The Crappiest Train Station in the Tri-State Area

OK, time to spice things up in these dog days with a new reader poll. Every year, or thereabouts, we do the Best Damn Commuter Town Period, which has been won by Larchmont and Pleasantville in years past, as voted on by Trainjotting users, these burgs saluted for their walkability, entertainment options, access to the city, aesthetics, and other crucial categories.

Let’s take it in another direction: What’s the worst train station in the region? We’re not limiting it to Metro-North; if there’s a station on Long Island or in Jersey that truly sucks the big one, let us know.

While the Best Damn…Poll looked for the coolest commuter town, this survey is looking specifically at the worst train station. Dirtiest surroundings. Lamest post-work imbibing options. Crime. Flooding. Inadequate signage. Sour people. Bad parking. Dire need of renovations. Odoriferousness.

Again, we’re looking for the worst train station in the region, as opposed to the worst town for commuters to live in. The mayor or town exec in charge of the winning (losing?) station will be notified of their distinction by Trainjotting.

Hit me with nominations in the Comments section below, or via email: Let’s see ’em, folks.


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20 Responses to The Crappiest Train Station in the Tri-State Area

  1. Emily says:

    Hmm… this is actually a hard question. I’ve been to quite a big chunk of Metro North’s stations – all of the Harlem and Port Jervis lines, and half of the New Haven Line. If I had to go with least favorite station on the Harlem, I’d have to pick North White. That tunnel under the tracks is dirty and stinks like urine. Plus it has one of the ugliest Arts for Transit works I’ve ever seen.

    On the New Haven Line, the Waterbury station is probably high on the list of crappy places… likely due to the thefts I hear are quite frequent in the station parking lot. At one point in time several commuters mentioned they planned to boycott the station.

  2. tp says:

    I’m assuming you’re only including commuter rail, and not including the subways. But even restricted to commuter rail it has to be a station within the city limits. Some of them in the Bronx are pretty bare bones. Wakefield, Woodlawn, Melrose, Tremont? In New Jersey, “Jersey Ave” in New Brunswick? These would be stations where I wouldn’t want to miss my train and have to wait for the next. They’re in desolate locations.

  3. tarp says:

    Hawthorne is certainly up there (or down there depending on your measurement). First, if you walk to the station, you have to navigate sidewalks with utility poles jutting through the middle, sidewalks that altogether disappear leaving you walking on a narrow, curvy Rt. 141.

    Once you get to the station, perrenial urine & cleaning fluid smell, scratched up windows, old institutional style platform, derelict former taxi building, plus the local reform school kids blocking the stairwell during rush hour all add up to a delightful experience.

    • Track Jockey says:

      Station house renovation aside, Hawthorne station should be considered for this accolade.
      The platform above the tracks manages to be dark even on the sunniest of days, windows fogged & scratched beyond visibility, general filth.
      But, the renovated parking lot grounds, the clock, parking lot topiaries, the bike rack(!), etc. effectively disqualify this station for the top honor.

      Worst station in the tri-state area? so which one in NJ will it be? 😉

      • tarp says:

        “Renovated parking lot…, the clock, …toparies….”

        All lipstick on a pig as far as I’m concerned.

  4. Bobby says:

    Believe it or not, we conductors don’t know the stations very well. We very rarely get off the train, so we have to judge each depot by the type of clientele that board/detrain. Having said this, I have to agree with Emily…Waterbury Station is the pits. Homeless people sleep next to the tracks, someone is alway begging for money, and druggies hang out in the general environs. Like Emily said, there are alot of cars with smashed windows in the parking lot. Even Metro North refuses to put a ticket machine there (even though it’s a busy station) because they know it would constantly be broken into.

    • Emily says:

      How humbled I am to have the Conductor to the Stars agree with me! 😀

      For you Hawthorne people though, I really don’t think your station is as bad as what else is around. The town is seriously trying to make an effort by redoing that station building (cafe… someday!), they put up that clock, and have been planting flowers of all things.

      The smell of urine in the elevators, though, will probably greet you at most stations. And the masterpieces on the windows… at Goldens Bridge there have been male genitalia drawn in the window dust as long as I’ve been commuting. It cracks me up that there is one thing that every idiot on Earth knows how draw…

      tp mentioned a few like Melrose and Tremont, which I could somewhat agree with. Melrose was the station where I had the cops called on me, since I was out with my terrorist devices (camera). Wakefield and Woodlawn are actually not that bad. Williams Bridge is probably worse, dirty and covered with graffiti… as is Mount Vernon West. From a commuter’s standpoint MVW is probably shitty, but from a railfan’s it is kinda cool. The station still has some Penn Central signage visible. They’ve had more years than I’ve been alive to update that…

  5. Jerseyjim says:

    Here in the armpit of our nation’s map, New Jersey can usually boast the WORST of everything. Train stations are no exception. Since my usual train home was CANCELLED last night, the later/local replacement train provided me with a “director’s cut” of ALL the Dover bound stations on the way home.

    From this survey, my vote for the worst Tri-State commuter station, is SOUTH ORANGE STATION, which is perched entirely on an very high overpass. This must be difficult to climb, and catch a train, and it’s one of the most crowded stops as well, leading to extended wait each time.

    On a technicality, I would have to add that DOVER and GLADSTONE are unfairly tied for the worst station, only because if you’re at these stations, it most likely means you’ve slept straight through your stop, to the end of the line, and the conductor wakes you up, so you can find one of the only payphones left in the state, and call for a very expensive taxi ride back east to your house. This has never happened to me. Ever. Really.

  6. 816regular says:

    Hawthorne. Second the “lipstick on a pig” remark. Also doesn’t help that people park their cars in the exits even when there are plenty of spaces available.

    • jpb says:

      The whole experience of getting to and around Hawthorne train station is depressing. Of all the places I’ve lived in New York, Hawthorne is the least friendly for bicycling/walking. As one who lives within so-called walking distance, I can honestly say that the most dangerous park of our ever-so-often trek to Citifield from our house is the 1/4 mile walk to the Hawthorne Station, particularly in the winter when the sidewalks become impassible. The crossing where Elwood and Commerce come together is a total nightmare for pedestrians.

      Then, of course, once you get there you have to deal with a station that looks as if it came out of the 1970’s government agency architecture handbook, complete with the scariest looking elevator I’ve ever seen.

      So, add my vote in for Hawthorne. Sorry, Ms. Maybury, you’re not even close to being there yet in terms of making it better.

      • jpb says:

        Note: In case this is not obvious, we are located to the north of the train station, near Berger’s.

  7. jpc says:

    Stamford CT is supposed to be new, modern, big. But there is not enough parking — there’s a 2 year waiting list! And if you park daily, you can’t even use a credit card — CASH only!!! What’s up with that? And at rush hour, there are not enough places for cars to wait, so there is gridlock all around the area, and angry motorists and basically the traffic engineering is so poorly done for the number of cars — the taxi line backs up into traffic. So you add 10 minutes to your commute just getting stuck in traffic. And they filled the terminal upstairs with an over-sized employee area behind the ticket counters, so that the terminal is crowded and uncomfortable for the large number of people using the terminal. All around, I give it a colossal F.

  8. NorwalkCTguy says:

    Over the last decade I have ridden the rails along the Hudson the Harlem and the New Haven lines, and I can offer a suggestion on each:
    On the Hudson Line, Spuyten Duyvil. It is a barebones platform under a bridge that always seems dark. I expect a troll to be waiting there.
    Harlem Line – North White Plains. For all of the comments above and an overall lack of cleanliness
    On the New Haven Line, I am going to surprise with Springdale, on the New Canaan spur. The state spent a couple million dollars building a canopy on this platform, as there was one small rain/snow shelter for a 4 car platform. The problem is that the roof is too high and angled in an odd way so if there is a slight breeze from the North, East or South, you stand a good change of getting wet. very expensive lipstick on a pig on this one. (Oh and the platform only accommodates a 4 car train, when most pek trains are 5 cars, so you have to walk between cars. inconvenient at the best of times, rather unpleasant in bad weather.)

  9. Transitcop says:

    Ansonia Ct has one of the worst stations around. First there is no station building a small chunk of wood substitutes as the platform. Its located in “lovely” downtown Ansonia across the river from a run down housing project and adjacent to a defunct brass factory. A bus shelter is erected at the site but offers little shelter due to the broken glass. There is a nice flow of heroin addicts to add to ambiance.

  10. Third Rail says:

    I’m going to have to say New York Penn Station meets all of your requirements. It is a dark, dank, overcrowded dungeon with overpriced amenities, hurried commuters and terrible air flow problems.

    It is not befitting for New York. As Daniel Moynihan said:

    “We used to stride into the city like emperors. Now we scurry in like rats.”

  11. eldealac says:

    Stratford, CT., gets my vote! Talk about what is essentially, an ol’ highway robbery spot! Stratford is a dump! Who do they think they are??? Sad part is, they could have something on par of what they think they are, but they are woefully short. This is based on experience. First off, the platform is too short, the station is hard to get to for anyone off of I 95. You must, walk all the way around the station in order to reach the NY platform. But, that’s not the half of it. They have a couple a dozen commuter parking spots, the rest are for residents. They have a full time officer riding in a car handing out tickets. I show up there at about 10 :15 am for a 10 : 25 am train to the city. Lots of empty spots to park, except, they are not numbered, and they are for residents. The dozen numbered spots are full. So, what can I do? I talk with the parking officer in his SUV, sorry but there is a free parking lot a half mile away..really???? How is anyone supposed to know that? And how can I make it now, with 5 minutes left??? Solution? Park in a resident spot, and get a 25 dollar ticket, an unused resident spot. Oh, of course the fee doubles if not payed in 1o days. Then, I buy a round trip ticket, in the little kiosk off the platform and select a metro card, figured save time. Guess what? Unlike Milford, it automatically gives you a 20 dollar subway card. So, the end result? What was to be a quick jaunt into the city, using the so called convenience of the train, cost me a sweet 100 dollars, due to The Sweet hellhole town of Stratford. What a dump!! Hick robbers!! They don’t only exist in the Great Plains on some lonely stretch of highway.

  12. Sheila says:

    Fordham is THE worst on the Harlem line. Huge crowds, narrow platform, students, panhandlers, methadone clinic patients, homeless, and the occasional prostitute using the north end of the platform for business. Need I say more?

  13. Morgan Leah says:

    Seymour is bad.
    They have a nice building next door that used to be the train station.

  14. Pingback: I Ride The Harlem Line…» Blog Archive » Tuesday Tour of the New Haven Line: Derby/Shelton

  15. T Man says:

    New York Penn is the crappiest big station. I always refer to it as a dump, because, well, it is.

    Being more familiar with NJ stations, some of the small ones that are really bad is Garfield and Fair Lawn-Broadway. Limited parking, crumbling platforms, poor lighting.

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