Train station at WTC site reopens
Permanent facility to be in place by 2006
Gov. James McGreevey, left, talks to Mayor Michael Bloomberg during a ceremonial train ride to the World Trade Center station.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The first major construction project has been completed at the site of the World Trade Center twin towers.
The rebuilt temporary station for the train that carries commuters from New Jersey to Lower Manhattan, known as PATH, opened Sunday with a ceremonial ride carrying New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"We come here today with mixed emotions," McGreevey said at a ceremony marking the train's arrival. "We come today also to recognize, to witness this great resumption of traffic."
The train used for the ride was the last train out of the World Trade Center station on September 11, 2001, and was used as a rescue vehicle to evacuate the last people standing on the old platform before the South Tower collapsed.
"Those same eight cars that left the station on that fateful morning will be the first to come back," said New York Gov. George Pataki on October 30 during a preview of the PATH train project.
Pataki was scheduled to participate in the ceremony but canceled due to what aides said was "an awful case of the flu." The governor is "very disappointed that he could not be at Ground Zero on this very important day," aides said.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the transportation agency that runs PATH and owns the trade center site, spent $566 million on the project, which included replacing tracks in tunnels underneath the Hudson River and the opening of the Exchange Place Station in Jersey City, New Jersey.
"People that lived in New Jersey and worked downtown had a really horrendous commute for the last two years," Bloomberg said. "It's part of the rebuilding process. We're not going to forget those we lost, but we're not going to let the terrorists win either."
The infrastructure underground, including the tracks and tunnels, are permanent, but the above ground structure is temporary.
A permanent structure is expected to open by the end of 2006. That will include a more finished station with amenities such as heat and bathrooms.
By 2009, the WTC PATH station stop will reconnect with all of the other subway lines in New York City.
An average of 67,000 daily commuters boarded the train before September 11.
The Port Authority estimates 20,000 to 30,000 passengers will ride the trains by the end of 2004. The fall in ridership is attributed to less office space in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority expects ridership to increase as more jobs return to the area.
The re-opening of the PATH station comes just four days after eight designs were announced as finalists in the World Trade Center memorial competition. (Full story)
The designs are on display and open to the public at the World Financial Center located across the street from the PATH station.