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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 2018: Amtrak, California, & Colorado

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



Amtrak is the U.S. intercity passenger railroad. It is a federally chartered corporation, with the federal government as a majority stockholder. The board is appointed by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Amtrak is operated as a for-profit company, rather than a public authority.
Service launched: 1971
Route miles: 21,400
Rolling stock: As of November 2018, Amtrak-operated, state-owned equipment included 173 rail cars and 65 diesel locomotives. Amtrak Cascades service primarily operated with six Talgo trainsets: Amtrak and the states of Oregon and Washington each owned one-third of the 81-car Talgo fleet. In North Carolina, the Piedmont service operates with state-owned locomotives and passenger cars. In FY2018, Amtrak continued placing state-owned Tier 4 Siemens Charger diesel locomotives into service; the total order includes 61 units. Amtrak state partners also have more than 100 state-owned rail cars on order from Siemens.
Annual ridership: 31.7 million trips (FY2018)
Total revenue: $3.4 billion (FY2018)
Operating earnings: $170.6 million loss (FY2018)
Capital and operating expense: $4.8 billion (FY2018)
Major capital projects: Amtrak’s Gateway program is the railroad’s highest infrastructure investment priority. It is focused on the preservation and expansion of service on the busiest stretch of the Northeast Corridor (NEC), the 10 miles between Newark, New Jersey, and New York Penn Station in New York City. Gateway is a series of projects that will incorporate critical resilience into the NEC, improve service reliability and ultimately expand capacity to support an approximate doubling of service across the Hudson River. Amtrak included about $72 million in its FY2019 capital budget to advance Gateway projects, plus $201 million in capital reserves. From FY2020-FY2024, Amtrak capital spending on the Gateway program is expected to range from $250 million to $613 million, about 10 percent to 20 percent of total Gateway program spending in those years.
*Information source: Amtrak Company Profile FY2018, Amtrak Five-Year Service Line Plans FY2019


Valley Metro

Valley Metro is the regional public transportation agency providing coordinated transit service to residents of metro Phoenix. From regional bus, light rail and paratransit service to alternative commuter solutions, Valley Metro’s core mission is to develop and operate a network of transit services.
Service launched: Light rail in 2008
Route miles: 28 light rail
Rolling stock: 50 LRVs, average age 11 years
Cars/locomotives on order: 11 LRVs; expected delivery 2020; manufacturer is Siemens
Annual ridership: 15,786,911 light rail
Annual operating cost: $43,021,303
Annual capital cost: $113,160,295
Number of Stations: 38
Major capital projects:
• South Central Extension/Downtown Hub: This line will connect with the current light-rail system in downtown Phoenix and operate south down Central Avenue to Baseline Road. The project also includes a hub in downtown Phoenix. It will include 5.5 miles of track, nine stations and public art from 18 artists. Estimated cost: $1.35 billion. Major contractor for the project is Kiewit Infrastructure LLC. The anticipated project timeline is as follows: design, 2017-2019; construction, 2019-2023; completion, 2023.
• Northwest Phase II Extension: Phase II of the Northwest Extension will extend light rail west on Dunlap Avenue from 19th Avenue, then north on 25th Avenue and across Interstate-17 on Mountain View Road with a terminus on the west side of the freeway near Metrocenter Mall. At the end of the line, the Metrocenter Station will be the first elevated station in Valley Metro’s light-rail system. The existing transit center will relocate to below the elevated station. Adjacent to the transit center will be a four-story park-and-ride garage that will be accessible to the station. The project will include 1.5 miles of track and three stations. Major contractor for engineering is Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., construction is handled by Kiewit/McCarthy. Anticipated project timeline: design, 2018-2020; construction, 2020-23; completion, 2023.


Bay Area Rapid Transit

BART is a heavy-rail public transportation system serving the San Francisco Bay Area.
Service launched: 1972
Route miles: 122
Rolling stock: 750 rail cars, average age 30 years
Cars/locomotives on order: 675 cars manufactured by Bombardier; delivery expected by 2022
Annual ridership: 410,000
Annual operating cost: $947,254,058
Annual capital cost: $1,419,947,084
Stations: 48
Major capital improvement projects:
• Fleet of the Future acquisition of 775 new rail cars at a cost of $4.2 billion;
• train control modernization, with contract expected to be awarded in 2019 for $1.15 billion;
• Hayward Maintenance Complex, a new central warehouse and maintenance engineering facility. Estimated cost is $1.052 billion.


Caltrain is a commuter railroad operating between San Francisco and San Jose, with limited service to Gilroy. Caltrain is owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, which is made up of representatives from the city and county of San Francisco, the San Mateo County Transit District and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority. The transit district is the managing agency, providing administrative services and overseeing the operating contract.
Service launched: The San Francisco and San Jose Railroad Co. began passenger-rail service on the peninsula in 1863. The system now known as Caltrain began in 1992, when the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board took over the train’s operation.
Route miles: 51
Rolling stock: 29 locomotives, 134 passenger cars
Annual ridership: Average weekday ridership of 63,597 (FY2019)
Operating expenses: $132,925,000 (FY2018)
Capital expenses: $322.4 million (FY2018)
Stations: 31
Major capital improvement projects:
• 25th Avenue Grade Separation Project in San Mateo. Cost: $180 million. Completion: Early 2021.
• Burlingame Broadway Grade Separation Project in Burlingame. Cost: $4.35 million for preliminary design and environmental clearance. Environmental clearance completion: 2019.
• South San Francisco Caltrain Station Improvement Project. Cost: $63.2 million. Construction completion: Fall 2020.
• South Terminal Phase 2 Project calls for installing a fourth track and signal controls between the San Jose Diridon Station’s north end and the Centralized Equipment Maintenance and Operation Facility. Construction began in fall 2018 and is expected to take 24 months. Cost: NA
*Information source:

L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) is the public transportation agency for Los Angeles County. It was formed in 1993 out of a merger of the Southern California Rapid Transit District and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. It is chartered under state law as a regional transportation planning agency. LA Metro directly operates bus, light rail, heavy rail and bus rapid-transit services. It provides funding and directors planning for commuter rail and freeway/expressway projects in the county.
Service launched: light rail, 1990; heavy rail, 1993
Route miles: 83.6 light rail; 14 heavy rail
Rolling stock: 104 light-rail cars, average age 23 years; 299 light-rail vehicles, average age 7 years.
Cars/locomotives on order: 48, with expected delivery in FY2020. Manufacturer: Kinkisharyo
Annual ridership: 59,655,365 light rail, 43,074,277 heavy rail
Annual operating cost: $390,590,105 for light rail, $146,386,895 for heavy rail
Systemwide Annual capital cost: $251,134,000 for combined heavy and light rail service (rail acquisitions, modernization, facilities and wayside)
Stations: 79 light rail, 16 heavy rail
Major capital improvement projects: Division 20 portal widening and turnback facility to improve service times for the Red/Purple Line system; New Blue improvements project; Crenshaw/LAX rail line; Foothill Gold Line extension; Purple Line extension; Regional Connector Transit project.*
* Information source:


Regional Transportation District

The Regional Transit District of Denver develops, operates and maintains a public transportation system that meets the transit needs of close to 3 million people within an eight-county service area in the Denver region.
Service launched: Light rail, 1994; commuter rail, 2016
Route miles: Light rail, 60; Commuter rail, 40
Rolling stock: 66 commuter-rail cars, average age 5 years; 172 light-rail vehicles, average age 12 years
Cars/locomotives on order: 29 Siemens SD160 light-rail vehicles with expected delivery 2018-2019
Annual ridership: light rail, 25,322,058; commuter rail, 7,619,589 (2018)
Annual operating cost: light rail, $122,305,271; commuter rail, $53,819,261 (2018)
Annual capital cost: light rail, $92,057,306; commuter rail, $199,315,129 (2018)
Stations: 57 light rail, including 3 new stations in 2019; 16 commuter rail, including 7 new stations in 2019
Major capital projects: The N Line commuter-rail line is undergoing testing and is set to open in 2020.

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