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Commuter Trains

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(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Commuter Rail

New commuter cars to NY Central in 1965.

Picture at top shows Al Perlman and Governor Nelson Rockefeller signing agreement for the cars. Picture at bottom corner shows NY Central president Al Perlman talking to commuters
(Photo clipped from an old New York Central Headlight)
Commuter Rail
This WebPage is maintained for historical articles only.
For an up-to-date listing of North American Commuter Rail and Transit Systems, please visit our TRANSIT WebPage


Commuter rail 2001 versus 1970

(Correct only to 2001 unless otherwise noted)
Year 2001 No. of Routes Route Miles Stations Riders / day Other 1970?
Metra,Chicago-a) 11 495 228 289,000
See below
Long Island Railroad 11 319 124 282,000
Metro-North Railroad 5 412 120 240,000
GO Transit Toronto 7 225 50 130,000
MBTA Boston 11 402 121 126,800
New Jersey Transit-b)
471 162 103,000
See below
SEPTA Philadelphia 13 223 155 99,000
See below
AMT, Montréal -d) 4 111 40 48,000
Metrolink, Los Angeles 6 416 47 32,400
CalTrain, San Francisco/San Jose 1 77 34 32,000
MARC Maryland –c) 3 187 42 20,000
See below
South Shore (CSS&SB) 1 89 19 12,800
Virginia Railway Express 2 83 18 9,000
Tri-Rail, Miami 1 72 18 8,500
West Coast Express, Vancouver 1 40 8 8,000
Trinity Railway Express, Dallas 1 27 7 5,000
Coaster, San Diego 1 42 8 4,700
Altamont Commuter Express, San Jose 1 82
Sound Transit – Seattle 1 40 7 1,200
Shore Line East 1 51 8 1,200
OnTrack City Express, Syracuse 1 3.5 4 Unknown
Corsica Ferry

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Corsica Ferry

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Supply Chain Management Control Towers

Control towers are used in many industries for different purposes: airports and railroads use them for traffic control; power plants have control rooms to monitor operations; and third party logistics providers use them to track transportation activities. These are places where operations run well. Why not a


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Railroads On The Rebound

Over the last 50+ years, railroads have changed a lot. Now they are about to change again.

It is all about a combination of economic factors and climate factors.

Since 1950 , railroads have consolidated. Freight moved from a "box car mentality" to a "unit train,mentality". Passenger went from a robust business to a "caretaker" arrangement called AMTRAK. This happened as everybody could drive for free on the Interstate Highway System or fly on an airline system where the government subsidized both airlines and airports. In the meantime, railroad express and railroad post offices went "down the tubes". The old Post Office Department and the Railway Express Agency could not adjust to the new way. UPS and Fex Ex could.
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What's the most environmentally-friendly way to transport goods? The answer is freight rail. The EPA estimates that every ton-mile of freight that moves by rail instead of by highway reduces greenhouse emissions by two-thirds. But what does that really mean? Our easy-to-use carbon calculator will estimate the amount of carbon dioxide that can be prevented from entering our environment just by using freight rail instead of trucks. We'll even tell you how many seedlings you'd need to plant to have the same effect.
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A portal to the World. The Global Highway leads everywhere! Follow it to wherever you might want to go. We have something for everyone!
Travel and Penney's greatlinks!
Track 61
Here is a picture of Track 61. See what is so mysterious about Track 61 at Grand Central Terminal.. Also find out about a railroad that did NOT make it to Conrail: The New York & Harlem.
New York Central Branch from DeKalk Junction to Ogdensburg, In 1861, the Potsdam & Watertown line merged into the Watertown&Rome, the name of the new railroad was changed to Rome, Watertown&Ogdensburg, and a 19-mile line built from DeKalb Junction to Ogdensburg. It lasted until the 1980's. Read the whole story.
On June 13, 1845 the Troy & Greenbush Railroad opened between Troy and Greenbush, NY. It is the last link in an all-rail line between Boston and Buffalo. See more random dates in railroad history.
Isn't it amazing how much we all remember (and have forgotten about the NY Central)? 40 plus years? OMG, we rode parlors to Chatham and sleepers to the Adirondacks. Geez, we remember a lot. Why is all this stuff gone? Why did we have a PC and a Conrail.
Harrisburg Commuter Transportation Network

Corridor One in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

This map shows Capital Area Transit's (CAT's) web site for the Corridor One project. This site provides information on the preliminary engineering and environmental analysis phase of this project.

CAT and the Modern Transit Partnership (MTP) share a vision of a regional rail network beginning with Corridor One, the first phase of the system, which would link communities between Harrisburg and Lancaster.

Corridor One would be a significant asset by:

Connecting people, communities, and jobs.
Enhancing travel mobility choices.
Fostering economic development while enhancing our quality of life.
Initiating the critical "first step" of a regional rail network.

The Corridor One project consists of the development of regional rail service within the Corridor One area -- between Harrisburg and Lancaster -- as an alternative to passenger vehicle travel to reach employment and destination areas within the corridor.

The regional rail service would use existing or improved tracks for the entire length of the corridor; no expansion of the existing rail corridor right-of-way is proposed.

The project would provide regional rail service to five stations between Harrisburg and Lancaster, PA.

Harrisburg Transportation Center (HTC)
Mount Joy

Additional stops may be available at the Harrisburg International Airport, and at a new, privately-funded station west of Lancaster in the future.

Now, the real trick would be to get SEPTA to expand local service from Philadelphia to connect at Lancaster!

What is the difference between regional rail and light rail systems?

Regional Rail Systems

Provide connections from suburban areas to urban cities
Typical headways – 30 to 60 minutes
Can share rail infrastructure with rail freight
Can use diesel or electric power
Typical systems are 20 to 50 miles in length
Station spacing typically 2 to 10 miles
Is usually accommodated on existing intercity rail facilities
Riders typically utilize park and ride facilities at stations or bus connections to access system.

By Ken Kinlock at
Light Rail Systems

Serve trips within dense urban cities
Typical headways – 1 to 15 minutes
Requires separation from all rail freight
Generally only use electric power
Typical systems are 5 to 15 miles in length
Stations spacing typically ¼ to 1 mile
Typically requires the acquisition and development of exclusive track within a metropolitan area
Riders typically walk or use bus connections to access system
Cheap Airfares
Nice Tramway Line 2
In a surprise move, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi changed his mind about running Line 2 up the Promenade des Anglais and instead went with a plan that provides an 8.6 kilometer "tram/metro" with 3.6 kilometers below ground. It will cost €'450,000,000 and carry 110,000 - 140,000 daily passengers. It will run between Gare de Riquier and new? Gare Multimodal Saint-Augustin.
Boulevard Rene Cassin / Avenue Californie at the Champion/Carrefour food market has a tramway in its future.
Fifty-three years after the closure of the Tramway de Nice et du Littoral, the Tramway de Nice began to serve its Northern and Eastern sections. 2007 saw the completion of Line 1 serving the North-South needs of the city. Line 2 now addresses the East-West needs. This WebSite will be updated continuously until completion of Line 2 in Year 2016.

Ridership up in 2005

9.7 Billion Trips Taken; Light Rail Continues to Have Highest Percentage of Growth.

The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) announced that people took more than 9.7 billion trips on U.S. public transportation systems in 2005, with public transportation growing at a faster rate than highway travel (1.3 % vs. 0.1%). Since 1995, public transportation use increased 25.1% -- faster than the rate of highway vehicle miles traveled (22.5%).

Light rail (modern streetcars, trolleys, and heritage trolleys) had the highest percentage of increase among all modes, with a 6.0% increase in 2005. Some light rail systems showed double digit increases in ridership: Minneapolis (168.9%); Houston (38.0%); New Jersey (17.8%); Salt Lake City (13.3%); Sacramento (12.8%); and Los Angeles (10.5%).

Ridership on commuter rail posted the second largest increase at 2.8%. The top five commuter rail systems with the highest ridership increases for 2005 were: San Carlos, CA (12.5%); Chesterton, IN (7.3%); Harrisburgh (6.7%); Philadelphia (5.4%); and New Jersey (5.3%).

Other modes saw modest increases in ridership. Heavy rail ridership increased by 2.3%, despite work stoppages in Philadelphia and New York City. Demand response (paratransit) ridership increased by 2.5% and transit bus ridership increased 0.4% in 2005. However, there were major increases by some large bus agencies in the following cities: Minneapolis (14.5%); Dallas (7.5%); the Pace system in suburban Chicago (7.4%); and San Antonio (5.8%). Trolleybus ridership decreased by 1.9% in 2005.
Trolleys & More
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Trolleys & More by penney_vanderbilt
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Syracuse Centro
Year 1970 Railroad No. of Routes Route Miles Riders / day Status
Montréal Canadian Pacific 3 109 16,000
Montréal Canadian National 3 58 49,000
Montréal TOTAL 6 167 65,000 Now operated by Agence Métropolitaine de Transport (AMT)
Toronto GO Transit 1 60 16,100 Current
Detroit Grand Trunk 1 26 2,800 Gone!
Detroit Penn Central 1 36 180 Gone!
Milwaukee Milwaukee 1 46
San Francisco Southern Pacific 1 47 11,000 Now Caltrain
Chicago CNW 3 222 90,000 Now METRA
Chicago Milwaukee 2 111 22,000 Now METRA
Chicago Burlington 1 38 19,000 Now METRA
Chicago Rock Island 2 56 26,000 Now METRA
Chicago Illinois Central 3 37 78,000 Now METRA/td>
Chicago Gulf, Mobile & Ohio 1 37
Chicago Norfolk & Western (Wabash) 1 23
Chicago Penn Central 1 44 375 Gone!
Chicago TOTAL 14 568

Chicago/Indiana South Shore 1 89 12,000
Boston Boston & Maine 8 251 24,000
Boston Penn Central (B&A) 1 44 5,500 on both lines
Boston Penn Central (NH) 4 109 5,500 on both lines no more Old Colony
Boston TOTAL 13 404 29,500 Now MBTA
New York Penn Central 4 205 140,000 Excludes Chatham, Waterbury? Now Metro North
New York Penn Central 1

New London-New Haven now Shore Line East
New York Long Island 12 334 260,000
New York Erie-Lackawanna 7 238 65,000 Now NJT
New York Penn Central 2 125 42,500 New Jersey lines now NJT
New York CRRofNJ 3 118 12,000 Now NJT
Philadelphia Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore 5 277 700 All the way to Cape May! Now NJT
NJ Transit TOTAL New Jersey 17 1092 120,200
Philadelphia Reading 7 228 43,800 Now SEPTA
Philadelphia Penn Central 6 256 70,000 Includes Harrisburg
Philadelphia TOTAL 13 484 113,800
Cleveland Erie-Lackawanna 1 66 300 Gone!
Pittsburgh B&O 1 18 1,300 Gone!
Washington B&O 2 110 1,650
(a- Trains operate into four downtown Chicago terminals:

Ogilvie Transportation Center (formerly the North Western Station)
Union Pacific North Line. Daily service to Waukegan, with limited daily service to Kenosha, Wis., 51.6 miles from Chicago. Serves 26 stations.
Union Pacific Northwest Line. Daily service to Crystal Lake, with limited daily service to Harvard, 63.1 miles from Chicago. Limited weekday rush-hour and Saturday service operates on a 7.4-mile branch to McHenry. Serves 21 stations on weekdays, 19 on Sundays.
Union Pacific West Line. Daily service to Geneva, 35.5 miles from Chicago. Serves 16 stations, fewer on weekends.

LaSalle Street Station lines
Rock Island District. Daily service to Joliet via two parallel routes that split at Gresham and rejoin at Vermont St., Blue Island. The 46.8-mile district serves 24 stations on weekdays, 22 on weekends.

Union Station lines
North Central Service. Weekday rush-hour service to Antioch, 53 miles, plus one midday round trip. Serves 13 stations. No weekend or holiday service.
Milwaukee District North Line. Daily service to Fox Lake, 49.5 miles from Chicago. Serves 20 stations.
Milwaukee District West Line. Daily service to Elgin, with weekday service to Big Timber Road, 39.8 miles from Chicago. Serves 22 stations on weekdays, 16 on weekends.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Line. Daily service to Aurora, 37.5 miles from Chicago. Serves 26 stations on weekdays, 21 on weekends.
Heritage Corridor. Limited rush-hour service to Joliet by way of Summit and Willow Springs, 37.2 miles. Serves 5 stations. No weekend or holiday service.
SouthWest Service. Limited weekday service to Orland Park, 25.2 miles from Chicago. Serves 9 stations. No weekend or holiday service.

Randolph Street Station lines
Metra Electric. Daily service to University Park, 31.5 miles from Chicago, and on a 4.7-mile branch to 91st Street in South Chicago. Serves 41 stations. A second branch to Blue Island, 4.4 miles with 7 stations, sees service Monday–Saturday.
(b- NJ Transit commuter trains operate on a 471-mile system comprised of nine lines and three branches serving 162 stations. Seventy percent of NJ Transit’s rail passengers travel through New York’s Pennsylvania Station. NJ Transit rail operations are arranged in three divisions: Hoboken, Newark, and the Atlantic City Line (which is disconnected from NJ Transit’s lines in northern New Jersey.) Trains operate into four terminals. Electric trains on the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast, and Morris and Essex lines, provide direct service to New York City’s Pennsylvania Station, where connections can be made to Amtrak, the Long Island Rail Road, and New York City Transit subway and bus lines. From the Hoboken Terminal diesel-powered trains serve passengers on the Pascack Valley, Main, Bergen County, Port Jervis, Boonton, Morris & Essex, and North Jersey Coast Lines. Electric Morris & Essex Line trains also operate into Hoboken Terminal. At Hoboken, passengers can reach Manhattan via PATH rapid transit trains or NY Waterway ferries, and will soon be able to connect to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line. At Pennsylvania Station in Newark, passengers can board electric Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line trains, as well as diesel-powered trains serving the Raritan Valley and North Jersey Coast Lines. Newark passengers can also connect to Amtrak, PATH trains to lower Manhattan, and the Newark City subway. Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is the western terminus for diesel-powered Atlantic City Line trains. Passengers can connect to Amtrak, SEPTA Regional Rail trains, the Market-Frankford Subway-Elevated Line, and Subway-Surface trolleys.
(c- In Maryland, Passenger service on the 187-mile MARC system is distinguished by the need to serve commuters working in two different metropolitan areas. Rush-hour trains operate both ways on two separate routes between Baltimore and Washington: Amtrak's electrified Northeast Corridor via New Carrollton (the Penn Line), and CSX's Capital Subdivision via Jessup and University Park (the Camden Line — the oldest rail passenger route in the U.S., first operated by Baltimore & Ohio in 1830). A third line, the Brunswick Line, provides commuter service on CSX's Cumberland and Metropolitan Subdivisions between Martinsburg, W.Va., and Washington, D.C.
(d- Montreal as of 2004 has grown to five lines and will continue to increase the number of daily passengers as new equipment arrives and new routes/extensions are added.
Route from Montreal Daily passengers Notes
Deux-Montagnes 32,210 Electrified
Dorion/Rigaud 14,230 New equipment now arriving to replace equipment placed in service in 1953
Blainville 9,530 Extension in progress to St-Jerome. New station complete.
Saint-Hilaire 5,660 New
Delson 2,150 New

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Several years ago I wrote a story on the major railroads of 1950 and what happened to them.

Now I am following up with a closer examination of the New York Central Railroad. This railroad only lasted until 1968 when it merged into Penn Central.

But, what was the NY Central Railroad like in 1950?

You will also be interested in "What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen"
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Head End

Railway Express and Railway Post Office
REA RPO Header On passenger trains, railroads operated lots of equipment other than sleepers, coaches, dining cars, etc. This equipment was generally called 'head-end' equipment, these 'freight' cars were at one time plentiful and highly profitable for the railroads. In the heyday of passenger service, these industries were a big part of the railroad's operations, and got serious attention.
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NYC wrecker formerly at Harmon New York Central Harmon Wrecker at New York Central Museum in Elkhart, Indiana Organic Foods Food Distributor for organic and natural products. Wholesale distribution throughout North America. We are a broker for organic and natural products. We specialize in locating organic products you sometimes can't get from your local distributors. We set you up with a relationship with a supplier. Our ORGANIC FOOD WebSite is not everything we can get, just a robust sample.
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