South Amboy is a station located at street level and was completely reconfigured and rebuilt with today's modern high-level island platform dedicated in December 2009 as a plaque announces. This project included reconfiguring and removing a third track at the station to accommodate the new island platform and building a large modern overpass. The New York and Long Branch Railroad reached South Amboy in 1875 and by 1882 it become a jointly owned and shared line of the Pennsylvanian and Central Railroad of New Jersey. The station from 1936 to 1983 was the southern end of the Pennsylvania railroad's electrification and all electric trains to and from New York terminated here. Non-electrified service using steam and later diesel was mainly provided by the Central Railroad of New Jersey farther to Bay Head and continued further north to their Communipaw Terminal along the Hudson River. The station is still the terminus of a few rush hour trains although there is no yard at the station or siding tracks at the station (just a few crossovers south of it) but now that electrification extends to Long Branch that is the transfer point from electric to diesel. A few rush hour diesel through trains do pass through the station running to and from Hoboken.
The original depot was also closed to passenger use with the opening of the island platform. Station house activities moved to small buildings directly in the middle of the island platform. This building still stands and is across from the emergency ramp at the southern end of the island platform and the northern end of the original platforms that overlap the southern end of the new high-level island platform. The low-level platform edges still have fading yellow lines along the platforms and new fencing built to close them off. The depot is a small brick building with a high-gabled, shingled roof and attached porches at either end to provide shelter to waiting passengers. This is along the New York-bound track with Mason Street directly parallel to it. This platform used to also serve the now removed middle track (a fence still exits between the two existing tracks to hamper trespassers). The middle track was used by through trains, the side track was only a siding ending south of the station used by terminating trains. These two tracks were combined into one track and reconfigured to accommodate the new island platform. Just south of the original depot is an ugly and closed (construction barricades) overpass connecting the two platforms. This overpass has ugly full steel walls directly above the tracks and an odd looking plexiglass domes roof to allow light in but protect passengers using the overpass from the elements. The southern end of the original platform is the grade crossing of John Street. There are still Enter/Exit platform to the left/Right signs along the fencing between the grade crossing and former platforms.
The modern island platform for the two track line is quite long, and the middle half of it is canopied with a gabled roof but white and flat when looked up to from the platform. This is because the lighting is built in. Starting at the southern end of the platform is an emergency and closed area of refuge and ramp that leads directly down to track level in front of the original depot. Next starting beneath the canopy is the first brick building. Inside are two single occupancy restrooms accessed from doors directly from the platform. Next is a the longest of these shelters and houses the ticket window still open from 5:00am to 12:30pm, it starts with another bricked off area where the ticket office is, there is a simple, single window and leads to the main waiting room with green and glass walls. There are some wooden looking brown benches without backs and this waiting room (and I assume the three others and the restroom) are all open from 5:15am to 6:30pm weekdays and 10:00am to 2:00pm on weekends. Next are two TVMs for use when the ticket office is closed. This is followed by a staircase to the southern side and staircase and elevator to the northern side to the overpass that allows all access to the platform. North of the overpass is another waiting room with a small attached brick area that has a roll-up and closed silver door. A entrance door from outside into the brick area is labeled concession but it doesn't look like there is a vendor at this time. There is a final enclosed and heated shelter at the northern end of the canopy. Just beyond here the platform becomes exposed to the elements again and the platform for the New York-bound track ends. The platform continues with a fence along one side another couple of cars only allowing the Bay Head-bound track to platform. The reason for this is the Church Running Track freight spur that switches onto the New York-bound track before the platform actually ends for Bay Head-bound trains. The renovation also included installing DepartureVision monitors throughout the new station.
The modern overpass in the middle of the platform is fully enclosed with glass windowed walls and green the dominate color of the beams holding up the walls. Portions of the glass in the overpass (and the glass on the platform as well) are printed or wrapped with vinyl film of the local ecosystem. It is Shore Strata by Kate Dodd, 2009. The overpass has exits at both ends. To the east an elevator and staircase lead down to the station's main parking lots with over 500 spaces. It also provides access to the few houses along Mason Street that is the entrance to the parking lots. To the west a wide grand staircase and a third elevator lead down to a grand pedestrian only plaza set back from Main Street. Along one of the brick pillars that hold up the overpass is South Amboy: An Illuminating Past...A Shining Future, 2005, Handmade ceramic tile by Helene Hemmans and Deborah Goletz. This extends to ceramic tiles on the sides of the steps up to the overpass from the main station plaza.
All Photos taken on 3 April, 2013