The plaque shown in this post was presented to the late Hon. Alex Decroce for his work on the New Jersey General Assembly Light Rail Panel. Included are a piece of the Cedar Street Subway Tunnel, a limited edition copper coin commemorating the retirement of the Newark Subway PCC cars, which ran from 1954-2001 and an engraved plate explaining what the items signify. The Public Service Terminal and the Cedar Street Tunnel were major components in the public transportation infra-structure that formerly existed in New Jersey.
The Public Service Terminal was a three-level streetcar station in Newark, New Jersey, owned and operated by the Public Service Corporation. The terminal served patrons throughout New Jersey. It was in close proximity to the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad (now known as the P.A.T.H.) which provided transit to New York City. The Hudson and Manhattan, or H&M for short, had its Park Place Station where NJPAC is now located. The Public Service facility served as the terminus for streetcar lines from as far as Trenton. Public Service was both a transportation company and a utility, providing electric and gas service to much of northern New Jersey. The six office stories above the terminal served as company headquarters.
The terminal, opened on April 30, 1916 , less than two weeks before Newark officially kicked off its 250th anniversary celebration. The terminal was located at the northeast corner of Park Place near the Morris Canal, whose right of way later became Raymond Blvd. after the canal was abandoned in 1926.The building was a short distance from the intersection of Broad and Market Streets (the famous “Four Corners”) once one of the busiest intersections in the United States !It provided an off-street terminal for streetcars, and a central location for riders. The street entrance was between the two track levels, and provided access to the office floors and to both terminals. Most cars used the upper level, reached by a ramp from Mulberry Street on the east side. Some used the lower level, reached on the west side from Washington Street by the Cedar Street tunnel. In 1916 the upper level saw 2,050 cars a day and the lower 550 cars, with more than 50,000 fares paid per day. In 1935 the lower level was connected to the newly built City Subway, which ran under Raymond Boulevard adjacent to the terminal.
Like most trolley companies, Public Service converted its routes to bus lines during the 1930s. The last streetcar line using the terminal upper level was the #1-Newark line to Exchange Place Terminal in Jersey City, which ended on August 1, 1937. The last on the lower level was the #43-Jersey City line, running to Exchange Place Terminal by a different route, which ended on May 1, 1938. The terminal continued in use for bus routes. The lower level was used until May 1966, and the upper level until 1978.
Public Service sold its transportation system to the New Jersey Transit in 1981, consisting of a large network of bus lines and one trolley line, the City Subway. The terminal building was demolished in June 1981 and replaced with the Public Service Enterprise Group headquarters, 80 Park Plaza. I have a lockset from the original Public Service Building which was given to me by a former public Service executive.
The Cedar Street Tunnel ran two blocks from the Public Service Terminal to Washington Street between the Morris canal ( now Raymond Blvd.) and Warren Street. The tunnel allowed street cars (and later buses) access to the subterranean level of the Newark Public Service Terminal. It was built by the Public Service Corporation in 1916, as part of the terminal building, to reduce streetcar congestion at nearby Broad and Market streets, and provided access for a number of surface lines. The tunnel starts at street level at Washington Street and extends two blocks under Cedar Street and across Broad Street.
The tunnel opened on April 30, 1916 and was initially used by four street car lines. At its height in 1927, fourteen lines used the tunnel. An inbound station stop was added inside the tunnel under Cedar Street and Broad Street on January 27, 1927, serving Kresge’s Department Store. Later, across the tracks, an outbound platform was added serving McCrory’s 5& 10 store.
On May 8, 1966, the last three bus lines using the Cedar Street Subway, Line 62 to Perth Amboy, Line 128 to Paterson and Line 134 to New Brunswick, operated final service through the tunnel. Since the demolition of the Public Service Terminal in 1981, it has ended at a wall under Broad Street.
Presently, the tunnel portal and track stubs are still visible from Washington Street.