Trade Center, Journal Square and Newark) are wheelchair accessible, as are Exchange Place and Pavonia/Newport.
PATH has a fleet of about 340 cars. There are 4 models: PA-1, PA-2, PA-3 and PA-4. PATH cars are 51 ft (15.5 m) long, with a width of approximately 9'-2 3/4" (2.8 m). 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.
The PA1 was built by St. Louis Car in 1965. PA2 cars were built in 1966, also by St. Louis. Hawker Siddeley built the PA3 cars in 1972. The PA4s were built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in 1986-88.
PA1, PA2, and PA3 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: HOB for Hoboken, JSQ for Journal Square, NWK for Newark, 33 for 33rd Street, and WTC for World Trade Center. (Some of the older PA3 signs contain such overzealous punctuation as J.S.Q., N.W.K. and 33RD. ST., perhaps taking the logic of W.T.C. a bit too far).
PA4 cars have stainless steel bodies, and have three doors on each side. These are the newest cars in the current fleet. 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 community whose residents rely on PATH service to reach their destinations. Most of the municipalities are in New Jersey, but there are also a few from Rockland County, New York, along with New York City itself. While the PATH system is relatively small, more than 300 communities across the bi-state region are home to commuters who use PATH. Each end of the interior of a named car features a brushed aluminum plaque bearing the name of the city or town along with a brief history and description of the area "today" (meaning in 1972), followed by the lines "This car is named in honor of municipality name, one of more than 300 communities whose residents travel on the Port Authority Trans-Hudson interstate rail system."
The Port Authority awarded a $499 million contract to Kawasaki to design and build 340 new PATH cars (tentatively to be called the PA5), which will replace the system's entire 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.
- PA1 100-151 "C" cars-trailers w/ no cabs
- PA1 600-709 "A" cars-Cab units
- PA2 152-181 "C" cars-trailers w/ no cabs
- PA2 710-723 "A" cars-Cab units
- PA3 724-769 all cab units
- PA4 800-894 all cab units
- Notes: Cars 694, 726, 754, 761, 765, 768 in work service. Cars 139, 143, 160, 612, 745, 750, 845 were left under the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 and survived the collapse. They are currently stored out of service and stripped of usable parts.
FRA railroad status
While the PATH resembles a typical intraurban rapid transit service, it is in fact a railroad under the jurisdiction of the Federal Railroad Administration. PATH continues to be subject to FRA regulations since the line has a connection to the Amtrak mainline near Harrison station. While the PATH does operate under a number of grandfather waivers, it is required to do things not typically seen on American transit systems. Some of these include the proper fitting of grab irons to all PATH rolling stock, the use of federally certified locomotive engineers, and compliance with the federal railroad hours of service regulations.
While the PATH did once share trackage with the Pennsylvania Railroad, this joint running and all interlocking connections to the former rail lines have been cut. Due to its isolation from the national rail network, PATH could potentially end its status as a railroad, however this railroad status might prove valuable if PATH were to extend service along existing rail routes as normally transit lines are required to either run on separate rights of way or time share with FRA railroads.
The PATH shares a similar status with the Staten Island Railway, which is also an FRA railroad running on a somewhat different waiver.
The Port Authority has allocated funds to conduct a feasibility study of extending PATH two miles (3.2 km) 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.
- On 33rd Street trains (between 14th Street and 23rd Street) and on Newark trains (between World Trade Center and Exchange Place), a short, zoetrope-like advertisement can be seen in the tunnels.
- 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.
- Photography is prohibited on all PATH trains and stations. This includes photography by tourists and railfans. A permit must be requested in advance with the Port Authority and the photographer must be accompanied by Port Authority personnel. However, enforcement of this rule is spotty, and some people sometimes manage to sneak in photos without getting caught by any PATH employee.
- PATH is one of the few transit systems which continue to rely on air-operated switch machines and trip stops throughout its entire system. PATH has found their performance and reliability to be superior in the wet environment of their tunnels and low-lying surface trackage.
- PATH trains and stations have occasionally been the setting for music videos, commercials, and TV programs, sometimes as a stand-in for the New York City Subway. A notable example is the video for the White Stripes's song "The Hardest Button to Button." 
- PATH management has two principal passenger outreach initiatives: the "PATHways" newsletter, distributed free at terminals, and the Patron Advisory Committee.
- Brennan, Joseph. Abandoned stations.
- Carleton, Paul. (1990). The Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Revisited. D. Carleton Railbooks.
- Cudahy, Brian J. (2002). Rails Under the Mighty Hudson: The Story of the Hudson Tubes. Fordham University Press.
- Fitzherbert, Anthony. "The Public Be Pleased: William G. McAdoo and the Hudson Tubes", Electric Railroaders Association, 1964.
- Fitzherbert, Anthony. "The Public Be Pleased: William G. McAdoo and the Hudson Tubes", Electric Railroaders Association, 1964.
- "Trolley Tunnel Open to Jersey", The New York Times, 1908, February 26, p. 1.
- "To Extend Hudson Tunnel", New York Times, 1908, June 12, p. 6.
- "Under the Hudson by Four Tubes Now", The New York Times, 1909, July 18, p. 3.
- "Erie Commuters Held Up", The New York Times, 1909, August 3, p. 1.
- "Subway Station Not Closed", The New York Times, 1910, August 26, p. 6.
- "M'Adoo Would Build A West Side Subway", The New York Times, 1910, September 16, p. 20.
- "Open McAdoo Extension", The New York Times, 1910, November 10, p. 10.
- "Open Pennsylvania Station To-night", New York Times, 1910, November 26, p. 5.
- "Improved Transit Facilities by Newark High Speed Line", The New York Times, 1911, October 1, p. XX2.
- "Tube Service to Newark", The New York Times, 1911, November 26, p. 9.
- "New Station Open for Hudson Tubes", The New York Times, 1937, June 20, p. 35.
- FY 2004-06 Transportation Improvement Program (pdf) - Authority Projects FY 2003-2008
- "Holiday tree decorates PATH tunnel", Jersey Journal, December 20, 2001.