Pennsylvania Railroad's Princeton Station
Pennsylvania Railroad's 1918 built station located within the campus of Princeton University in (almost) the heart of downtown Princeton, NJ.
If this station could talk, it would probably say:
I'm still standing (Yeah, yeah, yeah)
Once I never could have hoped to win
You're starting down the road leaving me again
The threats you made were meant to cut me down...
The location of the first station, built by the Camden & Amboy Railroad in 1865, was originally located closer to downtown Princeton. In the late 1850s and 1860s, the C&A had realigned its line through town from Trenton, NJ to New Brunswick due to poor soil conditions along the canal it followed. The new alignment also removed a sharp curve in the line. The new right-of-way largely conforms to that used as part of Amtrak‚Äôs modern day Northeast Corridor. The improved, straighter track was located a few miles east of the canal, leaving Princeton without a rail connection. To rectify the situation, the C&A built a short line that branched off of the main line at a point which became known as today's Princeton Junction in West Windsor, NJ. The railroad opened its junction depot in 1865. To consolidate control over the lucrative rail corridor between New York and Philadelphia, the C&A and the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company merged in 1867 to form the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Company. Four years later, the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) leased the company for 999 years.
Three large passenger yards and a wye were once located here, built in 1898 to serve the growing crowds attending Ivy League football games. To accommodate expansion of Princeton University, the Pennsylvania Railroad initiated plans in 1916 to abandon the 1865 built station and construct a slightly larger station 1200 ft. to the south. The "new" station featured a new similar sized baggage and express building located adjacent and south to it, connected by a canopied walkway.
When Conrail was formed in 1976, the train line was transferred to the New Jersey Department of Transportation. The university bought the station from NJ Transit in 1984 with the requirement that the university was required to maintain 150 parking spaces within 1,000 feet of the station and NJ Transit retaining the right of way and station access. The agreement stipulated that the university could move the station south at its own cost. The university eventually built a new station about 460 feet to the south to make way for its Lewis Center for the Arts building and a new access road to the university's parking garage. The two historic train station buildings were converted into restaurants, and the new modern yet small station was opened on Alexander Road in November of 2014 and can be seen here.
And now you know!