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Railway Technical Info - United States of America

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General Info

Most "heavy rail" passenger operators in the United States, both national and local, are publicly-owned organisations, whose trains in many cases run on the tracks of private companies. These private companies do not themselves usually provide passenger services. Some sections of line, notably the Northeast Corridor (Boston - New York - Washington) and branches, are owned by passenger operators.


heavy rail defaultsstandardbi-di (RH pref.)none

These defaults apply to heavy rail networks throughout the United States. Heavy rail systems are only listed below where there are known variations from these defaults, e.g. electrification.

Northeast Corridor

Ownership of the Northeast Corridor and branches is divided between Amtrak and various local rail operators. There is a complex mixture of electrification systems:

SectionElectrificationInstalled by
Boston South - New Haven25kV 60Hz ACAmtrak
New Haven - New York (Bowery Bay)12kV 60Hz ACNew Haven Railroad; frequency 25Hz until 1987
New York (Bowery Bay) - Philadelphia - Washington / Harrisburg12kV 25Hz ACPennsylvania Railroad (PRR)
New Jersey branches25kV 60Hz ACNew Jersey Transit; some converted from 3kV DC in 1984
Philadelphia branches12kV 25Hz ACPRR / Reading Railroad


White Pass & Yukon RR3' (914mm)n/a?none 


Baltimore (MD)

"Metro Subway"standardRH700V DC third rail 
"Light Rail"standardRH?V overhead 

Boston (MA)

"Subway"standardRH600V DC third rail (overhead on the surface section of the Blue Line) 
Green LinestandardRH, circles? overhead 
"Mattapan High Speed Line"standardRH, circles? overhead 

Chicago area (IL, IN)

"L"standardRH???V DC third rail 
heavy rail electric linesstandardRH???V overheadincludes "South Shore" line

Los Angeles area (CA)

Los Angeles: "Subway"standardRH?750V DC third railRed and Purple lines
Los Angeles: light railstandardRH750V DC overheadBlue, Green, Gold and Expo lines

Miami (FL)

"Metrorail"standardRH?V DC third rail 
"Metromover"rubber-tyredRH??V DC third rail 

New York area (NJ, NY)

"Subway"standardRH?V DC third railincludes Staten Island Railway
Long Island RR (suburban heavy rail)standardRH? 
Grand Central lines (suburban heavy rail)standardRH?V DC third rail 
"Hudson-Bergen Light Rail"standard?RH??V overhead 
Newark (NJ): "Light Rail"standard?RH??V overhead 

Philadelphia area (NJ, PA)

"Subway": Market-Frankford Line5' 2½" (1588mm)RH600V DC third rail 
"Subway": Broad Street LinestandardRH600V DC third rail 
"Subway-Surface trolleys"5' 2½" (1588mm)RH, circles?V overheadroutes 10, 11, 13, 34, 36
"Girard Avenue trolley"5' 2½" (1588mm)RH, circles600V DC overheadroute 15
"Suburban trolleys"5' 2½" (1588mm)RH, circles?V overheadroutes 101, 102
"Norristown High-Speed Line"standardRH?V DC third railroute 100
PATCOstandardRH?685V DC third rail 

Portland (OR)

"MAX", east of NE 9th AvestandardRH825V DC overhead 
"MAX", west of NE 9th AvestandardRH750V DC overhead 
"Streetcar"standardRH750V DC overhead 

San Francisco Bay area (CA)

CaltrainstandardRH?V overheadelectrification in progress
BART5' 6" (1676mm)RH1000V DC third rail 
San Francisco: tramsstandardRH, stubs600V DC overhead 
San Francisco: cable cars3' 6" (1067mm)RH, turntablesnonecable traction
San Jose: tramsstandard?RH, stubs750V DC overhead 
Sacramento: tramsstandardRH, stubs?750V DC overhead 

Seattle area (WA)

Seattle: "Light Rail"standardRH1500V DC overhead 
Seattle: "Streetcar"standardRH750V DC overhead 
Seattle: monorailmonorailn/a700V DC third rail 
Tacoma: "Light Rail"standardn/a750V DC overhead 

Other Systems

Atlanta, GA: "Rapid Transit"standard?RH??V DC third rail 
Atlanta, GA: "Streetcar"standard?n/a750V DC overhead? 
Buffalo, NY: "Metro Rail"standardRH650V DC overhead 
Charlotte, NC: "Light Rail"standardRH750V DC overhead 
Cincinnati, OH: "Streetcar"standard?n/a?V overheadunder construction
Cleveland, OH: "Rapid Transit"standardRH600V DC overhead 
Dallas, TX: DARTstandardRH750V DC overhead 
Dallas, TX: McKinney Avenue streetcarstandardRH?V DC overhead 
Denver, CO: "commuter rail"standardRH?25kV 60Hz? overheadunder construction
Denver, CO: tramsstandardRH?V overhead 
Detroit, MI: "People Mover"monorail?n/a?V third rail 
Honolulu, HI: "Rail Transit"standard???V third railunder construction
Houston, TX: "METRORail"standard?RH?V overhead 
Jacksonville, FL: "Skyway"monorailRH??V third rail 
Kansas City, MO: "Streetcar"standard?RH??V overheadunder construction
Kenosha, WI: tramsstandardn/a600V DC overhead 
Las Vegas, NV: monorailmonorailRH?750V DC third rail 
Little Rock, AR: tramsstandard???V overhead 
Memphis, TN: "trolleys"standard?RH??V overhead 
Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: "Light Rail"standardRH750V DC overhead 
New Orleans, LA: "Streetcar"5' 2½" (1588mm)RH?V overhead 
Norfolk, VA: tramsstandardRH, stubs750V DC overhead 
Phoenix, AZ: tramsstandardRH, stubs750V DC overhead 
Pittsburgh, PA: trams5' 2½" (1588mm)RH, stubs650V DC overhead 
St. Louis, MO & IL: "MetroLink"standardRH750V DC overhead 
Salt Lake City, UT: "TRAX"standard?RH750V DC overhead 
Salt Lake City, UT: "Sugar House Streetcar"standard?RH??V overheadunder construction
San Diego: "Trolleys"standardRH, stubs600V DC overhead 
Savannah, GA: "Streetcar"standard?n/a??V overhead 
Tampa, FL: "Streetcar"standard?RH?V overhead 
Tucson, AZ: "Sun Link Streetcar"standard?RH?750V DC overhead 
Washington, DC: metrostandardRH?V DC third rail 
Washington, DC: "Streetcar"standard?RH?750V DC overheadunder construction


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Last update: 2014-11-04 17:18