Pennsylvania Station (Newark)

Pennsylvania Station (Newark)

Pennsylvania Station (also known as Newark Penn Station) is an intermodal passenger station in Newark, New Jersey. One of the New York metropolitan area's major transportation hubs, Newark Penn Station is served by multiple rail and bus carriers, making it the seventh-busiest rail station in North America, and the fourth-busiest in the New York area. Located at Raymond Plaza, between Market Street and Raymond Boulevard, it is served by the Newark Light Rail, three NJ Transit commuter rail lines, the PATH rapid transit system, and all 11 of Amtrak's Northeast Corridor services (including the Acela Express). The station is also Newark's main intercity bus terminal; it is served by carriers Greyhound, Peter Pan, and Trailways. Additionally, it is served by 33 local and regional bus lines operated by NJ Transit Bus Operations and ONE Bus (Orange-Newark-Elizabeth).


Designed by the renowned architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, the station contains a mixture of Art Deco and Neo-Classical features. The interior of the main waiting room has medallions illustrating the history of transportation, from wagons to steamships to cars and airplanes, the eventual doom of the railroad age. Chandeliers are decorated with Zodiac signs. The current building was dedicated on March 23, 1935; the first regular train to use it was a New York–Philadelphia express at 10:17 on March 24. The new station was built alongside (northwest of) the old station, which was then demolished and replaced by the southeast half of the present station, completed in 1937. Except for the separate, underground Newark Light Rail station, all tracks are elevated above street level.

It was built to be one of the centerpieces of the former Pennsylvania Railroad's (PRR's) train network, and to become a transfer point to the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (now PATH), which was partially funded by the PRR, for travel to lower Manhattan. At the time, PRR operated 232 weekday trains (total of both directions) between Newark and New York Penn Station; after 1937, the 10-mile trip took an average of 16 minutes.

The station itself, the adjacent 230-foot Dock Bridge over the Passaic River (the longest three-track railway lift span in existence at the time) and the realignments of the Newark City Subway (now Newark Light Rail) and H&M cost $42 million, borne almost evenly by the PRR and the City of Newark. The City Subway extension and H&M realignment opened on June 20, 1937, and the nearby Manhattan Transfer station was closed, along with the H&M's original Park Place station.

The Port of New York Authority (now the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) bought the bankrupt H&M Railroad and reorganized it as Port Authority Trans-Hudson in 1962. New Jersey Department of Transportation's Aldene Plan redirected Central Railroad of New Jersey and Reading Railroad trains from Communipaw Terminal in Jersey City to Newark Penn Station in 1967. The Pennsylvania Railroad merged with longtime rival New York Central Railroad in 1968 to form Penn Central Railroad, but Newark kept the name "Penn Station." In 1970, Penn Station became the sole intercity station in Newark when the Erie Lackawanna withdrew its last intercity trains from Broad Street Station.

After Amtrak took over inter-city service in 1971, Penn Central continued to operate commuter service, despite suffering from major bankruptcy. In 1976, the New Jersey Department of Transportation acquired Penn Central, Reading and Jersey Central passenger service, which included lines from as far away as Philadelphia's SEPTA diesel service along the West Trenton Line, with Conrail operating service under contract. New Jersey Transit acquired the rail line north of West Trenton in 1982, and established its rail operations division in 1983, acquiring almost all commuter rail service from Conrail within the state.

Newark Penn Station was extensively renovated in 2007, with restoration of the facade and historic interior materials (e.g., plaster ceilings, marble and limestone, windows, lighting fixtures), as well as train platform and equipment improvements.

Current operations

Despite being 10 mi (16 km) from New York Penn, the busiest train station in North America, Newark Penn is a major station in its own right. In 2014 it was the 14th busiest station in the Amtrak system, the eighth busiest in the Mid-Atlantic region (behind New York Penn, Washington Union, Philadelphia, Baltimore Penn, Albany-Rensselaer, BWI Airport and Wilmington) and by far the busiest of the six Amtrak stations in New Jersey. This is mainly because since the 1970s, it has been the only intercity rail station in heavily populated northeastern New Jersey.

It is served by all 11 services running along the Northeast Corridor, providing a second option for Amtrak riders traveling through the New York area.

Three NJ Transit commuter rail lines converge here: the Northeast Corridor Line, North Jersey Coast Line and the Raritan Valley Line. The former two continue to New York via Secaucus Junction, with the Coast Line offering limited service to Hoboken. The Raritan Valley Line generally terminates here, with the exception of select trains that continue to New York and one inbound weekday train that continues to Hoboken. However, all Raritan Valley Line trains presently terminate at Newark to allow for the installation of positive train control.

It is the western terminus of the Newark–World Trade Center line of the PATH train, operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Trains terminate on the upper level and return to service on the lower level.

Due to the wide availability of these routes, as well as the Northeast Regional and Acela Express, passengers on most of Amtrak's southbound medium and long-distance routes are not allowed to detrain in Newark.

On the lower level is the southern terminus of the Newark Light Rail (formerly the Newark City Subway), with three outbound tracks and two inbound tracks. Passengers on this light rail system from Newark and its nearby suburbs can transfer to Amtrak, NJ Transit or PATH trains, or travel to Newark Broad Street or downtown Newark. The Broad Street extension, opened in 2006, was intended to ease transfers between the former Erie Lackawanna commuter routes that call at Broad Street and the Amtrak and former PRR commuter routes that call at Newark Penn. Previously, passengers had to make their own way (usually by taxi or bus) between the two stations.

Newark Penn Station carries the IATA airport code of ZRP.

Tracks and platforms

Newark Penn has 8 tracks and 6 platforms for both NJT and PATH (Newark Light Rail not included), but PATH trains from NYC arrive on the upper level and ones from South Street arrive on the lower level.

  • Track A is less used and has a side platform, usually for Raritan Valley Line arrivals. Trains relay and lay-up at Hudson Yard in Harrison before returning on Track 5 for the reverse trip. Occasionally used by Amtrak trains to New York Penn Station.
  • Track 1 is normally used by New Jersey Transit trains to New York Penn Station and is served by an island platform shared with Track M.
  • Track M is the track for departing PATH trains to World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan.
  • Track 2 is typically used by northbound Amtrak and New Jersey Transit express trains, but is also used during the PM rush for westbound North Jersey Coast Line express trains. This track has an island platform that is shared with track M.
  • Track 3 is usually used by southbound Amtrak trains, though westbound New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor Line express trains will often use this track in the evening rush hours. This platform has an island platform shared with track 4.
  • Track 4 is normally used by westbound New Jersey Transit trains traveling via Rahway.
  • Track 5 is usually used by westbound Raritan Valley Line trains and weekend eastbound Raritan Valley Line trains terminating. This track has a side platform. This track has closed periodically since 2013.
  • Track H is for discharging PATH trains. This upper-level track, which did not have turnstiles until SmartLink ones were installed in 2005, has stairs to Track 2, along with ramps to Tracks 3 and 4, and a separate stairway to Track 5. Trains relay and lay-up south of the station before returning on Track M for the trip to World Trade Center. There are two pairs of crossover switches south of the station for that purpose, as well as a center express track from which trains can be reversed quickly.

Platform layout

Note: Shows platform layouts only, not the actual station layout.


In popular culture

  • The station was featured in several scenes of the 1980 film Gloria.
  • The station is represented in the 2010 Fringe episode "Entrada" by a visually similar transportation hub in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the alternate universe depicted in the series it is named Springsteen Station after locally born musician Bruce Springsteen. The station is represented a second time in 2012 in the Season 5 episode "The Bullet That Saved the World" where the 2036 version of the station serves as a military checkpoint into an occupied Manhattan for high-speed rail traffic.
  • The station is also mentioned in Glenn Miller's iconic hit, "Chattanooga Choo Choo."

Sources and notes

External links

  • NJT rail station information page for Pennsylvania Station (Newark)
  • DepartureVision real time train information for Pennsylvania Station (Newark)
  • NJT Newark Light Rail station information page for Pennsylvania Station (Newark)
  • Newark, NJ – Amtrak
  • Newark Pennsylvania Station (USA RailGuide -- TrainWeb)
  • PATH - Newark Station
  • Newark, NJ (NWK) (Amtrak's Great American Stations)

Pennsylvania Station (Newark)

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