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PSNJ Hoboken-Jersey City Elevated

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Between 1886 and 1949, there was an elevated railroad for trolley car service between Hoboken Terminal and Jersey City. The line was built by the North Hudson Railway Company and eventually became part of Public Service of New Jersey's operations. The line was initially operated by cable ("transit chains") and beginning in 1892, electric traction. The line was authorized in 1883, and the first pile driven February 19, 1884 (NY Times). Opening day was January 28, 1886, and service on the elevated ceased on August 7, 1949.

The route was as follows: From present day Hoboken Terminal's upper level trolley terminal; westward along the north side of present day Observer Highway (at time of construction, Observer Hwy. was known as Ferry Street) to approximately the corner of Observer, Monroe Street, and Paterson Avenue (Paterson Plank Road); at which corner the elevated structure turned slightly to the right (north), and ran over midblock easements in between Observer Hwy. and Paterson Ave., rising in elevation to crest the palisade into Jersey City at Ogden Avenue between Ferry St. and Wood Pl. From this point, tracks split from the elevated structure to join street trackage at Palisade Avenue, and the elevated structure continued west, directly over rooftops of buildings between Ferry St. and Ravine Avenue to Webster Avenue; then over Ravine Avenue to Abbett St. and then between rows of houses facing Ferry Street on the north and Booraem Avenue on the south. The el turned south over the lot on the northeast corner of Central and Booraem Aves. then ran south along Central Avenue, crossing the State Highway and entering private right of way at Central and Hoboken Avenue, resuming over-street running at Newark Ave and Central Ave. The elevated structure came to an end at a ramp at approximately Central Avenue and Lott Street, half a block short of the major intersection of Summit, Central, and Pavonia Avenues.

Elevated stations were located at: Hoboken Terminal (upper level); Washington Street (westbound only); Bloomfield Street (eastbound only); Willow Avenue (both directions); Henderson Street (both directions); Palisade Avenue (both directions); Ravine Ave between Webster and Forest (both directions); Central & Reservoir (both directions); Central & Jefferson (both directions); Central & Beacon (both directions); Central & Fleet (northbound only); Central between Fleet and Hoboken Ave (southbound only) Court House (both directions; south side of Newark Ave over PRW, which is today's Central Ave.). Station data from detailed lot maps of Jersey City and Hoboken available at Princeton University Jersey City, Hoboken). The 1896 map at Princeton shows an elevated terminal station at Pavonia Avenue instead of a ramp to the street (See Jersey City link above, 1896 map, sheet 15).

The photos below depict the elevated structure from Hoboken Terminal to its Jersey City terminus. Most of the photos are from the George Conrad collection with a few postcard views and others thrown in. Some were saved from other web sites some time ago and I cannot find them again now - If the photos are yours please, please let me know. Thanks! Also, you might notice there seems to be space for a second column below; eventually this year I will be taking and adding some present day views to match up with the historic ones.

Photo Gallery


View of Hoboken Public Service terminal from building on Hudson Street looking east. Upper level trolley loop at rear. 5/21/1920. George Conrad Collection.


PSNJ 1787 in upper level of Hoboken Public Service terminal. George Conrad Collection.


PSNJ 2435 in upper level of Hoboken Public Service terminal. 9/10/1938. George Conrad Collection.


PSNJ 2805 approaching upper level of Hoboken trolley terminal. View west. DL&W station at left; H&M maintenance building at right (still exists). George Conrad Collection.


View from Observer Hwy east toward the terminal. H&M maint. building in rear. (Sorry, forgot where I got this one from...)


View north from Hoboken DL&W terminal of el running on Observer Hwy. H&M maint. building on left side. (Sorry, forgot where I got this one from...)


PSNJ 2733. View facing east of Washington Street station. Hoboken Terminal in rear. Neither of those buildings at left exist today. George Conrad Collection. Circa 1947.


Facing east approximately at Observer and Henderson St. (Marin). Mostly out of view at right is a row of warehouses torn down after 1979. Most of the rest of the visible buildings still exist (Neumann Leather complex). George Conrad Collection.


PSNJ 2697. View east from Henderson station. See Neumann Leathers from previous photo. Note this picture is later than the previous picture- based on the Neumann Leathers sign not present in the previous picture (but still exists today). George Conrad Collection.


PSNJ 2747. View east toward river, Hoboken Terminal clock tower, Neumann Leathers, and St. Joseph's Church (Monroe St & Observer) visible at right. Day prior to cessation of service -- 8/6/1949. George Conrad Collection.


Postcard view looking north at the elevated structure from approximately New York Avenue/base of Palisades.


PSNJ 2015 cresting the Hoboken-JC elevated.


Postcard view of Palisade Avenue station (view northwest from Palisade and Ravine.)


Postcard view of looking east toward the downhill section from about Ogden Avenue.


PSNJ 2802. View east from Palisade Ave. station of a Union City line car leaving the elevated. Powerhouse (former cable railway engine plant) at left- building still exists and has been repurposed. Palisade Ave station site is now a supermarket. George Conrad Collection.


PSNJ 3281. View north on Palisade Ave. from corner of Ravine (at left). Note powerhouse building behind elevated structure. Dan Borgnis Collection - Daves Rail Pix.


Postcard view of the Palisade Ave. station.


Magazine photo showing the Hoboken-JC elevated at Palisade Ave. and the adjacent elevator, circa 1908.


PSNJ 2747. View facing west from Palisade Avenue station. Ravine Ave is the street at left. The el ran right over the roof of a building at New York Ave. and Ravine (which still exists!). George Conrad Collection.


PSNJ 2749. Corner of Central Ave and Booraem facing northeast. Warehouse building with faded sign is still extant but modified. Building with cupola roof is on north side of Ferry St just east of Central Ave. George Conrad Collection.


View of the elevated structure where it crosses the State Highway in Jersey City (today's NJ 139 upper level).


View west along Newark Avenue from near the Court House - view of el crossing. Two tall brownstones at right still exist on north side of Newark Ave. (Sorry no larger version)


Looking south from the elevated structure at Court House (Newark Ave) station. Pavonia Ave. is the cross street ahead. Jersey Journal and Trust Co. of NJ buildings at Journal Square in distance. The small storage yard around the el was known as Pavonia Yard and was built "during the war", not sure when. George Conrad Collection.


View north of the elevated and Court House Station from Pavonia Ave. The courthouse is out of sight to the right, although the present day "New Court House" now sits on the block at right of tracks (none of those buildings on the right of the tracks in the picture exist now). The two brownstones where the el passes between still exist on the north side of Newark Ave., as do the small row of 2 story houses at left (Central Ave & Lott St). Building at immediate left doesn't look the same anymore. Probably newer construction there. Date 1/11/1907. George Conrad Collection.


PSNJ 2641. Southbound car on the Jackson line having just come off the elevated (behind photographer). Pavonia Avenue is the cross street ahead. George Conrad Collection.


Rapid Transit In Hoboken. NY Times, 1883.

City And Suburban News; The first pile for the Hoboken elevated road... NY Times, 1884.

Hoboken's Elevated Railroad. NY Times, 1886.

Crowded Car Saved From 100 Feet Plunge.; Stopped on the Brink of Jersey City Heights -- Left the Track and Bumped Over Ties of Trestle. NY Times, 1902.

The Hoboken Inclined Cable Railway. Scientific American, February 20, 1886.

Conquest of the Palisades: A Triumph of Victorian Traction Technology. Al Mankoff, "Electriclines" magazine, March/April 1992.

Trolley Treasures, Volume 1. Al Mankoff and & C.D. Wrege.

The Public Service Trolley Lines in New Jersey, Edward Hamm, Jr., Transportation Trails Publishing.

Maps at Princeton: Jersey City, Hoboken.

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