Progressive Railroading

Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

View Current Digital Issue »


Rail News Home Passenger Rail

October 2016

Part 1 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Preface

Part 2 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Amtrak and transit agencies in Arizona & California

Part 3 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Colorado, Florida, & Georgia

Part 4 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Illinois, New Jersey, & New York

Part 5 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Ohio and Pennsylvania

Part 6 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Texas & Washington

Rail News: Passenger Rail

Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Illinois, New Jersey, & New York




OPERATING BUDGET: $1.5 billion

Operates rail service on eight routes, as well as bus service, in Chicago and 35 suburbs.

Service launched: 1947
Route miles: 224 track miles; 211,042 rail miles traveled per day
Rolling stock: 1,492 rail cars
Annual rail ridership: 241 million (2015 forecast)
Annual operating budget: $1.475 billion (2016)
Annual capital budget: $638 million
Stations: 145
Major projects underway:
The CTA’s 2016 budget continues the $5 billion of transit modernization begun under Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2011. CTA continues the reconstruction of major rail stations, including the 95th Street and Wilson on the Red Line, as well as the modernization of the Blue Line O’Hare branch and portions of the Purple Line Express and Brown Line. In addition, CTA is continuing extensive planning necessary to pursue a complete rebuild of the Red and Purple lines north of Belmont and to extend the Red Line south from its southern end at 95th Street to 130th Street.

*Information source: CTA website, 2016 budget report.


OPERATING COST: $759.8 million

Metra provides commuter-rail service in Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties in northeastern Illinois.

Service launched: 1984 (Metra)
Miles per mode: 487.7 miles, commuter rail
Rolling stock: 146 locomotives, average age 28 years; 837 rail cars, average age 29 years; 186 M-U electric cars, average age 2.4 years.
Annual ridership: 83.6 million
Annual operating cost: $759.8 million
Annual capital cost: $185.7 million
Stations: 241
Late 2016 procurement plans: UP North Bridge project, Phase 2 (11 bridges and inbound portion of Ravenswood Station); UP West 3rd track project.
Major 2017 procurement plans: Renovation of the historic Van Buren Street Station; replacement and expansion of the Z100 Bridge over the Fox River on the Milwaukee West.




The Port Authority Transit Corp. (PATCO) operates a rapid transit line from Center City, Philadelphia, to Lindenwold, N.J.

Service launched: Heavy rail, 1969
Miles per mode: 14.5
Rolling stock: 120 rail cars; average age is 42 years.
Annual ridership: 10.4 million
Annual operating cost: $54.5 million
Annual capital cost: $72.3 million
Stations: 13

Major capital projects underway or scheduled to begin within the next year include:
• Transit car overhaul. This $194 million project refurbishes all 120 rail cars in PATCO’s fleet. As of September 2016, 36 rail cars have been refurbished. Estimated completion is 2018.
• Westmont Viaduct project. This $14.5 million project will replace the rails and fasteners along the structure that supports the PATCO train. Work will occur on a 2,000-foot section for the PATCO line adjacent to and through the Westmont Station. Estimated completion is 2018.

Projects with contracts yet to be let include:
• Lindenwold Yard rehabilitation. This $45 million project consists of track rehabilitation, turnout switch rehabilitation, electrical improvements to the PATCO storage yard and maintenance building approach tracks. Anticipated construction start date is early 2017.
• Elevator installation. PATCO is designing and planning work for new elevators at the Ashland, Haddonfield, Westmont, Collingswood, City Hall and 12/13th & Locust Street stations. The project is part of a $28 million program to install elevators in all currently unequipped PATCO stations. Constructed is anticipated to start in early 2017.
• Hall and way interlocking rehabilitation. This $2.5 million project consists of turnout and switch replacement in two interlockings.
• Embankment restoration, Phase 5. This $8 million project will work on restoring embankments along the right of way, drainage improvements and rehabilitation of trackway retaining walls at various locations along the system.
• Electrical substation equipment replacement program. This $9.2 million, multi-year program will replace electrical breakers, switches and electrical gear in electrical substations. Most equipment is original to when the system was constructed in the late 1960s.




The MTA Long Island Railroad (LIRR) is the largest commuter railroad in the United States. Chartered in 1834, it extends from three major New York City terminals — Penn Station, Atlantic Terminal and Hunterspoint Avenue — through a major transfer hub at Jamaica to the easternmost tip of Long Island.

Service launched: 1834
Miles per mode: 594, commuter
Rolling stock: 45 locomotives, average age 18; 170 M-3 cars, age 31 years; 134 C-3 coaches, age 18 years; 836 M-7 cars, age 11 years. Cars/locomotives on order: 92 Kawasaki EMU cars, with delivery expected June 2018-January 2019.
Annual ridership: 87,648,046
Annual operating cost: $1.9 billion (2016)
Annual capital cost: NA
Stations: 124
Major capital improvement projects underway: LIRR is progressing with capital projects funded in the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) 2015-2019 capital program. The LIRR portion of this program totals $2.83 billion.
Major projects yet to be let:
• Double Track Phase II will complete the construction of full second track between Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma on the LIRR’s Main Line. Currently, this segment of the railroad is largely single track with selected passing sidings. Construction of Phase I is underway. This project will greatly improve service reliability, allow for faster recovery from operational incidents, while also allowing for half-hourly bi-directional service during off-peak periods and improving access to Long Island MacArthur Airport.
• Jamaica Capacity Phase II will advance efforts to modernize and improve the track-level infrastructure in Jamaica, the LIRR’s key transfer hub in Queens. Work to be progressed during the 2015-2019 Capital Program includes design of a master track layout, which involves reconfiguration of track and switches and a significant modification of train routing through the Jamaica complex. This will support higher speed switches, more streamlined operations and increased Jamaica throughput. Also, included as part of this capital program is a design of a new signal system for Jamaica, which will address significant state-of-good-repair needs and provide a modernized signal system that will facilitate future track configurations.



MTA Metro-North was created in 1983 when the MTA assumed control of Conrail’s suburban and commuter operations in the states of New York and Connecticut. Metro-North operates three main lines — the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven — each extending over 70 miles north and east from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan and serving 111 stations. The 95-mile Port Jervis and 30-mile Pascack Valley lines west of the Hudson River extend north from New Jersey Transit’s terminal in Hoboken, N.J., connecting with service from Penn Station, N.Y., at Secaucus Transfer, and serving 11 stations in New York.

Service launched: 1983
Miles per mode: 391
Rolling stock: 69 locomotives, average age 17 years; 268 rail cars, average age 14 years
Annual ridership: 86.6 million
Annual operating cost: $1.47 billion
Annual capital cost: $464.2 million
Stations: 124, including Grand Central and Suffern. Suffern is in the state of New York, but operated by NJ Transit.

Major capital improvements underway:
• Positive Train Control. Metro-North is spending $367 million in its 2005-09, 2010-14 and 2015-19 capital programs (along with an additional $157 million from Connecticut Department of Transportation) to comply with the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which requires full implementation of a PTC system by Dec. 31, 2018. SYSTRA and AECOM are providing design services, and Bombardier Transportation is serving as the systems integrator.
• Harmon Emu Shop. The shop is Metro-North’s oldest, largest and most critical rolling stock maintenance facility, servicing nearly 500 EMUs, more than 200 coaches and 55 locomotives. Over the past 20 years, Metro-North has spent $500 million in four phases to replace the shop facilities, originally built in 1910, with state-of-the-art maintenance capabilities. Replacement of the main shop (Phase V), where EMUs were traditionally repaired and the last shop facility to be replaced, is underway and includes two stages. Phase V Stage I ($315 million funded under the 2010-14 capital program) includes the design-build of a consist shop and a new stand-alone wheel shop (EMU Annex). Construction is underway with completion anticipated in 2018. Phase V Stage II includes the design-build of running repair and support shops ($431 million funded under the 2015-19 capital program). Preliminary design is underway with construction anticipated to begin in 2018.
• Hurricane Sandy repairs: In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy submerged significant portions of the Hudson Line, damaging track and immersing over 30 miles of signal and power systems from Harlem to Croton Harmon in highly corrosive saltwater. Metro-North is repairing the right of way and replacing signal and power infrastructure, hardening systems to the maximum extent feasible considering the location immediately adjacent to the Hudson River. Design for the signal and power replacement by Gannett Fleming is completed, and a design-build contract awarded to Judlau-TC Electric Joint Venture in May 2015 to construct the segment of the Hudson Line from Tarrytown to Croton-Harmon to be followed by the Bronx to Tarrytown segment.



The subway opened in 1904. It travels through underground tunnels and elevated structures in the boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. On Staten Island, New York City Transit’s (NYCT) Staten Island Railway links 22 communities.

Track miles: 662
Rolling stock: 6,407 rail cars
Annual ridership: 2.4 billion (includes bus, paratransit)
Annual operating budget: $10.9 billion (2016)
Capital budget: NA
Stations: 469

Projects underway include:
NYCT’s current, ongoing and future capital projects include the purchase of 940 subway cars, modernizing six signal interlockings, replacing more than 73 miles of track, and rehabbing stations.

*Information source:



The Port Authority of Trans-Hudson (PATH) is operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ). PATH was established as an agency subsidiary in 1962. It provides heavy-rail rapid transit between Manhattan and New Jersey.

Route miles: 14
Rolling stock: 350 active vehicles
Annual ridership: 78.7 million trips expected in 2016
Annual operating expense: $390 million
Annual operating capital budget: $290 million
Stations: 13: 6 in Manhattan and 7 in New Jersey.

Major projects planned for 2016:
• Opening the final sections of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub;
• $192 million for critical state of repair work, including Hurricane Sandy recovery and resiliency projects in the tunnels, as well as continuation of the PATH modernization program;
• $47 million for signal system replacement;
• $58 million for system enhancement, such as PATH station upgrades; and
• $40 million for security and mandatory projects.

*Information source: PANYNJ 2016 Budget Book



The railway links 22 communities in the New York City borough of Staten Island.

Service launched: 1860
Track miles: 29
Rolling stock: 63 rail cars
Annual ridership: 4.5 million
Annual operating budget: $78.8 million (2016)
Projects underway include: St. George Interlocking rehab project and the Arthur Kill Station project, which calls for constructing an ADA-compliant passenger station and parking facility on Staten Island to replace the Atlantic and Nassau stations. Also, the railway is continuing to build a new substation at the Prince’s Bay station.

* Information sources:

previous page next page


Browse articles on Chicago Transit Authority Metra MTA Long Island Rail Road MTA Metro-North Railroad MTA New York City Transit Port Authority Trans-Hudson MTA Staten Island Railway

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.