Rail Transit

by Yuri Popov

This is an attempt to create a site on rail transit, devoted not to a single rail mode (heavy rail, light rail, regional rail), but to all modes in a particular metropolitan area in their interconnection, i.e. to rail transit as a public transportation network.  No attention is paid to technical details of trains and their operations, but the most important practical information (including frequency of service on all rail lines, travel times between major terminals and transfer points, and hours of operation) is heavily emphasized.  The goal is to summarize in one place and in one format all relevant information on different rail systems in large metropolitan areas without separation on the basis of operating agencies and with an emphasis on the integrity of the transit system as a whole (e.g. a great effort is made to show all the inter-modal transfer points).  So far geographical coverage is limited to the largest metropolitan areas in the US (where I currently live) and in Russia (where I was born and spent most of my life), but it may be extended to other countries when pages of these two countries are completed.

A note is in order here:  this is my personal project, with no profit, with no affiliation to any transit agency, and therefore with absolutely no responsibility for any mistakes or omissions in the presented information.  I do make every effort to keep this site accurate and up-to-date, but rail transit is just my hobby, so take this site "as is".

The following abbreviations are used throughout these pages:  HR = "heavy rail", LR = "light rail", RR = "regional rail".  Typical characteristics of these three major rail modes are shown in the table:

  Heavy Rail Light Rail Regional Rail
Primary service market city city suburbs
Service frequency high high low
Right of way exclusive exclusive or shared exclusive
Propulsion electric electric electric or diesel
Transmission of electric power third rail catenary catenary
Boarding platforms high high or low high or low
Trainsets long short long

There are numerous exceptions to the general features outlined above.  Other characteristics of the three major rail modes can differ significantly on the system-by-system basis.

Rail Transit in the United States of America
Rail Transit in the Russian Federation
Rail Transit maps

Last update: August 10, 2004.