Building Description Hudson and Manhattan Railroad Repair Shops, Hoboken New Jersey

The Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Repair Shops (H&M Shops) are located at 55 Hudson Street in Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey. The building, now known as the Hoboken Shops for the Port Authority Trans-Hudson (PATH) Track & Structures Division (T&S Building), is situated on a triangular-shaped lot bounded by Hudson Street on the west, the New Jersey Transit (NJ TRANSIT) Bus Terminal on the east, the bus terminal access road on the south, and Hudson Place on the north. The H&M Shops are several hundred feet west of the NJ TRANSIT Hoboken Terminal, formerly the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad and Ferry Terminal, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Repair Shops are part of the original Hudson & Manhattan Railroad Complex at Hoboken Terminal that also includes an underground station and three original stair kiosks. The stair kiosks and the underground station remain in active use as part of the PATH system.

A parking lot and newsstand are adjacent to the north side of the building; across Hudson Place are two- to six-story commercial buildings. Trolley tracks remain in the pavement of Hudson Place. West of the building, across Hudson Street, is a parking lot. South of the bus terminal access road is the Hoboken Terminal Train Shed and the NJ TRANSIT Hoboken rail yard. A parking area is on the north side of the building; entrance kiosks to PATH, the NJ TRANSIT Bus Terminal, and the Erie-Lackawanna (Hoboken) Railroad and Ferry Terminal are east of the parking area.

The H&M Shops is a three-story flat-roofed steel frame brick structure on a raised basement. The building, trapezoidal-shaped in plan, is ten bays long on the north and south facades, four bays wide on the west facade and two bays wide on the east facade. Parapet walls obscure a small rooftop stairway penthouse and roof vents; the penthouse has a standing seam metal roof and sheet metal sheathing. Exterior walls of the building are red brick laid in American bond above a corbeled brick base with a projecting soldier brick belt course. The brick cornice is defined by projecting corbeled courses of matching red brick; the parapet has terra cotta coping.

Segmental arched window openings have bluestone sills and brick voussoirs composed of three courses of rowlocks. Most of the window openings at the second story of the west facade have been modified with brick infill and brick sills to accommodate smaller replacement windows. North, south and east facades have paired windows in each bay; windows on the west facade are arranged in triplets. The south elevation has blind windows in the west bay and a pair of truncated blind windows with offset circular vent openings with brick voussoirs. Original metal blower fans are visible through the vent openings.

Few of the original six-over-six wood sash double-hung windows remain intact; many window openings have stucco or concrete block infill or have been blocked with plywood. The only visible remaining original windows are on the south facade. Anodized aluminum sash double-hung replacement windows have been installed on the north and west elevations in areas that correspond to interior offices and toilet rooms. Woven wire mesh security screens have been installed over first floor windows. Early photographs of the structure show fabric window awnings at second story windows; these have been removed. Original bluestone sills are delaminating and in deteriorated condition.

The H&M Shops has three garage bays; one large bay at the west elevation and two smaller bays at the east elevation. The garage door opening on the west facade, originally used for rail car access to the elevator, is a segmental arch articulated by a brick surround set in relief in the slightly projecting south bay. Cast iron circular wheel guards are located at the base. A manhole cover inscribed with "H&MRR" is located at the west garage entrance. The two garage bays on the east elevation have riveted built-up steel plate lintels and a steel channel center post; single story pilasters, corbeled at the top, are at the corners. Steel overhead roll-down garage doors are at both east and west garage bay openings.

A former window opening at the third story of the south elevation has been modified with brick infill to accommodate a door. The door accesses a conveyor belt mounted on two concrete piers at the first story. The conveyor extends from the ground floor piers to a third-story landing; the landing, supported on metal brackets below the door, has an open metal grate floor and an outside rail with straight balusters. Although the conveyer is no longer in use, the original electric motor is still in place. A nameplate indicates that the conveyor was manufactured by Farquhar Conveyor Division of A. B. Farquhar & Co. of York, PA, Clifton, NJ, and Chicago, IL.

There are three pedestrian entrances; one at the first floor on the west elevation; one at the third floor of the north elevation and one at the first story on the south elevation. The ground floor entrance on the west facade, which leads to the PATH offices, is set in a recess with blue glazed bricks. The third story entrance at the north elevation, formerly a window, has been modified to accommodate a door. It is accessed by a steel fire escape with a wall-mounted pipe rail, an outside rail with straight balusters and open risers. A swinging hoisting arm is adjacent to the fire escape. The ground floor entrance at the south facade is not original; new brick has been added around the door opening. Pedestrian doors are flush steel with metal bucks.

The interior of the building consists of a large two-story repair shop space, first and second floor offices and a full third floor. The steel frame structure of the building is visible in the shop area; exposed riveted built-up plate columns and girders support heavy timber third floor beams. Steel truss members support the eastern third of the third story. Wood floor deck is visible above the timber beams.

Concrete masonry partitions separate the shops from other areas of the first and second floors. Western portions of the first and second floors contain PATH offices, toilet rooms and a stairwell. The first floor has a blacksmith shop, a two-story open work area and a two-story storage area located in the northern portion of the building. A modern steel tube framing system with an open steel grate deck is used for the second story storage space.

The most dominant feature of the first floor is the rail car elevator shaftway. Located near the west garage entrance, the rail car elevator shaftway is separated from the main shop by a concrete block partition. The concrete-lined shaft opens to the PATH tracks approximately thirty feet below. A bank of early incandescent light sockets remains on the ceiling over the shaft; fluorescent fixtures and modern low-pressure sodium fixtures are presently in use. A modern catwalk spans the northern side of the shaftway. At the west end of the shaft is a two-story storage area enclosed at the first floor with steel grating and at the second floor with drywall partitions.

The original rail car elevator malfunctioned in 1986 and was replaced by a modern small electric hoist. Portions of the original elevator hoist mechanism are extant but have been altered. The elevator has not been replaced because the shaft is too small to be used by rail cars on the current PATH system. The hoist and shaft are presently used to transfer equipment and material for track maintenance and repair. Tracks for railroad cars extend from the shaftway to the west garage entrance; steel plates are laid between the rails.

North of the concrete block partition at the elevator shaftway is the two-story open work area. A second hoist system is installed above a rail car track in the shop area; the track extends from the east end of the building to the blacksmith shop. Original equipment such as a drill press and a rail-bending machine are recessed in the floor of the work area. The rail-bending machine is used to fabricate third rail protection board brackets and the drill press is used to fabricate brackets, braces and pipes used by the track department.

The blacksmith shop is enclosed by a concrete block partition. The original forge, bench grinder, abrasive cut-off saw, a large steel anvil and miscellaneous blacksmith tools, remain in use. A workbench is against three walls of the blacksmith shop; wall-mounted tool storage is located on the other wall.

The second floor, a partial floor at the west end of the building, contains crew supervisors' offices and toilet rooms. Second floor spaces have modern suspended acoustic tile ceilings, vinyl composition flooring, concrete masonry and plywood partition walls and modernized toilet facilities.

The third floor has locker rooms, a toilet room, a machine room for the car elevator and storage. The western portion of the third floor contains crew locker and toilet facilities. Crew spaces have modern finishes such as suspended acoustic tile ceilings, vinyl composition flooring and concrete masonry and plywood partition walls. Storage areas are located in the eastern portion of the third floor; these were not accessible during site visits. A machine room for the original car elevator hoist pulley mechanism is also on the third floor; the nameplate for the original hoist manufacturer, the Cecil McLauthlin Company of Boston, is visible on the remaining machinery.