Short Hills Station is a New Jersey Transit station in Short Hills, New Jersey along the Morris and Essex Railroad line.
The presence of a railroad station at the present site dates from 1879, when Stewart Hartshorn
, the developer of what became the Short Hills neighborhood of Millburn
, built a station along the Morris and Essex Railroad
line. He built the station at his own expense at a cost of US $2,520.00, took full responsibility for its maintenance (which included paying the salary of the station master), and persuaded the operators of the M&E (actually the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
) to serve his station with two train stops a day. (Interestingly, the United States Post Office
operated a station of their own on the premises of Stewart Hartshorn's original station. The USPS' presence in Short Hills dates from that year.)
The present facility dates from 1907 after Stewart Hartshorn's original station was demolished. The DL&W completed their Lackawanna Terminal (now the Hoboken Terminal) in that same year.
This station has remained in operation for as long as any entity has run trains along the line. The Erie-Lackawanna Railroad served it, as did Conrail before the formation of New Jersey Transit.
In 2002, local residents planted a memorial tree on the station grounds to honour those of their neighbors who went to work on September 11, 2001, most of them using this very station, and never came back.
The station is located between Hobart and Chatham Avenues. The Crescent Street and Short Hills Avenue terminate at or near the station. A trestle carries the tracks over Short Hills Avenue. The relatively narrow opening of the trestle makes this intersection one of the most dangerous in all of Short Hills.
The 1907 station had two buildings, one on each side of the double tracks. Today, however, only the building on the eastbound (toward Hoboken and New York Penn Station) side is in active use by New Jersey Transit. This building houses a waiting area with a community bulletin board, and a small news stand and ticket office that are normally open between 4:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. on weekdays. Both these facilities are closed on weekends and holidays. Minimal restroom facilities are also available.
Passengers may walk from one side of the tracks to the other through a tunnel that runs beneath them, with stairways to Hobart Avenue and to the eastbound and westbound (toward Gladstone and Hackettstown) platforms.
Both platforms are ground-level platforms. This station does not have the handicap-accessible high-level platforms available, for example, at the Summit station.
Renovation in 2006
Millburn Township has renovated the station and upgraded the restrooms to make them compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act
. They have also repaired the rain gutters and leaders (downspouts). All the wooden doors, windows, and benches have undergone refinishing.
The Morristown Line
and its Gladstone Branch
both serve this station. They provide service to multiple towns in northern New Jersey and west of Newark, and also to Hoboken
and New York City
Service begins at 5:00 a.m. and ends at 2:24 a.m. 58 inbound trains (including 15 peak-hour trains) and 63 outbound trains (including 14 peak-hour trains) stop at this station every weekday. Weekend and holiday service is limited to 39 inbound and 39 outbound trains, running between 5:32 a.m. and 2:20 a.m. Afternoon and evening service to and from Hoboken typically consists of trains containing three or four self-propelled electric cars. Hoboken service at other hours, and all Midtown Direct service (to and from New York), is provided on much longer trains propelled by electric (or occasionally Diesel-electric) locomotives either in push or pull mode.
For fare-calculation and seat-check purposes, the Short Hills station is in Zone 7 of the Morris and Essex Lines, a zone it shares with the Millburn station. As is the policy everywhere on the New Jersey Transit system, passengers who board the train while the ticket office is open, and then buy their tickets on board, are subject to a five-dollar surcharge.
Theoretically, any passenger could connect between the Morristown Line and the Gladstone Branch at this or any other station between Summit
and Newark Broad Street
stations. However, most passengers will transfer, if they need to, between the Morristown and Gladstone branches at Summit and between Midtown Direct
service at Newark Broad Street.
New Jersey Transit does not operate any local bus route connecting to this station. However, at least one local hadicap/elderly jitney-like line provides service to this station.
Permitted parking is available on the eastbound side and across nearby Chatham Avenue, next to the United States Post Office
branch. Permits typically cost $300 per year and are the same as the residential-parking permits that carry with them the privilege of parking one's car on the street in front of one's own house. Most Short Hills residents do not buy the annual permits. When they use the train they have family members drop them off at the station and pick them up. (Nearby shopping districts guard their parking spaces with meters that run no longer than one hour, for the nominal fee of ten cents per hour, a fee intended solely to prevent railroad users from abusing their parking privileges.)
Parking is not permitted on the westbound side. Limited standing is permitted for passenger pickup and drop-off.
Bicycle parking, in the form of metal chaining racks, is available on the eastbound side.
Nearby businesses, facilities, and attractions
The building on the westbound side is now a museum
owned and operated by the Millburn-Short Hills Historical Society Short Hills Park
is located across Hobart Avenue from the station. The Short Hills Racquets Club
is also located on the westbound side, within easy walking distance. When standing on either platform, one can easily see the windmill erected by Stewart Hartshorn to provide water pumpage to his home.
This station is located near the Short Hills branch of the United States Post Office and within walking distance of numerous small shops, all of which are on Chatham Road the eastbound side.
Insulation of the station from developmental encroachment
No residence, business, or office, except the two buildings of the station proper, stands on the two strips of land separating the railroad right-of-way from Hobart Avenue on the westbound side and Chatham Road on the eastbound. This is an intentional policy that carries forward from Stewart Hartshorn's original directive that no development ever take place on those strips of land.