• Sixth Street Embankment (Harsimus Stem) HBLR / Rail Trail

  • General discussion related to Rail Trails nationwide, including proposed rail trail routes. The official site of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy can be found here: www.railstotrails.org.
General discussion related to Rail Trails nationwide, including proposed rail trail routes. The official site of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy can be found here: www.railstotrails.org.

Moderator: railtrailbiker

  by Jeff Smith
Using the High Line as a Model, Jersey City Bets on the Embankment
At the intersection of Jersey Avenue and 6th Street, in downtown Jersey City, stands an imposing structure of stone and granite that towers over a Brownstone-lined street. Ivy cascades down the sides, while 20- and 30-foot-tall trees grow on top. Huge reddish brown boulders pile up for two stories, with tiny fern-like plants breaking out of the crevices. It’s Stephen Gucciardo’s favorite section of the Embankment, a six-block, half mile-long spur of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

“Without any of us having touched the Embankment, it’s already a park,” Gucciardo said.

He is the president of the Embankment Preservation Coalition, a group that has fought to preserve the rail spur that slices through the historic Harsimus Cove neighborhood. The tracks haven’t been used since the early 1990s.
  by umtrr-author
Since I last checked in on this topic, I've purchased two books which show both the Embankment and Exchange Place "the way they were" as well as the Harismus Cove Yard.

Both are by Charles Caldes and published by Journal Square Publishing, 701 Kingsland Avenue, Ridgefield NJ 07657. I bought my copies (and copies for my dad) at a train show so I don't know about online or brick and mortar store availability.

"Jersey City's Hudson River Waterfront, Book One: The Pennsylvania Railroad 1941-1964" is a 64 page softcover. The front cover has a 1950's aerial photo of Exchange Place and Colgate's.

"Pennsylvania Railroad in Jersey City" is a 60 page hardcover. There are aerial photos of the Embankment as it appeared with trackage as of 1964 on Pages 18 and 19 of this book.

I did not note any duplication of photos between the two books. It's certainly possible that they could have been published somewhere else-- there's at least one that I've seen before, but it's the description of the Pennsy's catenary, not Jersey City specific.
  by Jeff Smith
A roadblock?

Embankment Deal Stalls

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Now, in an additional wrinkle, court papers filed Thursday in a case associated with the embankment argue that other Jersey City land situated on old railways could have clouded titles, meaning it will be hard to sell or develop the properties in the future.

The former Pennsylvania Railroad tracks spanning Exchange Place are lined with office buildings, high-end condos, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and parking lots eyed for future development.

The argument is preliminary, and the city and preservation groups looking to save the embankment view it as a delay tactic by the Manhattan investor who acquired the disputed property from Consolidated Rail Corp.

But the investor, real-estate developer Steve Hyman, isn't backing down from the point, and retained a surveyor and architect to buttress his point in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
  by Jeff Smith

Most excellent...
Jersey City officials hailing embankment ruling as 'clear win'

A federal judge last week ruled that the Sixth Street Embankment in Jersey City is indeed a rail line, a decision that city officials believe could lead to the city someday owning the disputed property.

Mayor Steve Fulop hailed the Sept. 30 ruling as “another clear win” for the city, which wants to transform some of the elevated abandoned rail line into a public park similar to the High Line in Manhattan. A lawyer for developer Steve Hyman, who purchased the 6.5-acre parcel from Conrail in 2006, shrugged.


Jersey City has argued that Conrail should have gone through an abandonment process before it sold the embankment to Hyman and his wife, Victoria. Federal transportation rules require owners of abandoned lines to go through this process before selling, a process that could give the city first crack at purchasing it.

But Conrail had argued that the embankment was a spur, not a line, and so was not subject to the abandonment process. In her Sept. 30 ruling, federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson tossed that argument.
  by umtrr-author
Yes, most excellent indeed, although it's obvious that the developers aren't done yet either. If nothing else, they are determined to drag this on for years... or at least that's what they are saying at the moment.

Helpful hint: Don't read the comments that accompany the piece on NJ.com.