Newport is a PATH station that has gone by four different names since it opened in 1908 as the Erie Station. The station was built with a single island platform with two tracks, and is an important transfer point for passengers using PATH for intrastate New Jersey Travel (such as from Hoboken to Journal Square) since it is the junction point of the HOB to WTC Line and the 33rd St to JSQ lines. The station was built to serve the Erie Railroad's Pavonia Terminal on the Hudson River. Today's New Jersey Transit Main & Bergen County Lines and Pascack Valley Line are all original Erie Railroad Lines. Commuters transferred here from commuter trains to the H&M Tubes to reach Manhattan, or via ferries. The Erie terminal also served long distance trains with trains running all the way to Chicago (Dearborn Station). Crowds at the Erie Station necessitated the opening of a parallel, secondary side platform for the northbound (Hoboken and 33rd Street-bound) track. This opened in 1924 for supplemental service.
This platform looks identical to the island platform and both have still original iron columns (one set on the side platform, two on the island platform) painted pink with decorative E's still visible in their green tops holding up a gently curved concrete roof. The platform and track walls were modernized in the 1980s with cream colored tiled cinderblock walls with a trimlines of green both above and below the central tiles. The floor of the platforms are mostly grey with green and pink accents of tile. Crowds on the long passageways from the platforms to the railroad platforms (the station had direct exits to the train platforms) were so crowded that in 1954 the H&M in cooperation with Goodyear Tire installed a single-direction moving sidewalk called 'The Speedwalk' along one of the corridors from the platforms to the street. It was the first installation of a moving sidewalk in the United States.
As a way to save costs on terminal and expensive ferry operations in the mid-1950s the Erie Railroad abandoned its Pavonia terminal above the PATH station and moved into the Lackawanna's Hoboken Terminal. It was mainly a two-phase operation switch: on October 13, 1956 non-rush hour commuter and long distance trains made the switch to the Hoboken Lackawanna Terminal. Rush Hour service made the switch on March 25, 1957. This left only limited Erie Service on the Northern Branch and New York, Susquehanna, and Western Commuter service that couldn't be viably rerouted into the Hoboken Terminal. The last Northern Branch Train, and passenger train to ever leave from the Erie Railroad Pavonia Terminal occurred on December 12, 1958, ferry service (delayed by a lawsuit, it was originally supposed to be discontinued on August 15, 1957) was finally discontinued on that very same day. Northern branch trains were in turn rerouted to Hoboken Terminal, requiring a two mile backup move to access the track connection (increasing running time by 20 minutes) these trains were finally discontinued in 1966. NYS&W trains were cut-back from the waterfront entirely. Trains began terminating at the Susquehanna Transfer (opened in 1939) were commuters transferred to buses through the Lincoln Tunnel to reach Manhattan, this service was also discontinued in 1966.
In just two short years the ridership base at the Erie H&M Station had declined exponentially. The station now only served abandoned rail yards with no other transit connections. The station was closed during nights and weekends because of the lack of ridership. The side platform was abandoned leaving just the island platform for trains to stop at. The longer passageway down to the platforms was also abandoned, leaving the few passengers to only use the passageway that leads to only one staircase down at the northern end of the only open platform. The stop might have been closed completely except for the fact it serves as an important transfer point for passengers transferring between H & M Services between Hoboken and the rest of Jersey City, a function the station still serves today. In 1962 the Port Authority took over the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad (renaming it PATH) and renamed the station Pavonia Avenue or just Pavonia, the only nearby street through the abandoned freight yards.
In the 1980s developers bought the abandoned Erie Railroads Yards and started building Newport Development a new mixed use community of residence towers and town houses, offices buildings, hotels and shops including the Newport Centre Malle. It was around this time the station was renovated with just the single island platform open, and the new headhouse constructed at street level to provide access. In 1988 with the development starting to open the station was renamed again, now called Pavonia/Newport. The station also began being open 24-hours a day again. In 2000 the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail opened to Pavonia-Newport giving the station a connection to another rail line. This transfer though isn't all that convenient. Passengers must head west from the station across Washington Blvd, follow the light rail signs through a tunnel on the first floor of one of the new buildings and then finally reach the HBLR island platform on its ride of way on the east side of the Mall. The development led to overcrowding and a huge increase in ridership. This led PATH to renovate and reopen the side platform, called Platform A on Sunday, August 10, 2003. It also installed another station elevator for access to this platform. The reopened side platform has low gates at each staircase and the ability to be closed during overnight hours and signs make this seem like it is the case. In 2010 PATH decided to rename the station again, dropping Pavonia to just Newport. This occurred with the delivery of the new PA5 cars announcements saying and displaying only Newport. The station signs were soon replaced and hideous modern blue ones (the oversized signs on the columns I find particularly bad) saying just Newport replaced the previous green signs that said Pavoina/Newport and complimented the historical nature of the station.
The station has a single entrance in a large headhouse along the north side of Town Square Place in the middle of the Newport Development. This headhouse has glass walls and a flat slightly overhanging concrete roof that is held up by blue exterior support columns. Along the roof are a couple of modern blue PATH logos that become illuminated at night. The signage outside has all been replaced by modern blue text that says Welcome to PATH with a white stripe beneath saying 'To All Trains' next to the elevator and wheelchair logo. Most passengers reach the station through a plaza of winding paths and trees from Washington Blvd because the entrances, through normal and revolving doors are into the north side of the building. Along this entrance, attached to the building is some beam work above a plaza. This was designed to by a skywalk to an office building but was never finished. Inside the building are the MVMs and a nice long row of turnstiles. These turnstiles lead down to an upper landing, from here its a relatively short (the station is a lot less deep than Exchange Place or World Trade Center) ride on a choice of four escalators, staircases or an elevator. These lead down to a wide lower landing with a nice abstract mural showing what looks like a river running between two shores.
To reach the platforms things get slightly more complicated. There are two entrance passageways that feel like tubes, protruding from the west side of the lower landing They both have (along with this mezzanine) the same cream colored cinderblock base tile and a high green trim line as the platforms and slightly curved textured ceilings. The tube to the right (and closest to the escalators) banks downwards quite steeply (with a nice mural of fish on one wall) before reaching a tiny upper landing with a staircase to the northern of each platform. The tube to the left is significantly longer (with similar murals of fish) and goes down an ADA complaint ramp before reaching a mezzanie directly above the platforms. This mezzanine has similar pink with green tops cast iron beams to the platforms in the middle it. The beams that come up from the side platform have been tiled over. These are clearly the remains from when it was closed and all trains stopped at the middle platform during the stations years of little use. Three staircases lead down to each platform, along with an elevator. The ones to the northbound (Hoboken and 33rd Street-bound) side platform are particularly interesting because they loop around behind the platform through areas of odd, indirect lighting.
Last Updated: 13 February, 2013