Hackensack as a long-time transit hub - Part 3 - Trains
Journeys into Hackensack
Most of those other transit village communities were so designated because of their connection to rail service. Though Hackensack has is blessed with two rights of way, and two stops along N.J. Transit's Pascack Valley line, the focal point of its designation was Hackensack Bus Terminal. The bus terminal provides access to 12 different NJ TRANSIT bus routes, and connects riders to the George Washington Bridge Bus Station as well as to Jersey City and Newark and many northern New Jersey locations.
The idea of the transit village is that it serves as an anchor Hackensack's downtown redevelopment plan for the area within a half-mile of the terminal. The plan promotes retail and commercial improvements and aims to create a connected community around all three transit facilities.
Notwithstanding the excitement this designation is creating, Hackensack has long been a transportation hub.
This series is inspired by a wonderful source of information about Hackensack's history we recently came upon. It is very entertaining and easy to read ("Historic Facts about Hackensack", compiled and written by George Mercer Scudder, September, 1999). Part of it outlines Hackensack's changing role in transportation over the years. We share it with you here and highly recommend it to you. In Part 1 of this Series, we shared with you some of the history of the role of the river. In Part 2 we took a look at the roads, turnpikes and taverns of Hackensack's early years. This part is about the trains that came through town:
In 1869, the Hackensack and New York Railroad Company was operating trains from Jersey City to Essex Street, Hackensack. That same year the residents of Hackensack donated $2,600 for building a station and extending the tracks to Anderson Street. By March 4, 1870, the tracks had been laid all the way to Hillsdale and stations were located at Central Avenue, Anderson Street, Fairmount (then called Zingsem), and Cherry Hill (North Hackensack). This line was later extended to Havestraw, NY and was operated by the Erie Railroad as their NJ and NY line. In later years the Erie merged with the Lackawanna and the trains became diesel powered instead of coal burning steam locomotives. After the Erie went out of business, rail operations were taken over by the state in what is now NJ Transit. For many years there was regular service for weekday, evenings and weekends. However, after a track was removed in the late-1960's eventually service was curtailed to primarily rush hour (towards Hoboken in the morning and towards Spring Valley in the evenings). In the early 2000's, round trip non-rush hour and weekend service was restored, as well as the possibility of transfer to other NJ Transit and Amtrak lines by way of the Lautenberg Transfer in Secaucus.
The railroad running east and west through Hackensack, known as the Susquehanna, began in 1862 and was known then as the New Jersey Midland Railway Company. At the start, three trains daily ran fiom Jersey City ferry to rackensack. By March 1872, the line had been extended to Newfoundland and later to Sparta, Newton, Blairstown and across the Delaware River to Stroudsburg, Pa. At one period, about 191 5, there were thirty-eight trains daily from Hackensack to New York and return. Service continued until it was eliminated June 30, 1966 . There were stations in Hackensack at Mercer Street (midtown) and Prospect Avenue
There was no direct transfer between the Erie and Susquehanna.
Image Credit: Classic Streamliners