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PATH Exchange Place Station to Reopen June 29

June 2003

PATH service to Exchange Place, on the Jersey City waterfront, will resume June 29 when the refurbished Exchange Place station will begin functioning as a temporary PATH system terminus point. PATH service to the World Trade Center site will resume at the end of the year when a temporary station will be ready for passenger operation.

When the Exchange Place station reopens and added ferry service to Lower Manhattan is initiated from the Colgate Pier, PATH commuters will be able to save approximately 10-15 minutes on their trip to lower Manhattan, compared to other transportation options.

The re-opening of Exchange Place station will come 21 months after the terrorist- attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center (WTC). The attacks also destroyed the WTC PATH station, and flooded the tunnels under the Hudson River. Flooding -from broken water and sewer lines and the vast amounts of water used to fight the fires at the World Trade Center-reached Exchange Place, and necessitated huge concrete plugs to be constructed within the tunnels to prevent the disruption of the entire PATH system. In 1906, the Exchange Place station had been built as a "through station", en route to downtown New York, where the trains would turn around to go back to New Jersey. There was no way, at Exchange Place, to switch trains from the eastbound to the westbound track and trains could no longer use the station.

Converting Exchange Place station into a terminal where trains could be switched back required new tunnels for crossover tracks and new large radius switches. That operation meant mining new tunnels through 11,000 cubic yards of solid rock just west of the station, between Hudson and Washington Streets, extending beneath the 35-story building at 10 Exchange Place and the buildings at 2 and 30 Montgomery Street.

The tunneling work was done in a manner to avoid inconveniencing or disrupting neighborhood businesses, and all construction debris was removed from the site below ground during off hours.

As this Herculean task proceeded, eight turnouts were built for trains to switch tracks. The existing ballasted track system had to be removed and replaced in its entirety down to the concrete tunnel invert along with damaged ductbanks, cables, conduits and other equipment.

To prepare the system for the future, engineers lengthened the station platform and specified upgrades to state of the art technology. The new Exchange Place Signal Relay Room alone boasts some 150 cables connected to 2200 wires, each of which has another three connections plus 4400 other wires and equipment. It will take only a point and click with a mouse for a PATH operator to align a train with a platform.

On April 3, the system was powered up for a test of the new terminal. A test train operated all the new crossovers into the Exchange Place station from 7:30 PM until 10:00 PM without so much as a hiccup. "It was so smooth… unbelievably perfect," says Port Authority Construction Manager Tom Groark. While work still needs to be completed before the station will be ready, it is mostly refurbishment of passenger areas at the station and testing of the signal and communications systems.

Once Exchange Place reopens, some 8000 daily passenger trips are initially expected from the station. That usage is bound to grow as riders experience the greater convenience in reaching Lower Manhattan by transferring to the enhanced ferry services to the World Financial Center, on the Hudson River, and Pier 11 at Wall Street, on the East River.

 
 
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