United States

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Country Details

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National Railway System

The United States rail network has a complex mix of infrastructure ownership and passenger train operation. Most of the infrastructure is owned by private companies - principally BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific - which operate freight services only. Passenger services are provided by various public-sector bodies. The federal operator, Amtrak, runs long-distance and other inter-city trains, and local services are run by various state operators. Amtrak and some other operators also own parts of the infrastructure on which they run.


There is a fairly consistent basic infrastructure standard for all main-line operators (i.e. not metros / light rail):

  • gauge: standard
  • electrification: none (but see Northeast Corridor below)
  • rule of the road: right, but with extensive bi-directional operation

Variations are noted against individual operators.

Northeast Corridor

The Northeast Corridor is the main line linking Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington DC. Due to a complex ownership and construction history, the Northeast Corridor electrification has three different systems, all overhead:

  • Boston - New Haven (Connecticut): 25kV 60Hz
  • New Haven - New York: 12.5KV 60Hz (includes Metro-North branches in Connecticut)
  • New York - Washington: 12kV 25Hz (includes Philadelphia - Harrisburg, and SEPTA lines around Philadelphia)

Some NJ Transit branch lines connecting with the Northeast Corridor have 25kV 60Hz electrification.



  • The Man in Seat 61 site has a useful guide to train travel in the United States, including summary timetables and ticket details.
  • Summary timetables for Amtrak and some other services are available in some editions of the European Rail Timetable.
  • A real-time interactive map and other information for many "commuter rail" operators (and other transit services) is available at Pantograph. Note that this does not include Amtrak services.


Tickets are generally not interavailable between operators, even on shared routes. Exceptions may be identified in this Guide when known.


The main source of information is the website.


Amtrak provide an interactive map, and also a PDF map: on the Routes & Destinations page, click the "National Route Map" button


  • Journey planner: on the website front page
  • Online timetables: Amtrak no longer provides timetable PDFs. The Rail Passengers Association publishes unofficial timetables in a similar format, created from Amtrak data.
  • Printed timetable: it is not known whether Amtrak still publishes a paper timetable. The compilers would welcome updates.

There is an archive of old Amtrak timetable PDFs, both official and unofficial, and other resources, at juckins.net.

Engineering Information

See Service Alerts & Notices.

Real-time Information

  • On the Amtrak website front page, click the "Train Status" button to check individual trains by origin/destination or by train number
  • A real-time interactive map of Amtrak (and VIA Rail) trains is available on the TransitDocs website. Click on individual trains to view their details.


Amtrak offers several rail passes. Note that these do not provide unlimited travel within a particular period and area; there is a limit on the number of times any given route segment may be travelled, and the national "USA Rail Pass" permits only ten journey segments (point-to-point journeys on a single service). A rail pass is also not a travel document in its own right; for each journey on a rail pass, a conventional ticket must be issued, free of charge, with reservations as necessary.

Regional Routes

Various state-supported regional routes have their own websites, which may provide more information than is available from the Amtrak website.

Other Railways

Information for operators within individual states, including metro and light rail systems, is broken down by state:

State Status
Alabama only Amtrak service
Alaska see state page
Arizona (including Phoenix) see state page
Arkansas see state page
California (including Los Angeles and San Francisco) see state page
Colorado (including Denver) see state page
Connecticut see state page
Delaware service provided only by Amtrak and SEPTA (see Pennsylvania)
District of Columbia (DC / Washington city) see state page
Florida (including Miami) see state page
Georgia (including Atlanta) see state page
Hawaii (including Honolulu) see state page
Idaho only Amtrak service
Illinois (including Chicago) see state page
Indiana see state page
Iowa only Amtrak service
Kansas only Amtrak service
Kentucky only Amtrak service
Louisiana (including New Orleans) see state page
Maine only Amtrak service
Maryland (including Baltimore) see state page
Massachusetts (including Boston) see state page
Michigan (including Detroit) see state page
Minnesota (including Minneapolis) see state page
Mississippi only Amtrak service
Missouri see state page
Montana only Amtrak service
Nebraska see state page
Nevada (including Las Vegas) see state page
New Hampshire only Amtrak service
New Jersey see state page
New Mexico (including Albuquerque) see state page
New York see state page
North Carolina see state page
North Dakota only Amtrak service
Ohio see state page
Oklahoma see state page
Oregon see state page
Pennsylvania (including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) see state page
Rhode Island service provided only by Amtrak and MBTA (see Massachusetts)
South Carolina only Amtrak service
South Dakota no rail passenger service
Tennessee (including Memphis and Nashville) see state page
Texas (including Dallas and Houston) see state page
Utah see state page
Vermont only Amtrak service
Virginia see state page
Washington (state) see state page
West Virginia service provided only by Amtrak and MARC (see Maryland)
Wisconsin see state page
Wyoming no rail passenger service

Note that some states do not have Amtrak service: Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Wyoming.

Some state operators serve more than one state; the links in the table indicate the main entry for each operator:

Operator Service
MBTA mainly Massachusetts; the Providence Line extends into Rhode Island, via Providence to Wickford Junction
CTrail Hartford Line mainly Connecticut; extends to Springfield, Massachusetts
Metro-North mainly New York; much of the New Haven Line and its branches are in Connecticut
PATH metro-like service between New York city and nearby New Jersey
New Jersey Transit services on many northern New Jersey routes operate to New York city; the Atlantic City Line runs to Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)
SEPTA mainly Pennsylvania; the Trenton Line extends to Trenton, New Jersey; and the Wilmington / Newark Line to Newark, Delaware
PATCO metro-like service between Philadelphia (PA) and Camden, New Jersey
MARC mainly Maryland; all lines run to Washington DC; the Brunswick Line extends to Martinsburg, West Virginia
WMATA Washington Metro lines extend into Maryland and Virginia
VRE mainly Virginia; both lines run to Washington DC
NICTD (South Shore Line) mainly Indiana; the line runs to Chicago (IL)
Metra mainly Illinois; the Union Pacific North line extends to Kenosha, Wisconsin
St. Louis Metrolink light rail service in Missouri and Illinois

US Territories

There is a separate page for the US territory of Puerto Rico; the territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands have no railways.

Tourist Lines

See Wikipedia

Obscure and Sparse Passenger Services

See PSUL: World Beyond Europe