Inter-city rail services are express passenger train services that
cover longer distances than commuter or regional trains.
There is no precise definition of inter-city rail; its meaning may
vary from country to country. Most broadly, it can include any rail
services that are neither short-distance commuter rail trains within
one city area, nor slow regional rail trains calling at all stations
and covering local journeys only. Most typically, an inter-city train
is an express train with limited stops and comfortable carriages to
serve long-distance travel.
Inter-city rail sometimes provides international services. This is
most prevalent in Europe, due to the close proximity of its 50
countries in a 10,180,000 square kilometre (3,930,000 sq mi)
EuroCity are examples of this. In
many European countries the word "InterCity" or "Inter-City" is an
official brand name for a network of regular-interval, relatively
long-distance train services that meet certain criteria of speed and
comfort. This use of the term appeared in the United Kingdom in the
1960s and has been widely imitated.
1.1 Distance of inter-city rail
2 Overview of
Inter-city rail by country
2.2.1 East Asia
220.127.116.11 Hong Kong
18.104.22.168 South Korea
2.2.2 South Asia
22.214.171.124 Sri Lanka
2.2.3 Southeast Asia
2.2.4 Southwest Asia
2.3.1 Western and Central Europe
2.4 North America
2.4.3 United States
2.5.2 New Zealand
2.6 South America
3 See also
5 External links
The speeds of inter-city rail lines are quite diverse, ranging from
50 km/h (31 mph) in a mountainous area or on undeveloped
tracks to 200–350 km/h (124–217 mph) on newly
constructed or improved tracks. As a result,
Inter-city rail may or
may not fall into the category of higher-speed rail or high-speed
rail. Ideally, the average speed of inter-city rail service would be
faster than 100 km/h (62 mph) in order to be competitive
with car, bus and other methods of transport.
Distance of inter-city rail
The distance of an inter-city rail journey is usually at least
50–100 km (30–60 mi), although in many large
metropolitan areas commuter and regional services cover equal or
A distance of 100–500 km (60–300 mi) is a common journey
distance for inter-city rail in many countries. In many cases, railway
travel is most competitive at about 2–3 hours journey time.
Inter-city rail can often compete with highways and short-haul air
travel for journeys of this distance.
In journeys of 500–1,000 km (300–600 mi), the role of
inter-city rail is often replaced by faster air travel. Development of
high-speed rail in some countries increases the share of railway for
such longer-distance journeys. The Paris-Marseille
TGV (750 km or
466 mi, or 3 hours) and Tokyo-Aomori
Shinkansen (675 km or
419 mi, or 2 hours 59 minutes) are examples of this type of
journey. In conventional non high-speed rail, overnight trains are
common for this distance.
1,000 km or more
In some countries with a dense rail network, large territory, or less
air and car transport, such as China, India, and Russia, overnight
long-distance train services are provided and used practically.
In many other countries, such long-distance rail journey has been
replaced by air travel except for tourism or hobbyist purposes, luxury
train journeys, or significant cost benefit. Discount
Eurail Pass in
Amtrak in the United States, and
Indian Pacific in Australia
Faster high-speed rail of 350 km (220 mi), such as the
Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway
Beijing–Shanghai High-Speed Railway in China (1,300 km or
810 mi, or 5 hours) and Tokyo-Sapporo in the proposed Hokkaido
Shinkansen in Japan (1,030 km or 640 mi, or 4 hours), may
play a significant role in long-distance travel in the future.
Inter-city rail by country
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March
A Moroccan Inter-city train at Rabat station
Railways in Africa are still developing or not practically used for
passenger purposes in many countries, but the following countries have
inter-city services between major cities:
Egypt: Egyptian National Railways
ONCF (in French - Office National des Chemins de Fer du
Maroc, National Office for Railways of Morocco)
South Africa: Shosholoza Meyl
Tunisia Tunisian Railways(SNCFT)
High-speed rail in China
Trains run by
China Railways link almost every town and city in the
People's Republic of China mainland, including Beijing, Guangzhou,
Shenzhen and Xi'an, as well as onwards from
the border to Kowloon, Hong Kong. New high-speed lines from
200–350 km/h (124–217 mph) operation are constructed,
and many conventional lines are also upgraded to 200 km/h
(124 mph) operation. Currently there are seven High-Speed
Inter-City lines in China, with up to 21 planned. They are operated
independently from the often parallel High-Speed-Rail-Lines.
DMU tilting train express "Super Ōzora" in Japan. The train type
shown is a
KiHa 283 series
KiHa 283 series Diesel Multiple unit.
See also: Shinkansen
Japan has six main regional passenger railway companies, known
Japan Railways Group
Japan Railways Group or simply as JR. Four JR
companies operate the "bullet trains" on very fast and frequent
Shinkansen lines that link all the larger cities, including Tokyo,
Yokohama, Nagoya, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka and many more.
Many other cities are covered by a network of JR's "limited express"
inter-city trains on 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in), narrow
gauge, lines. Major cities are covered by convenient train services of
every one hour or more frequent. In addition to the JR Group, Japan
has several major regional carriers such as the Kintetsu and Nagoya
Kowloon Through Train, hauled by a SS8 electric locomotive,
Tai Po Market Station
Tai Po Market Station in Hong Kong
Rail transport in Hong Kong
Rail services that connect the towns in the
New Territories with the
city centres of
Kowloon and Hong Kong are provided by the East Rail
West Rail Line
West Rail Line and Tung Chung Line.
Inter-city railway services crossing the Hong Kong-China border (often
known as through trains) are jointly operated by Hong Kong's MTR
Corporation Limited and the Ministry of Railways of the People's
Republic of China. Currently,
Hung Hom Station
Hung Hom Station is the only station in
the territory where passengers can catch these cross-border trains.
Passengers are required to go through immigration and custom
inspections of Hong Kong before boarding a cross-border train or
alighting from such a train. There are currently four cross-border
Between Hong Kong and
Kowloon Through Train)
Between Hong Kong and
Kowloon Through Train)
Between Hong Kong and
Kowloon Through Train)
Between Hong Kong and
Kowloon Through Train)
A new border-crossing service, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong
Express Rail Link, has been approved and has been granted HKD 6.6
billion in funding by the Legislative Council's Finance Committee. The
line is now under construction. A new station, West
will be built in Hong Kong to be served by this new railway.
Taiwan High Speed Rail
Taiwan High Speed Rail and Taiwan Railway Administration
Taiwan Island's coastline is connected by frequent inter-city train
services by Taiwan Railway Administration. Taiwan High Speed Rail,
opened in 2007, covers the most populated west-coast corridor.
there are Chu-kuang express (莒光號) and Tze-chiang limited express
See also: Korea Train Express
Almost every major town and city in South Korea is linked by railway,
run by Korail.
ITX-Saemaeul is operated in most Main railway lines
like Japanese limited express or German Intercity. Also, Mugunghwa-ho
is the most common and most popular type of intercity rail travel like
German Regional-Express. In addition,
Busan are linked by a
high-speed train line known as KTX, which was built using French TGV
See also: Bangladesh Railway
Rajdhani Express train, one of the fastest Inter-city services in
Indian inter-city trains are run by Indian Railways. With
63,000 km (39,146 mi) of rail routes and 6,800 stations, the
railway network in India is the third-largest in the world (after
Russia and China) and the largest in the world in terms of passenger
kilometres. Shatabdi Express, Jan Shatabdi Express, Rajdhani Express
Duronto Express are the fastest Inter-city services in India of
which the Bhopal
Shatabdi Express is the fastest train of
India. All long-distance journeys generally require a
reservation and unreserved travel is allowed in some trains.
See also: Pakistan Railways
See also: Sri Lanka Railways
See also: Myanmar Railways
There is only one train service in Cambodia, from
Phnom Penh to
Sihanoukville, stopping at Doun Kaev (Takeo) and Kampot.
Rail transport in Indonesia
PT Kereta Api
PT Kereta Api operates inter-city services in many
cities, especially in Java. Inter-city serves some of Indonesia's
major cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Surakarta,
Surabaya, Medan, Padang, and Palembang. In
Jakarta metropolitan area
KRL Jabotabek operates the inter-city and commuter.
See also: KTM Intercity, KTM ETS, and MRL East Coast Rail Link
Keretapi Tanah Melayu
Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Malayan Railways) operates loco-hauled express
KTM Intercity along
Peninsular Malaysia and into
Singapore. At the Malaysia–
Thailand border, connections to State
Thailand trains are available.
KTM Intercity trains are
diesel-powered and run on a single-track 1,000 mm
(3 ft 3 3⁄8 in) metre gauge system. The rail
track is gradually being duplicated and electrified. On the completed
Central to Northern section (border), KTM runs the higher-speed
Electric Train Service (ETS).
See also: Philippine National Railways
The Philippines had relaunched their inter-city rail service. It runs
Manila and Bicol Region. The
Philippine National Railways
Philippine National Railways had
their Bicol Express and Mayon Limited as their inter-city rail service
brands. The Bicol Express leaves
Manila and passes through cities of
Manila, Pasay, Muntinlupa. The train also passes the provinces of
Laguna, Quezon, and
Camarines Sur before arrives at Naga City. The
Manila at 06:30pm PST (UTC+8) and arrives at NAGA at
04:30am PST (UTC+8). The return trip leaves NAGA at 06:30pm PST
(UTC+8) and arrives at MANILA at 04:30am PST (UTC+8). The trip clocks
10 hours or 600 minutes. The trip is designated 611 for southbound and
612 for northbound. Also, The Mayon Limited leaves
08:30pm PST (UTC+8) and arrives at Ligao at 07:00am PST (UTC+8). The
return trip leaves Ligao at 07:15pm PST (UTC+8) and arrives at Manila
at 05:30am PST (UTC+8). The southbound train operates as trip number
713 (de luxe) or 815 (ordinary) and the northbound train operates as
trip number 714 (de luxe) or 816 (ordinary). The trip clocks 10 and a
half hours, ordinary and deluxe.
See also: State Railway of Thailand
Trains in Vietnam, run by
Vietnam Railways, link Hanoi, Hué, Da Nang,
Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City.
See also: Islamic Republic of Iran Railways
Israel Railways operates inter-city services between all the 4 major
metropolitan areas of Israel; Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva and
Haifa. However, due to the small geography of Israel, most of the
railway services have a more suburban service pattern, with many short
stops at stations between the major city centres.
Western and Central Europe
High-speed rail in Europe, InterCity, EuroCity, and
Inter-city rail in the United Kingdom
In Europe, many long-distance inter-city trains are operated under the
InterCity (Intercity, or often simply IC) brand.
initially, "Inter-City" with a hyphen) was first conceived as a brand
British Rail for the launch in 1966 of its electrification of
the major part of the West Coast Main Line, notably new express
services between London and the major cities of Manchester, Birmingham
and Liverpool. It later became the name of one of British Rail's new
business sectors in the 1980s and was used to describe the whole
network of main-line passenger routes in Great Britain, but it went
out of official use following privatisation.
InterCity had become an
iconic brand in the 1970s mostly because of the introduction of the
British Rail Class 43 (HST).
The principal network of international express trains in continental
Europe is called EuroCity, to distinguish it from the national
InterCity networks and to indicate its better support for
international journeys even though some IC trains also cross borders.
High-speed railways have relatively few stops. The German high-speed
train service was named
InterCityExpress indicating its evolution from
InterCity trains. Other high-speed lines include the TGV
Treno Alta Velocità
Treno Alta Velocità (Italy),
Kingdom–France and Belgium),
and France) and
In Great Britain, the inter-city rail links are now operated by a
number of private companies as well as Continental State owned
railways such as Virgin Trains,
Virgin Trains East Coast, East
Midlands Trains, CrossCountry, and First Great Western. Ireland's
inter-city rail network is maintained by
Iarnród Éireann and
Northern Ireland's is run by
Northern Ireland Railways.
Rail transport in Poland
Polish State Railways
Polish State Railways (PKP), a state-owned corporate group, is the
main provider of railway services. The PKP group holds an almost
unrivaled monopoly over rail services in Poland as it is both
supported and partly funded by the national government.
As of 2008, foreign services operate on the Polish Railways network.
EuroCity and EuroNight trains operating between Western
and Eastern European destinations, most notably the EN Jan Kiepura
direct sleeping cars which operate between Russia and Amsterdam, Basel
and Munich via Warsaw, Poznań and Germany. These trains generally
consist of varied coaches from different rail operators that are added
to the train as it passes through their area of operation.
Sibirjak, passenger train from Berlin to Novosibirsk
Russia has dense network of long-distance railways all over its vast
territory, the longest and most famous being the Trans-Siberian
Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok. Long distance train of more than
1,000 or 2,000 km (621 or 1,243 mi) is common and they keep
on running two or three days. Speed is relatively low with 60 or
70 km/h (37 or 43 mph) average.
See also: Higher-speed rail
Canadian inter-city trains are mostly run by Via Rail, and connect
many but not all major cities.
Ontario Northland Railway
Ontario Northland Railway operates
passenger service between Cochrane and
Moosonee in Northern Ontario.
International trains, run jointly by
Amtrak and Via Rail, connect New
York with Toronto and Montreal.
Amtrak operates the
service linking Vancouver and Seattle. The White Pass and Yukon Route
Alaska with the Yukon.
Tourist oriented inter-city service includes the Royal Canadian
Pacific and Rocky Mountaineer.
The Mexican federal government discontinued almost all scheduled
inter-city passenger trains in January 2000.
Ferromex operates trains
on three routes: Chihuahua to Los Mochis,
Torreon to Felipe Pescador,
and Guadalajara to Amatitan. The President Enrique Peña Nieto has
proposed intercity trains, the proposed projects are Mexico
City-Toluca (construction began July 7, 2014), the Peninsular train
(Yucatán-Mayan Riviera), Mexico-Querétaro high speed train (with
future expansion to Guadalajara) and Puebla-Tlaxcala-Mexico City.
Pacific Surfliner in the south
California west coast route
A Via train at
London, Ontario station
High-speed rail in the United States
There was a dense system of inter-city railways in the United States
in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, but after the decline of
passenger railroad in North America in the 1960s, the inter-city lines
decreased greatly. Today the system is far less dense and is operated
by the government-owned
Amtrak company, with the exception of Alaska,
which uses the
Alaska Railroad (which is also government-owned). The
most heavily used routes with the greatest rider-ship and schedule
frequencies are in the Northeastern United States, on Amtrak's
Northeast Corridor. About one in every three users of mass transit in
the United States and two-thirds of the nation's rail riders live in
New York City. The two busiest passenger rail stations in the United
States are Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, both in New York
City. Passenger rail outside the Northeast, Northwest,
Chicago is infrequent and rarely used relative to networks in Europe
Multiple new rail corridors have been identified for private
development throughout the country. These include the Eastern Flyer
route in Oklahoma, the
All Aboard Florida
All Aboard Florida route between Miami and
Orlando, and a high-speed line in Texas.
NSW TrainLink H set
NSW TrainLink H set at Sydney's Central station
In Australia the national interstate network operated by Great
Southern Rail connects all mainland Australian capital cities except
Canberra and Brisbane. Intrastate inter-city trains that traverse
shorter distances are operated by V/Line, NSW TrainLink, Queensland
Rail and Transwa. Many of Australia's inter-city trains are not true
inter-city services, given their leisurely average speed and primary
role to transport people between regional areas and the nearest
capital city or for the tourist market. As a result, Australian
networks refer to these services as "country" trains. The fastest
intercity trains in regular service are the
Queensland Rail Tilt
NSW TrainLink XPT,
V/Line VLocity and
class, all of which have a top service speed of 160 km/h.
In Australia, electrified interurban commuter railway systems are used
to connect urban areas separated by long distances and use heavy-rail
In New South Wales,
NSW TrainLink operates an extensive interurban
network of four main routes from Sydney. These run to Newcastle and
the Central Coast, the Blue Mountains, the Southern Highlands and the
NSW TrainLink brand its interurban commuter services as
In Brisbane, QR's City network operates a smaller interurban commuter
network of three lines which connect
Brisbane to the Gold Coast in the
south, the Sunshine Coast in the north and Rosewood in the west.
Perth an electric interurban rail line running down the middle of
Kwinana Freeway to serve
Mandurah opened on December 23, 2007.
On these systems, services either run as limited-stop expresses in the
suburban area (e.g. Blue Mountains services) or as shuttles
terminating where the suburban lines end (e.g. Rosewood services).
A large-scale non-electric project of four regional lines (Regional
Fast Rail) is operational in Victoria. Current interurban and
intercity journeys outside the suburban area are often
locomotive-hauled (particularly for longer-distance services), due to
Victoria's lack of electrification outside of Melbourne.
In New Zealand there are currently three long-distance passenger
services classed as inter-city: the Coastal Pacific, the Northern
Explorer and the TranzAlpine. Their slow average speed is limited by
Cape gauge and the rugged country traversed, particularly
in the middle of the North Island, where the North Island Main Trunk
has many sharp curves and steep gradients.
Other current non-commuter passenger services are long-distance
commuter or scenic services: the Capital Connection, Seasider, and the
A network of regional and long-distance rail passenger services up
till the mid-twentieth century has largely been replaced by air or bus
A few countries of South America were once interconnected by
international train services, today they are almost non-existent. Most
of governments in the continent have favoured roads and automobile
transportation since mid-20th century.
Argentina has inter-city services on a number of routes, run by
Ferrobaires, Ferrocentral, and Trenes Especiales Argentinos. Trains in
Argentina are experiencing a revival, since the government intends to
re-establish long-distance passenger trains between major cities.
Inter-city train services in
Bolivia are operated by two train
companies: Eastern and Western. The western network runs daily trains
from Oruro to Tupiza, with both espresso (fast) and WaraWara (slow)
trains. The eastern rail hub is Santa Cruz de la Sierra, with
Puerto Suárez and Villamontes, and international lines
to Brazil and Argentina.
Brazilian inter-city services operate on two routes, one from Vitória
Belo Horizonte and another from Carajás to São Luís.
TerraSur on Estación Chillán. This is Chile's fastest Inter-city
rail service, reaching 160 kmh on it's fastest section of it's route
Chile has inter-city services connecting Santiago to Chillán
(occasionally to Temuco), run by Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del
Estado. The fastest in
Chile (and South America) is TerraSur, reaching
Longest train journeys
Lists of named passenger trains
Railway electrification systems
Railway stations in the Netherlands#Categories
Railway stations in the Netherlands#Categories (spelling: "intercity")
^ "Bicol Express - Philippine National Railways". Pnr.gov.ph.
^ "Mayon Limited - Philippine National Railways". Pnr.gov.ph. Archived
from the original on 2012-03-17. Retrieved 2012-10-04.
Overseas Timetable: Independent Traveller's Edition, Winter 2008/9;
Thomas Cook Publishing
European Rail Timetable: Independent Traveller's Edition, Winter
2008/9; Thomas Cook Publishing
The Man in Seat 61 Information on train travel worldwide
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