by Kevin Walsh

BACK in March I took a PATH train to Newark and then rode the Newark Light Rail all the way to its terminal at Grove Street in Bloomfield, which is the only occasion I was able to travel at any length out of town this year, though I also forayed into Hoboken the same month. I hadn’t ridden the City Subway as it used to be known since its vintage fleet of cars from 1948 had been scrapped; I mean to dig up some pictures form that ride that are lying around, but I’ve lost track of their location. I never throw out a photo, though.

The City Subway, as I prefer to call it, runs in underground sections in downtown Newark, on the surface along a right of way and in an open cut at different locations. If you’ve been to Boston, the City Subway behaves like the Green Line in its underground sections and as a surface trolley, as the Green Line does in Brookline. (I haven’t been in Boston since 2006 and would enjoy a return visit; my Forgotten Boston project seems to be in an indefinite hold till then. I began it in 2005 with Bostonian firefighter Sean Colby.)

The City Subway opened in 1935 and its signage and station design are similar to New York City’s IND Subway which was in the midst of its decade-long opening. One of these days I’ll put the whole batch in FNY when I have the time to research some context.

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Ed Greenberg November 13, 2021 - 10:12 am

Well, I need to go see this. I really enjoyed the Green Line in Boston, but also the Mattapan line there. Both highly recommended.

Andy November 13, 2021 - 3:41 pm

May I take the liberty of adding a few more historical tidbits about the Newark City Subway, one of my all-time favorite transit lines because its historical significance? The City Subway was constructed in the bed of the Morris Canal, built in the early 19th century between Jersey City and Phillipsburg, NJ, during a period of canal building all over the eastern United States. By the early 20th century railroads across New Jersey put the Morris Canal out of business, rendering its waters a health hazard, prompting the State of New Jersey to drain and fill the canal bed, and re-purpose its Newark segment for Public Service Company streetcars. The canal’s Downtown Newark portion of the line was covered and a new street, Raymond Boulevard, was built with a new subway tunnel below. Beyond the Warren St. subway portal, the canal bed was dredged and filled, with overpasses added at major streets and stations. The original line between Penn Station and Franklin Avenue opened in segments between 1935 and 1940. In 2002 an extension on the north end to Grove Street in Bloomfield) was added, and in 2006 new street trackage in downtown Newark extended the line to the NJ Transit Broad Street commuter rail station.
Full details can be found using this link:,_New_Jersey_Light_Rail/City_Subway from the website

Raymond Boulevard is named for a two-term mayor of Newark, Thomas L. Raymond, who died suddenly in office in 1928. Link to his Wikipedia bio:

You correctly noted that the Newark City subway closely resembles the Boston MBTA’s Green Line, specifically the D Branch to and from Riverside. Another city with a similar light rail system, with both underground and above ground rights-of-way, is closer to Newark, in Philadelphia. The SEPTA system’s subway-surface trolleys connect the Center City with various West Philadelphia neighborhoods. Two other SEPTA light rail lines, the #101 and #102, connect the west end of the Market Street subway with various suburban communities and are a vestige of old-style transit modernized for the 21st Century. Both systems, Boston and Philadelphia, are worth a visit.

Kevin, if you’d like to ride the Newark Light Rail with me, reach out. There’s lots of interesting landmarks I can point out that are remnants of its original purpose as a true subway-street surface operation.

Kevin Walsh November 13, 2021 - 4:14 pm

will be of use when I do a proper NCS page, since I got a few dozen pictures.

Tiger November 14, 2021 - 12:12 am

For many years the Newark City Subway used the old PCC trolley cars. Until I moved out of the area I used to ride the subway every day to and from work. I believe the extension to Grove Street uses the old Erie Railroad
tracks. When you go with Andy there I would like to come along but I would need a few weeks notice.

Mark+Olesnicki November 14, 2021 - 5:38 pm

The PCC cars featured rapid acceleration. Apparently the new LRVs do not accelerate as quickly, requiring the scheduled times to be slightly lengthened. Progress?

Ron S November 15, 2021 - 2:17 pm

Back int he 80’s and 90’s. riding the PCC’s on the City Subway was like time travel. Add in the WPA station art and it’s 1940’s again.

Robby May 13, 2022 - 1:57 pm

The PCC cars were out of work and so they vanshed but the signs are still stable in our hearts when we will find it again some day.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.