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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

October 2019

Part 1 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2019: Preface

Part 2 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2018: Amtrak, California, & Colorado

Part 3 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2019: District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia and Illinois

Part 4 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2019: New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania

Part 5 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2019: Texas, Virginia and Washington

Rail News: Passenger Rail

Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2019: New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania

Transit agency facts and figures, and a sampling of agencies’ current and planned capital projects



New Jersey Transit

New Jersey Transit is the nation’s largest statewide public transit system providing more than 925,000 weekday trips on bus, light rail, commuter rail and Access Link paratransit.
Service launched: Light rail, 1930s; commuter rail, 1979
Route miles: Light rail, 116 directional route miles; commuter rail operates on 468 route miles
Rolling stock: 188 locomotives, average age 16 years; 1,098 rail cars, average age 20 years; 93 LRVs, average age 16 years
Cars/locomotives on order: 17 ALP45A dual power locomotives; expected delivery of first locomotive in December 2019; manufactured by Bombardier
Annual ridership: 23.7 million, light rail; 88.6 million, commuter rail
Annual operating cost: $2.39 billion agency systemwide (includes bus)
Annual capital cost: $1.42 billion agency systemwide (includes bus)
Stations: 62 light rail, 165 commuter rail
Major capital projects: Positive train control work continues; rail infrastructure improvement needs, such as the Raritan River Bridge expansion and County Yard expansion.


MTA Long Island Rail Road

MTA Long Island Railroad (LIRR) is the busiest commuter railroad in North America, logging a modern record-high ridership of 89.8 million trips in 2018. The LIRR operates electrical multiple unit (EMU) and diesel-hauled coach commuter railroad service. The network has 11 branches and operates in five counties of New York State, Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, and the New York City boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Service launched: 1834
Route miles: 320
Rolling stock: 45 locomotives, average age 21 years; 1,120 rail cars, including diesel, average age 18 years
Cars/locomotives on order: 92 EMUs manufactured by Kawasaki, with expected delivery in third-quarter 2019
Annual ridership: 89.8 million (2018)
Annual operating cost: $1.6 billion
Annual capital cost: $600 million (approximately)
Stations: 124
Major capital rail improvement projects: The LIRR Main Line Expansion Project, which will add a third track between Floral Park and Hicksville and eliminate seven grade crossings, broke ground in 2018. Expected completion: 2022. Cost: $2.1 billion. Third Track Constructors (3TC) was awarded the project contract in December 2017.

MTA Metro-North Railroad

MTA Metro-North was created in 1983 when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority assumed control of Conrail’s suburban and commuter operations in the states of New York and Connecticut. Metro-North operates five main lines, including the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven, each extending over 70 miles north and east from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan. The lines serve 111 stations. The railroad also serves the 95-mile Port Jervis and 30-mile Pascack Valley lines west of the Hudson River. Those lines extend north from New Jersey Transit’s terminal in Hoboken, New Jersey, and connect with service from Penn Station in New York City, at Secaucus Transfer. They serve 11 stations in New York state.
Service launched: Commuter rail, 1983
Route miles: 384
Rolling stock: 67 locomotives average age 19 years; 1,159 rail cars, average age 16 years
Cars/locomotives on order: 60 EMUs manufactured by Kawasaki; expected delivery in 2020.
Annual ridership: 86.6 million, commuter rail
Annual operating cost: $1.6 billion
Annual capital cost: Five-year program, $2.46 billion
Stations: 124
Major capital improvement projects: Metro-North has a $2.46 billion capital plan programmed over five years from 2015-19. This comprehensive program includes investments in safety, fleet, right of way, stations, communications, signals, power, yards and maintenance shops. The majority of the program is dedicated to achieving and maintaining a state of good repair for railroad assets. Major projects in this five-year period include positive train control, Grand Central Terminal train shed repairs, station rehabilitation/replacement, extensive customer service initiatives, bridge repair/replacements and replacement of structures at the Croton-Harmon fleet maintenance shop.

MTA New York City Transit*

The New York City subway opened in 1904. It travels through underground tunnels and elevated structures in the boroughs of Manhattan, Queens, Brooklynand the Bronx. On Staten Island, New York City Transit’s Staten Island Railway links 22 communities.
Miles: 656 mainline track
Rolling stock: 6,418 subway cars
Annual ridership: 1.7 billion (2018)
Annual operating costs: NA
Annual capital costs: NA
Stations: 472
Major capital improvement projects: In May 2018, NYCT launched Fast Forward, a 10-year, $40 billion plan to modernize subway and bus systems. The plan calls for updating the subway signal and track infrastructure to improve performance, implement a station management model, acquire new subway cars and implement a new open fare payment system.
* Information source:, MTA reports


Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon*

TriMet provides, bus, light-rail and commuter-rail service in the Portland, Oregon, region.
Service launched: Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) opened in 1986 on a 15-mile of alignment between Gresham and downtown Portland
Miles: 60 light rail, 15 commuter rail
Rolling stock: 145 MAX light-rail cars, 6 WES commuter-rail trains (FY2019)
Ridership: 9,321,126 rides per year, light and commuter rail
Annual operating cost: $684.2 million (proposed, FY2020)
Annual capital costs: $330.4 million (Capital Improvement Program, FY2020)
Stations: 97 MAX, 5 WES
Major capital projects: Southwest Corridor Project. The region’s next MAX light-rail line will connect downtown Portland to Tigard and Tualatin. Projected to open in 2027.
*Information source:


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority*

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is the nation’s sixth largest public transportation system with an extensive network of fixed route services that include bus, trolley, trackless trolley, high-speed and regional rail serving 2,202 square miles across five Pennsylvania counties.
Service launched: Heavy rail, 1968; light rail, 1969; commuter rail, 1983
Route miles: light rail, 42; heavy rail, 47; commuter rail, 280
Rolling stock: 924 rail vehicles, 15 locomotives
Annual ridership: light rail, 24,720,500; commuter rail, 34,355,300 (FY2018)
Annual operating budget: $1.49 billion (FY2020)
Annual capital budget: $675 million (FY2020)
Stations: light rail stations and stops, 670; subway, 53; regional rail, 155
*Information source:

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