Metroliner (Amtrak)

Metroliner (Amtrak)
Budd Pennsylvania Railroad
Metroliner multiple-unit car circa 1968
before acceptance. All Metroliners, including this
car, entered revenue service wearing Penn
Central identification.
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Discontinued
Locale Northeast Corridor
First service 1969
Last service 2006
Successor Acela Express
Former operator(s) Penn Central (1969-1971)
Amtrak (1971-2006)
Start New York City
End Washington, DC
Distance travelled 226 miles (364 km)
Rolling stock
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner(s) PC, Amtrak
Route map
Unknown BSicon "exKBHFa"
0 New York
Unknown BSicon "exGRENZE"
New York/New Jersey border
Unknown BSicon "exTUNNEL1"
North River Tunnels
Unknown BSicon "exHST"
10 mi (16 km) Newark
Unknown BSicon "exHST"
58 mi (93 km) Trenton
Unknown BSicon "exGRENZE"
New Jersey/Pennsylvania border
Unknown BSicon "exHST"
91 mi (146 km) Philadelphia
Unknown BSicon "exGRENZE"
Pennsylvania/Delaware border
Unknown BSicon "exHST"
116 mi (187 km) Wilmington
Unknown BSicon "exGRENZE"
Delaware/Maryland border
Unknown BSicon "exHST"
185 mi (298 km) Baltimore
Unknown BSicon "exHST"
196 mi (315 km) BWI Airport
Unknown BSicon "exGRENZE"
Maryland/District of Columbia border
Unknown BSicon "exKBHFe"
225 mi (362 km) Washington

The Metroliner was a premium express train service between Washington, D.C., and New York City in the United States from 1969 to 2006.[1][2] It was first operated by Penn Central Transportation, successor to the Pennsylvania Railroad, and later by Amtrak.

Originally operated with self-powered electric multiple unit cars, which were later replaced with locomotive-hauled trainsets, the train offered reserved business-class and first-class seating. A trip between New York's Pennsylvania Station and Washington, D.C.'s Union Station took approximately 3 hours.

Amtrak replaced Metroliner service with high-speed (150 mph or 240 km/h) Acela Express trainsets. Metroliner service was discontinued on 27 October 2006.[3]


The High Speed Ground Transportation Act of 1965 started a U.S. Government effort to develop a high speed train for Northeast Corridor service. The U.S. Department of Transportation worked with the Pennsylvania Railroad, Budd Company, General Electric and Westinghouse to develop an electric multiple unit, high speed passenger train with initial service target for 1967.[4]

After several setbacks, Metroliner service started on 16 January 1969, operated by Penn Central Transportation, successor to the Pennsylvania Railroad after its merger with the rival New York Central Railroad, using newly-developed Budd Metroliner EMUs. Successful from the beginning, the Metroliner remained under Penn Central operation until the creation of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) in 1971, upon which it was transferred, along with other premium rail services, to the new agency.[4]

In 1981 Amtrak replaced the Budd Metroliner cars, which had developed problems with their DC motors limiting their speed, with conventional locomotive-hauled trains powered by the Swedish-developed AEM-7 locomotives pulling conventional Amfleet I and II coaches, whose design was derived from the first-generation Metroliner design, at speeds up to 125 mph (201 km/h).

Expanded Metroliner service was initiated by Amtrak when problems developed with Acela Express trainset braking systems during 2002 and 2005. As trainsets were repaired, the number of Metroliner service trains declined to a single round trip each weekday and eventually was completely discontinued and the fleet transferred to other routes in the Amtrak system. The current Northeast Regional service is equivalent to the former Metroliner service in speed (at 125 mph or 201 km/h), but not in accommodations as Northeast Regional service does not offer first class accommodations.


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  • Metroliner — /me troh luy neuhr/, Trademark. any of several high speed, reserved seat trains run by Amtrak and serving points between Boston, New York City, and Washington, D.C. [METRO + LINER1] …   Useful english dictionary

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