Commuter rail

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Commuter rail, or suburban rail, is a passenger rail transport service that primarily operates within a metropolitan area, connecting commuters to a central city from adjacent suburbs or commuter towns. [1] [2] [3] Commuter rail systems are considered heavy rail, using electrified or diesel trains. [2] Distance charges or zone pricing may be used.


The term can refer to systems with a wide variety of different features and service frequencies, but is often used in contrast to rapid transit or light rail.

Some services share similarities with both commuter rail and high-frequency rapid transit, examples being the German S-Bahn in some cities, the Réseau Express Régional (RER) in Paris, the S Lines in Milan, many Japanese commuter systems, the East Rail line in Hong Kong and some Australasian suburban networks, such as Sydney Trains. Some services, like British commuter rail, share tracks with other passenger services and freight.

In North America, commuter rail sometimes refers only to systems that primarily operate during peak periods and offer little to no service for the rest of the day, with regional rail being used to refer to systems that offer all-day service. [4] [5] [6]


Mumbai Suburban Railway carries more than 7.24 million commuters on a daily basis Mumbai Train.JPG
Mumbai Suburban Railway carries more than 7.24 million commuters on a daily basis
Very short commuter train in push mode. Brno, Kralovo Pole, zeleznicni stanice, vuz 80-30 002 (01).jpg
Very short commuter train in push mode.
GO Transit serves the Greater Golden Horseshoe region surrounding Toronto. Its train services are transitioning from a peak direction commuter railway to a Regional Express Network. GO Transit Bombardier Bilevel CEM 322.JPG
GO Transit serves the Greater Golden Horseshoe region surrounding Toronto. Its train services are transitioning from a peak direction commuter railway to a Regional Express Network.

Most commuter (or suburban) trains are built to main line rail standards, [7] differing from light rail or rapid transit (metro rail) systems by:

Train schedule

Compared to rapid transit (or metro rail), commuter/suburban rail often has lower frequency, following a schedule rather than fixed intervals, and fewer stations spaced further apart. They primarily serve lower density suburban areas (non inner-city), generally only having one or two stops in a city's central business district, and often share right-of-way with intercity or freight trains. [8] Some services operate only during peak hours and others uses fewer departures during off peak hours and weekends. Average speeds are high, often 50 km/h (30 mph) or higher. These higher speeds better serve the longer distances involved. Some services include express services which skip some stations in order to run faster and separate longer distance riders from short-distance ones.[ citation needed ]

The general range of commuter trains' travel distance varies between 15 and 200 km (10 and 125 miles), but longer distances can be covered when the trains run between two or several cities (e.g. S-Bahn in the Ruhr area of Germany). Distances between stations may vary, but are usually much longer than those of urban rail systems. In city centers the train either has a terminal station or passes through the city centre with notably fewer station stops than those of urban rail systems. Toilets are often available on-board trains and in stations.


Their ability to coexist with freight or intercity services in the same right-of-way can drastically reduce system construction costs. However, frequently they are built with dedicated tracks within that right-of-way to prevent delays, especially where service densities have converged in the inner parts of the network.

Most such trains run on the local standard gauge track. Some systems may run on a narrower or broader gauge. Examples of narrow gauge systems are found in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, Switzerland, in the Brisbane (Queensland Rail's City network) and Perth (Transperth) systems in Australia, in some systems in Sweden, and on the Genoa-Casella line in Italy. Some countries and regions, including Finland, India, Pakistan, Russia, Brazil and Sri Lanka, as well as San Francisco (BART) in the US and Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia, use broad gauge track.

Distinction between other modes of rail


Metro rail and rapid transit usually cover smaller inner-urban areas within 12 to 20 km (7 to 12 mi) of city centers, run more frequently, and use dedicated tracks (underground or elevated), whereas commuter rail often shares tracks, technology and the legal framework within mainline railway systems.[ citation needed ]

However, the classification as a metro or rapid rail can be difficult as both may typically cover a metropolitan area exclusively, run on separate tracks in the centre, and often feature purpose-built rolling stock. The fact that the terminology is not standardised across countries (even across English-speaking countries) further complicates matters. This distinction is most easily made when there are two (or more) systems such as New York's subway and the LIRR and Metro-North Railroad, Paris' Métro and RER along with Transilien, Washington D.C.'s Metro along with its MARC and VRE, London's tube lines of the Underground and the Overground, Elizabeth line, Thameslink along with other commuter rail operators, Madrid's Metro and Cercanías, Barcelona's Metro and Rodalies, and Tokyo's subway and the JR lines along with various privately owned and operated commuter rail systems.

Regional rail

Regional rail usually provides rail services between towns and cities, rather than purely linking major population hubs in the way inter-city rail does. Regional rail operates outside major cities. Unlike Inter-city, it stops at most or all stations between cities. It provides a service between smaller communities along the line that are often byproducts of ribbon developments, and also connects with long-distance services at interchange stations located at junctions, terminals, or larger towns along the line. Alternative names are "local train" or "stopping train". Examples include the former BR's Regional Railways, France's TER (Transport express régional), [9] Germany's Regionalexpress and Regionalbahn, and South Korea's Tonggeun services. [10]

Inter-city rail

A Sydney Trains B set with an upper and lower deck B set departing Panania 20180919 01 (Nimed).jpg
A Sydney Trains B set with an upper and lower deck

In some European countries, the distinction between commuter trains and long-distance/intercity trains is subtle, due to the relatively short distances involved. For example, so-called "intercity" trains in Belgium and the Netherlands carry many commuters, while their equipment, range, and speeds are similar to those of commuter trains in some larger countries. In the United Kingdom, there is no division of organisation or branding between commuter, regional, and inter-city trains, providing no obvious means for their categorization.

Russian commuter trains, on the other hand, frequently cover areas larger than Belgium itself, although these are still short distances by Russian standards. They have a different ticketing system from long-distance trains, and in major cities they often operate from a separate section of the train station.

Some consider "inter-city" service to be that which operates as an express service between two main city stations, bypassing intermediate stations. However, this term is used in Australia (Sydney for example) to describe the regional trains operating beyond the boundaries of the suburban services, even though some of these "inter-city" services stop all stations similar to German regional services. In this regard, the German service delineations and naming conventions are clearer and better used for academic purposes.

High-speed rail

A Tokyo-bound E4 Series Shinkansen train. As of October 2021 these have since been retired. Shinkansen E4 series entering Omiya.jpg
A Tokyo-bound E4 Series Shinkansen train. As of October 2021 these have since been retired.

Sometimes high-speed rail can serve daily use of commuters. The Japanese Shinkansen high speed rail system is heavily used by commuters in the Greater Tokyo Area, who commute between 100 and 200 km (62 and 124 mi) by Shinkansen. [11] To meet the demand of commuters, JR sells commuter discount passes. Before 2021, they operated 16-car bilevel E4 Series Shinkansen trains at rush hour, providing a capacity of 1,600 seats. [12] Several lines in China, such as the Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Railway and the Shanghai–Nanjing High-Speed Railway, serve a similar role with many more under construction or planned. [13]

In South Korea, some sections of the high-speed rail network are also heavily used by commuters, such as the section between Gwangmyeong Station and Seoul Station on the KTX network (Gyeongbu HSR Line), or the section between Dongtan Station and Suseo station on the SRT Line.

The high-speed services linking Zürich, Bern and Basel in Switzerland (200 km/h (120 mph)) have brought the Central Business Districts (CBDs) of these three cities within 1 hour of each other. This has resulted in unexpectedly high demand for new commuter trips between the three cities and a corresponding increase in suburban rail passengers accessing the high-speed services at the main city-centre stations (Hauptbahnhof). The Regional-Express commuter service between Munich and Nuremberg in Germany runs at 200 km/h (120 mph) on the 300 km/h (186 mph) Nuremberg–Munich high-speed railway.

The regional trains StockholmUppsala, Stockholm–Västerås, Stockholm–Eskilstuna and GothenburgTrollhättan in Sweden reach 200 km/h (120 mph) and have many daily commuters.

In Great Britain, the HS1 domestic services between London and Ashford runs at a top speed of 225 km/h, and in peak hours the trains can be full with commuters standing.

The Athens Suburban Railway in Greece consists of five lines, 4 of which are electrified. The KiatoPiraeus line and the AigioAirport lines reach speeds of up to 180 km/h (112 mph). The AthensChalcis line is also expected to attain speeds of up to 200 km/h (124 mph) upon upgrading of the SKA–Oinoi railway sector. These lines also have many daily commuters, with the number expected to rise even higher upon full completion of the Acharnes Railway Center.

Eskişehir-Ankara and Konya-Ankara high speed train routes serve as high speed commuter trains in Turkey.

Train types

Commuter/suburban trains are usually optimized for maximum passenger volume, in most cases without sacrificing too much comfort and luggage space, though they seldom have all the amenities of long-distance trains. Cars may be single- or double-level, and aim to provide seating for all. Compared to intercity trains, they have less space, fewer amenities and limited baggage areas.

Multiple unit type

Commuter rail trains are usually composed of multiple units, which are self-propelled, bidirectional, articulated passenger rail cars with driving motors on each (or every other) bogie. Depending on local circumstances and tradition they may be powered either by diesel engines located below the passenger compartment (diesel multiple units) or by electricity picked up from third rails or overhead lines (electric multiple units). Multiple units are almost invariably equipped with control cabs at both ends, which is why such units are so frequently used to provide commuter services, due to the associated short turn-around time.

Locomotive hauled services

An Altamont Corridor Express train operating along the San Francisco Bay; a MPI F40PH-2C locomotive hauls a consist of Bombardier BiLevel Coaches. ACE EMD F40PH Fremont - San Jose.jpg
An Altamont Corridor Express train operating along the San Francisco Bay; a MPI F40PH-2C locomotive hauls a consist of Bombardier BiLevel Coaches.

Locomotive hauled services are used in some countries or locations. This is often a case of asset sweating, by using a single large combined fleet for intercity and regional services. Loco hauled services are usually run in push-pull formation, that is, the train can run with the locomotive at the "front" or "rear" of the train (pushing or pulling). Trains are often equipped with a control cab at the other end of the train from the locomotive, allowing the train operator to operate the train from either end. The motive power for locomotive-hauled commuter trains may be either electric or diesel-electric, although some countries, such as Germany and some of the former Soviet-bloc countries, also use diesel-hydraulic locomotives.

Seat plans

In the US and some other countries, a three-and-two seat plan is used. However, few people sit in the middle seat on these trains because they feel crowded and uncomfortable. [14] [15]

In Japan, South Korea and Indonesia, longitudinal (sideways window-lining) seating is widely used in many commuter rail trains to increase capacity in rush hours. Carriages are usually not organized to increase seating capacity (although in some trains at least one carriage would feature more doors to facilitate easier boarding and alighting and bench seats so that they can be folded up during rush hour to provide more standing room) even in the case of commuting longer than 50 km and commuters in the Greater Tokyo Area, Seoul metropolitan area, and Jabodetabek area have to stand in the train for more than an hour.

Commuter rail systems around the world


A Metrorail train pulling out of Kalk Bay station in Cape Town Kalk Bay Station 3.jpg
A Metrorail train pulling out of Kalk Bay station in Cape Town

Currently there are not many examples of commuter rail in Africa. Metrorail operates in the major cities of South Africa, and there are some commuter rail services in Algeria, Botswana, Kenya, Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia. In Algeria, SNTF operates commuter rail lines between the capital Algiers and its southern and eastern suburbs. They also serve to connect Algiers' main universities to each other. The Dar es Salaam commuter rail offers intracity services in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In Botswana, the (Botswana Railways) "BR Express" has a commuter train between Lobatse and Gaborone.


East Asia

A Tokyo Metro 16000 series train operating a through service on the JR East Joban Line, an example of high-density commuter rail in Japan. Tokyo metro 16000.JPG
A Tokyo Metro 16000 series train operating a through service on the JR East Jōban Line, an example of high-density commuter rail in Japan.

In Japan, commuter rail systems have extensive network and frequent service and are heavily used. In many cases, Japanese commuter rail is operationally more like a typical metro system (frequent trains, an emphasis on standing passengers, short station spacings) than it is like commuter rail in other countries. Japanese commuter rail commonly interline with city center subway lines, with commuter rail trains continuing into the subway network, and then out onto different commuter rail systems on the other side of the city. Many Japanese commuter systems operate various stopping patterns to reduce the travel time to distant locations, often using station passing loops instead of dedicated express tracks. It is notable that the larger Japanese commuter rail systems are owned and operated by for-profit private railway companies, without public subsidy.

East Japan Railway Company operates a large suburban train network in Tokyo with various lines connecting the suburban areas to the city center. While the Yamanote Line, Keihin Tohoku Line, Chūō–Sōbu Line services arguably are more akin to rapid transit with frequent stops, simple stopping patterns (relative to other JR East lines) no branching services and largely serving the inner suburbs; other services along the Chūō Rapid Line, Sōbu Rapid Line/Yokosuka Line, Ueno–Tokyo Line, Shōnan–Shinjuku Line etc. are mid-distance services from suburban lines in the outer reaches of Greater Tokyo through operating into these lines to form a high frequency corridor though central Tokyo.

Other commuter rail routes in Japan include:

Commuter rail systems have been inaugurated in several cities in China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha and the Pearl River Delta. With plans for large systems in northeastern Zhejiang, Jingjinji, and Yangtze River Delta areas. The level of service varies considerably from line to line ranging high to near high speeds. More developed and established lines such as the Guangshen Railway have more frequent metro-like service.

The two MTR lines which are owned and formerly operated by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (East Rail line and Tuen Ma line which is integrated from the former West Rail line and Ma On Shan line in 2021), then the "KCR"), and MTR's own Tung Chung line connect the new towns in New Territories and the city centre Kowloon together with frequent intervals, and some New Territories-bound trains terminate at intermediate stations, providing more frequent services in Kowloon and the towns closer to Kowloon. Most of the sections of these four lines are overground and some sections of the East Rail Line share tracks with intercity trains to mainland China. The three KCR lines are integrated into the MTR network since 2008 and most passengers do not need to exit and re-enter the system through separate fare gates and purchase separate tickets to transfer between such lines and the rest of the network (the exceptions are between the Tuen Ma line's East Tsim Sha Tsui station and the Tsuen Wan line's Tsim Sha Tsui station.

In Taiwan, the Western line in the Taipei-Taoyuan Metropolitan Area, Taichung Metropolitan Area and Tainan-Kaohsiung Metropolitan Area as well as the Neiwan-Liujia line in the Hsinchu Area are considered commuter rail.

In South Korea, the Seoul Metropolitan Subway includes a total of 22 lines, and some of its lines are suburban lines. This is especially the case for lines operated by Korail, such as the Gyeongui-Jungang Line, the Gyeongchun Line, the Suin-Bundang Line, or the Gyeonggang Line. Even some lines not operated by Korail, such as the AREX Line, the Seohae Line or the Shinbundang Line mostly function as commuter rail. Lastly, even for the "numbered lines" (1-9) of the Seoul Metropolitan Subway which mostly travel in the dense parts of Seoul, some track sections extend far outside of the city, and operate large sections at ground level, such as on the Line 1, Line 3 and Line 4. In Busan, the Donghae Line, while part of the Busan Metro system, mostly functions as a commuter rail line.

Southeast Asia

set 205 series operated by KAI Commuter in Indonesia JR205 SLO9 Departing Tugu.jpg
set 205 series operated by KAI Commuter in Indonesia

In Indonesia, the KRL Commuterline is the largest commuter rail system in the country, serving the Greater Jakarta. It connects the Jakarta city center with surrounding cities and sub-urbans in Banten and West Java provinces, including Depok, Bogor, Tangerang, Serpong, Rangkasbitung, Bekasi and Cikarang. In July 2015, KA Commuter Jabodetabek served more than 850,000 passengers per day, which is almost triple of the 2011 figures, but still less than 3.5% of all Jabodetabek commutes. [16] Other commuter rail systems in Indonesia include the Metro Surabaya Commuter Line, Prambanan Express, KRL Commuterline Yogyakarta–Solo, Kedung Sepur, and the Greater Bandung Commuter.

In the Philippines, the Philippine National Railways has two commuter rail systems currently operational; the PNR Metro Commuter Line in the Greater Manila Area and the PNR Bicol Commuter in the Bicol Region. A new commuter rail line in Metro Manila, the North–South Commuter Railway, is currently under construction. Its North section is set to be partially opened by 2021.

In Malaysia, there are two commuter services operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu. They are the KTM Komuter that serves Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley area, and the KTM Komuter Northern Sector that serves Greater Penang, Perak, Kedah and Perlis in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia.

In Thailand, the Greater Bangkok Commuter rail and the Airport Rail Link serve the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. The SRT Red Lines, a new commuter line in Bangkok, started construction in 2009. It opened in 2021.

Another commuter rail system in Southeast Asia is the Yangon Circular Railway in Myanmar.

South Asia

Chennai suburban railway ChennaiEMUNew.JPG
Chennai suburban railway

In India, commuter rail systems are present in major cities. Mumbai Suburban Railway, the oldest suburban rail system in Asia, carries more than 7.24 million commuters on a daily basis which constitutes more than half of the total daily passenger capacity of the Indian Railways itself. Kolkata Suburban Railway is the biggest Suburban Railway network in India covering 348 stations carries more than 3.5 million commuters per day. The Chennai Suburban Railway along with Chennai MRTS is another railway of comparison where more than 2.5 million people travel daily to different areas in Chennai. Other commuter railways in India include Hyderabad MMTS, Delhi Suburban Railway, Pune Suburban Railway and Lucknow-Kanpur Suburban Railway.

Kolkata Suburban Railway is the biggest Suburban Railway network in India. KolkataLocalTrains.JPG
Kolkata Suburban Railway is the biggest Suburban Railway network in India.

In 2020, Government of India approved Bengaluru Suburban Railway to connect Bengaluru and its suburbs. It will be unique and first of its kind in India as it will have metro like facilities and rolling stock.

Karachi in Pakistan has had a circular railway since 1969.

West Asia

In Iran, SYSTRA proposed 4 express lines similar to RER suburban lines in Paris. Tehran Metro is going to construct express lines. For instance, the Rahyab Behineh, a consultant for Tehran Metro, is studying Tehran Express Line 2. Tehran Metro currently has a commuter line, which is Line 5 between Tehran and Karaj. Isfahan has two lines to its suburbs Baharestan and Fuladshahr under construction, and a third line to Shahinshahr is planned.

In Turkey; Başkentray, İZBAN, Marmaray and Gaziray are well-known examples.


Type X60 at Stockholm Central in Sweden Ny pendeltag stockholm.jpg
Type X60 at Stockholm Central in Sweden

Major metropolitan areas in most European countries are usually served by extensive commuter/suburban rail systems. Well-known examples include BG Voz in Belgrade (Serbia), S-Bahn in Germany, Austria and German-speaking areas of Switzerland, Proastiakos in Greece, RER in France and Belgium, Servizio ferroviario suburbano in Italy, Cercanías and Rodalies (Catalonia) in Spain, CP Urban Services in Portugal, Esko in Prague and Ostrava (Czech Republic), HÉV in Budapest (Hungary) and DART in Dublin (Ireland).

London has multiple commuter rail routes:

The Merseyrail network in Liverpool consists of two commuter rail routes powered by third rail, both of which branch out at one end. At the other, the Northern Line continues out of the city centre to a mainline rail interchange, while the Wirral Line has a city-centre loop.

Birmingham has four suburban routes, one of which is operated with diesel trains.

The Tyneside Electrics system in Newcastle existed from 1904 to 1967 using DC third rail. British Rail did not have the budget to maintain the ageing electrification system. The Riverside Branch was closed, while the remaining lines were de-electrified. 13 years later, they were re-electrified using DC overhead wires, and now form the Tyne & Wear Metro Yellow Line.

Many of the rail services around Glasgow are branded as Strathclyde Partnership for Transport. The network includes most electrified Scottish rail routes.

The Metro run eleven services which feed into Leeds, connecting the city with commuter areas and neighbouring urban centres in the West Yorkshire Connurbation.

MetroWest is a proposed network in Bristol, northern Somerset & southern Gloucestershire. The four-tracking of the line between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway stations will enable local rail services to be separated from long-distance trains.

The Réseau express régional d'Île-de-France (RER) is a commuter rail network in the agglomeration of Paris. In the centre the RER has high frequency underground corridors where several suburban branches feed similar to a rapid transit system.

Commuter rail systems in Germany are called S-Bahn. While in some major cities S-Bahn services run on separate lines exclusively other systems use the existing regional rail tracks.

Randstadspoor is a network of Sprinter train services in and around the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. For the realisation of this network, new stations were opened. Separate tracks have been built for these trains, so they can call frequently without disturbing high-frequent Intercity services parallel to these routes. [17] Similar systems are planned for The Hague and Rotterdam.

In Sweden, electrified commuter rail systems known as Pendeltåg are present in the cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg. The Stockholm commuter rail system, which began in 1968, shares railway tracks with inter-city trains and freight trains, but for the most part runs on its own dedicated tracks. It is primarily used to transport passengers from nearby towns and other suburban areas into the city centre, not for transportation inside the city centre. The Gothenburg commuter rail system, which began in 1960, is similar to the Stockholm system, but does fully share tracks with long-distance trains.

In Norway, the Oslo commuter rail system mostly shares tracks with more long-distance trains, but also runs on some local railways without other traffic. Services converge on a primary main line between Asker and Lillestrøm. Oslo has the largest commuter rail system in the Nordic countries in terms of line lengths and number of stations. But some lines have travel times (over an hour from Oslo) and frequencies (once per hour) which are more like regional trains. Also Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim have commuter rail systems. These have only one or two lines each and they share tracks with other trains.

In Finland, the Helsinki commuter rail network runs on dedicated tracks from Helsinki Central railway station to Leppävaara and Kerava. The Ring Rail Line serves Helsinki Airport and northern suburbs of Vantaa and is exclusively used by the commuter rail network. On 15 December 2019 Tampere got its own commuter rail service.

In Spain Cercanías networks exist in Madrid, Sevilla, Murcia/Alicante, San Sebastián, Cádiz, Valencia, Asturias, Santander, Zaragoza, Bilbao and Málaga. All these systems include underground sections in the city centre. There is also a network of narrow-gauge commuter systems in North Spain and Murcia.

Rodalies Renfe trains in Estacio de Franca, Barcelona Trens de Rodalies Renfe a l'Estacio de Franca.jpg
Rodalies Renfe trains in Estació de França, Barcelona
Trains in circulation on the FGC Llobregat-Anoia line in 2009 FGC 211.03 i 213.34.jpg
Trains in circulation on the FGC Llobregat-Anoia line in 2009

In the autonomous community of Catalonia, and unlike the rest of Spain, the commuter service is not managed by Renfe Operadora. [18] Since 2010, the Government of Catalonia has managed all the regular commuter services with the "transfer of Rodalies". [19] There are two companies that manage the Catalan commuter network:

The Government of Catalonia will assume full control of the current R12 regional line in 2024 and it will be owned by the FGC. [27] It will eliminate the current line and replace it with the new commuter lines RL3 and RL4, towards Cervera and Manresa from Lleida respectively.

In Italy there are several commuter rail networks:

SKM train in Warsaw, Poland SKM S9 Pludy.JPG
SKM train in Warsaw, Poland

In Poland, commuter rail systems exist in Tricity, Warsaw, Kraków (SKA) and Katowice (SKR). There is also a similar system planned in Wrocław and Szczecin. [31] The terms used are "Szybka Kolej Miejska" (fast urban rail) and "kolej aglomeracyjna" (agglomeration rail). These systems are:

The Proastiakos (Greek : Προαστιακός; "suburban") is Greece's suburban railway (commuter rail) services, which are run by TrainOSE, on infrastructure owned by the Hellenic Railways Organisation (OSE). There are three Proastiakos networks, servicing the country's three largest cities: Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras. In particular, the Athenian network is undergoing modifications to completely separate it from mainline traffic, by re-routing the tracks via a tunnel underneath the city center. A similar project is planned for the Patras network, whereas a new line is due to be constructed for the Thessalonian network.

In Romania, the first commuter trains were introduced in December 2019. They operate between Bucharest and Funduea or Buftea.

BG Voz is an urban rail system that serves Belgrade. It currently has only two routes, with plans for further expansion. Between early 1990s and mid-2010s, there was another system, known as Beovoz, that was used to provide mass-transit service within the Belgrade metropolitan area, as well as to nearby towns, similarly to RER in Paris. Beovoz had more lines and far more stops than the current system. However, it was abandoned in favor of more accurate BG Voz, mostly due to inefficiency. While current services rely mostly on the existing infrastructure, any further development means furthering capacities (railways expansion and new trains). Plans for further extension of system include another two lines, one of which should reach Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport.

In Russia, Ukraine and some other countries of the former Soviet Union, electrical multiple unit passenger suburban trains called Elektrichka are widespread. The first such system in Russia is the Oranienbaum Electric Line in St. Petersburg. In Moscow the Beskudnikovskaya railway branch existed between the 1940s and 1980s. The trains that shuttled along it did not go to the main lines, so it was a city transport. Today there are the Moscow Central Circle and the Moscow Central Diameters.

In Turkey, Marmaray line stations from Sirkeci to Halkalı are located at the European side. Overground section between Kazlıçeşme and Sirkeci, stations such as Cankurtaran, are closed since 2013.


SEPTA Regional Rail serves Philadelphia and its suburbs. SEPTA Silverliner V 725 at Glenside station.jpeg
SEPTA Regional Rail serves Philadelphia and its suburbs.

North America

In the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Mexico regional passenger rail services are provided by governmental or quasi-governmental agencies, with the busiest and most expansive rail networks located in the Northeastern US, California, and Eastern Canada. Most North American commuter railways utilize diesel locomotive propulsion, with the exception of services in New York City, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, and Mexico City; New York's commuter rail lines use a combination of third rail and overhead wire power generation, while Chicago only has two out of twelve services that are electrified. Many newer and proposed systems in Canada and the United States are often are geared to serving peak-hour commutes as opposed to the all-day systems of Europe, East Asia, and Australia.

Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad in North America. MTA LIRR train leaving Woodside.jpg
Long Island Rail Road is the busiest commuter railroad in North America.
The FrontRunner commuter rail system serves Utah's Wasatch Front. Front Runner (1141456610).jpg
The FrontRunner commuter rail system serves Utah's Wasatch Front.
WES Commuter Rail is a DMU operated commuter rail line in Oregon. WES Commuter Rail train.jpg
WES Commuter Rail is a DMU operated commuter rail line in Oregon.
United States

Eight commuter rail systems in the United States carried over ten million trips in 2018, those being in descending order:

Other commuter rail systems in the United States (not in ridership order) are:

UP Express and GO Transit both serve the Toronto area. UP Express 1005 inbound 2015-09-17.JPG
UP Express and GO Transit both serve the Toronto area.
Central America

South America

The Mitre Line is part of the extensive Buenos Aires metropolitan rail system. EMU CSR M20 en Barrancas.jpg
The Mitre Line is part of the extensive Buenos Aires metropolitan rail system.

Examples include an 899 km (559 mi) commuter system in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, the 225 km (140 mi) long Supervia in Rio de Janeiro, the Metrotrén in Santiago, Chile, and the Valparaíso Metro in Valparaíso, Chile.

Another example is Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) in Greater São Paulo, Brazil. CPTM has 94 stations with seven lines, numbered starting on 7 (the lines 1 to 6 and the line 15 belong to the São Paulo Metro), with a total length of 273 kilometres (170 mi). Trains operates at high frequencies on tracks used exclusively for commuter traffic. In Rio de Janeiro SuperVia provides electrified commuter rail services.


A Siemens Nexas used on the Metro Trains Melbourne network Siemens train in Metro Trains Melbourne Livery.jpg
A Siemens Nexas used on the Metro Trains Melbourne network

The five major cities in Australia have suburban railway systems in their metropolitan areas. These networks have frequent services, with frequencies varying from every 10 to every 30 minutes on most suburban lines, and up to 3–5 minutes in peak on bundled underground lines in the city centres of Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne. The networks in each state developed from mainline railways and have never been completely operationally separate from long distance and freight traffic, unlike metro systems. The suburban networks are almost completely electrified.

The main suburban rail networks in Australia are:

New Zealand has two frequent suburban rail services comparable to those in Australia: the Auckland rail network is operated by Auckland One Rail and the Wellington rail network is operated by Transdev Wellington.

Hybrid urban-suburban rail systems

Hybrid urban-suburban rail systems exhibiting characteristics of both rapid transit and commuter rail serving a metropolitan region are common in German-speaking countries, where they are known as S-Bahn. Other examples include the RER in France and the Elizabeth line, London Underground Metropolitan line, London Overground and Merseyrail in the UK. A comparable system in India, the Delhi RRTS, is also under construction.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Inter-city rail</span> Inter-city passenger rail transport

Inter-city rail services are express passenger train services that run services that connect cities over longer distances than commuter or regional trains. They include rail services that are neither short-distance commuter rail trains within one city area nor slow regional rail trains stopping at all stations and covering local journeys only. An inter-city train is typically an express train with limited stops and comfortable carriages to serve long-distance travel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">S-Bahn</span> Type of commuter rail systems in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Czechia and Denmark

The S-Bahn is the name of hybrid urban-suburban rail systems serving a metropolitan region predominantly in German-speaking countries. Some of the larger S-Bahn systems provide service similar to rapid transit systems, while smaller ones often resemble commuter or even regional rail systems. The name S-Bahn derives from Schnellbahn, Stadtbahn or Stadtschnellbahn.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Barcelona Metro</span> Rapid transit system in Barcelona, Spain

The Barcelona Metro is a network of rapid transit electrified railway lines that run mostly underground in central Barcelona and into the city's suburbs. It is part of the larger public transport system of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, Spain, with unified fares under the Autoritat del Transport Metropolità (ATM) scheme. As of 2014, the network is operated by two separate companies: Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) and Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC). It is made up of 12 lines, combining the lines owned by the two companies. Two lines, L9 and L10, are being built at present, with both lines having different sections of each opened between 2009 and 2018. They are due to be fully completed in 2026. Three lines on the network have opened as automatic train operation/driverless vehicle systems since 2009: Line 11, Line 9 and Line 10, in chronological order.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Railways in Melbourne</span> Railway network in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Melbourne rail network is a passenger and freight train system in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The metropolitan passenger rail network is centred on the Melbourne CBD and consists of 222 stations across 16 lines, which served a ridership of 99.5 million over the year 2021-2022. It is the core of the larger Victorian railway network, with links to both intrastate and interstate systems.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos</span> Rapid transit and commuter rail company

Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) is a rapid transit and commuter rail company owned by the São Paulo State Department for Metropolitan Transports. It was created on May 28, 1992, from several railroads that already existed in Greater São Paulo, Brazil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Commuter rail in North America</span> Rail passenger service primarily for travel between a city and its suburbs

Commuter rail services in the United States, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica provide common carrier passenger transportation along railway tracks, with scheduled service on fixed routes on a non-reservation basis, primarily for short-distance (local) travel between a central business district and adjacent suburbs and regional travel between cities of a conurbation. It does not include rapid transit or light rail service.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Center City Commuter Connection</span> Railway tunnel in Center City Philadelphia

The Center City Commuter Connection (CCCC), commonly referred to as "the commuter tunnel", is a passenger railroad tunnel in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, built to connect the stub ends of the two separate regional commuter rail systems, originally operated by two rival railroad companies: the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Company. All of the SEPTA Regional Rail lines except for the Cynwyd Line pass completely through the four-track tunnel, which contains two underground stations, Suburban Station and Jefferson Station, and the above-ground upper-level concourse for the east–west commuter lines serving 30th Street Station.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Urban rail transit</span> Train service intended for city-dwellers

Urban rail transit is a wide term for various types of local rail systems providing passenger service within and around urban or suburban areas. The set of urban rail systems can be roughly subdivided into the following categories, which sometimes overlap because some systems or lines have aspects of multiple types.

Various terms are used for passenger railway lines and equipment; the usage of these terms differs substantially between areas:

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rail transport in Japan</span> Railway transport in Japan

Rail transport in Japan is a major means of passenger transport, especially for mass and high-speed travel between major cities and for commuter transport in urban areas. It is used relatively little for freight transport, accounting for just 0.84% of goods movement. The privatised network is highly efficient, requiring few subsidies and running with extreme punctuality, though since privatisation several unprofitable but socially valuable lines have been closed by private operators.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rail transport in Denmark</span> Railway system in Denmark

The rail transport system in Denmark consists of 2,633 km of railway lines, of which the Copenhagen S-train network, the main line Helsingør-Copenhagen-Padborg, and the Lunderskov-Esbjerg line are electrified. Most traffic is passenger trains, although there is considerable transit goods traffic between Sweden and Germany.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Transport in Greater Tokyo</span> Overview of the transportation network in Greater Tokyo

The transport network in Greater Tokyo includes public and private rail and highway networks; airports for international, domestic, and general aviation; buses; motorcycle delivery services, walking, bicycling, and commercial shipping. While the nexus is in the central part of Tokyo, every part of the Greater Tokyo Area has rail or road transport services. There are also a number of ports offering sea and air transport to the general public.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Railways in Sydney</span>

Sydney, the largest city in Australia, has an extensive network of passenger and freight railways. The passenger system includes an extensive suburban railway network, operated by Sydney Trains, a metro network and a light rail network. A dedicated freight network also exists. Future expansion of the light rail network includes the Parramatta Light Rail. Existing light rail services are the Inner West Light Rail and the CBD & South East Light Rail.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of rapid transit</span> Overview of the global rapid transition

The history of rapid transit began in London with the opening of the Metropolitan Railway, which is now part of the London Underground, in 1863. By World War I, electric underground railways were being used in Athens, Berlin, Boston, Buenos Aires, Budapest, Glasgow, Hamburg, Istanbul, Liverpool, New York City, Paris, and Philadelphia.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Public transport in Ireland</span>

Public transport in Ireland exists in many of the Ireland's urban areas and rural areas, and takes a number of forms. Bus transport is the main form of public transport and is common in all cities. The cities, Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Derry, Limerick and Galway all have their own suburban rail networks, although Dublin is the only to have its own tram line, in the form of the Luas. Ireland has a population of 5 million people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rapid transit</span> High-capacity public transport commonly found in urban areas

Rapid transit or mass rapid transit (MRT), also known as heavy rail or metro, is a type of high-capacity public transport that is generally found in urban areas. A rapid transit system that primarily or traditionally runs below the surface may be called a subway, tube, or underground. Unlike buses or trams, rapid transit systems are railways, usually electric, that operate on an exclusive right-of-way, which cannot be accessed by pedestrians or other vehicles. They are often grade-separated in tunnels or on elevated railways.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rapid transit in Germany</span> Overview of the rapid transit system in Germany

Rapid transit in Germany consists of four U-Bahn systems and fourteen S-Bahn systems. The U-Bahn commonly understood to stand for Untergrundbahn are conventional rapid transit systems that run mostly underground, while the S-Bahn or Stadtschnellbahn are commuter rail services, that may run underground in the city center and have metro-like characteristics in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin which they only have to a lesser extent in other cities. There are also over a dozen premetro or Stadtbahn systems that are rapid transit in the city center and light rail outside.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Urban rail in the United Kingdom</span> Overview of the role of the urban rail in the United Kingdom

Urban or suburban rail plays a key role in public transport in many of the United Kingdom's major cities. Urban rail refers to the train service between city centres and suburbs or nearby towns that acts as a main mode of transport for travellers on a daily basis.

Public transport in Barcelona is operated by several companies, most of which are part of the Autoritat del Transport Metropolità, a transport authority managing services in the Barcelonès and the rest of the metropolitan area of Barcelona. This article is a summary with transport facilities and services strictly within the municipality of Barcelona, and contains links to more specific articles.


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