Bergenline Avenue is located in the middle of the Weehawken Tunnel and is the one underground Hudson-Bergen Light Rail Station and newest underground train station to be open in New Jersey since the 1937 opening of Newark Penn Station on the Newark City Subway (there are only 10 underground rail stations total in the entire state, 2 on PATCO, 3 on PATH, 4 on the Newark City Subway and this one on the HBLR). It opened on February 25, 2006.
The Weehawken Tunnel that this station is in was originally was built by the New York West Shore and Buffalo Railway and opened in 1883. This was soon taken over by the New York Central and become its West Shore division operating on the west shore of the Hudson River. It connected trains from the West Shore railway inland to the New Jersey Waterfront at Weehawken where passengers transferred to ferry boats across the Hudson to New York City. Passenger service abandoned the tunnel in 1959. The line continued to be important for freight and become the Conrail River Line. New Jersey Transit bought out the Conrail River Line, paying to improve the Northern Running Track allowing Conrail to abandon the tunnel and let New Jersey Transit repurpose it for Light Rail needs. The 4,014 ft long tunnel was widened to create room for two tracks and made even wider for the Bergenline Avenue Station the one deep underground Light Rail station in the middle of the tunnel. A vertical shaft was built down 160 feet from the street above down to the station and all access is by way of three elevators. The stop is the busiest on the northern extension of the line with 3,069 average weekday passengers.
The station has what is basically a wide island platform with a firewall in most of the middle of it dividing the platform in two. Open fire doors connect the separate sides of the platform at each end. The platforms are ached above the light rail tracks with silver roofs and indirect purple lights (along with other lights) that slant downward to the center firewalls. The walls themselves are silver with panels of yellow and orange. Seats recessed into the walls some windows offer a view to the opposite platform. Along the roof of the platforms and on some of the end walls is Journey Through Time by Alison Sky. These include sculptures in the ceilings and walls of the Jurassic Age, dinosaurs, and astronaut and a space capsule.
To leave the platforms and get up to the street at the northern end of the platforms is a small vestibule a silver control desk normally unoccupied. Behind this control desk are the three elevators that have doors on both sides and two separate small landings with silvery walls for the 3 elevators up to the street. The station doesn't employ a enter on one side exit on the other side system but the elevator doors do open automatically on both sides. The elevators take just 7 seconds to reach the street, modern and significantly faster than any of the deep level New York City Subway Stations.
The elevators arrive to the surface directly at street level, no intermediate mezzanines and along with the platforms are a pre-paid fare zone. They arrive inside a nice modern brick building that rises up a few stories to house the elevator's electrical and other ventilation equipment. Both sets of elevator doors open like at the lower landing below to each side of the plaza. Nice canopies held up by green supports covers the upper elevator landings and the many TVMs for purchasing tickets in the open air before descending into the deep below. This canopy exits to the brick three ventilation shafts west of the elevator landing in what is 'creatively' named station plaza. It is bounded by 49th Street on its northside, a bus loop on its southside that curves around to 49th Street (one of four different street numbering systems HBLR intersects with) Bergeline Avenue is on the east side, a major shopping street for Union City that the station is in. The walls of the ventilation buildings have four murals by Maria Mijares of buses and the rail to encourage public transportation use. At the southern end of the plaza is an overpass across the bus loop to acessed via its own small entrance to a medical building.
Last Updated: 14 March, 2013