Inter-city rail

Inter-city rail

Inter-city rail services are express train passenger services which cover longer distances than commuter trains.


Inter-city services are reasonably well developed in North Africa, although sometimes prone to delay or interrupted by civil disturbances. Moroccan Railways and Egyptian National Railways run fast, air-conditioned trains linking the major cities in these countries. Algeria is served by the SNTF.

South Africa has an extensive inter-city network run by Shosholoza Meyl, a division of Spoornet. The most famous inter-city services are the luxury Blue Train between Pretoria and Cape Town, the Trans-Oranje between Cape Town and Durban, and the Trans-Natal Express between Durban and Johannesburg.

In West-Africa we find services over the Dakar-Niger Railway, connecting for example Mali to Senegal.


The inter-city trains run by China Railways link almost every town and city in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Hong Kong. The Beijing-Shanghai Express Railway was scheduled for completion before the 2008 Summer Olympics, but is currently delayed due to controversy.

Indian inter-city trains are run by Indian Railways. With 63,000 km of rail routes and 6,800 stations, the railway network in India is the third biggest in the world (after Russia and China) and the biggest in the world in terms of passenger kilometres. All long-distance journeys require a reservation.

Trains in Vietnam, run by Vietnam Railways, link Hanoi, Hué, Danang, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City. There is only one train service in Cambodia, from Battambang to Phnom Penh, running once a week.

All major towns and cities in South Korea are linked by railway, run by Korean National Railroad. In addition, Seoul and Pusan are linked by a high-speed train line known as KTX, which was built using French TGV technology.

Japan has six main regional passenger railway companies, known collectively as Japan Railways Group or simply as JR. Four JR companies operate the "bullet trains" on the Shinkansen lines that link all the larger cities, including Niigata, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka. Many other cities are covered by a network of JR's "limited express" inter-city trains on narrow gauge lines. In addition to the JR Group, Japan has several major regional carriers such as the Kintetsu and Nagoya Railroads.

Other Asian railway networks running inter-city services:
*Pakistan Railways
*Sri Lanka Government Railway
*Bangladesh Railway
*Myanmar Railway
*State Railway of Thailand
*Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Malaysia), with its KTM Intercity services.
*PT Kereta Api Indonesia


In Australia, the national interstate network operated by Great Southern Railway connects all mainland Australian capital cities except Canberra and Brisbane. Intrastate inter-city trains that traverse shorter distances are operated by V/Line, CountryLink, 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. Australians usually fly between capital cities, given the massive distance involved in travel in Australia and the lack of dedication to providing quality rail services by both the Commonwealth and State governments. The fastest intercity trains in regular service are the tilting trains used by Queensland Rail, which have a top speed of 160 km/h and an average of only 80 km/h.

In Australia, electrified interurban commuter railway systems are used to connect urban areas separated by long distances and use heavy rail equipment:

*In Sydney CityRail 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 South Coast. CityRail has rebranded its interurban commuter services as "intercity".

*In Brisbane Citytrain 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.

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).

*In Perth a new electric interurban rail line running down the middle of the Kwinana Freeway to serve Mandurah opened on December 23,2007.

A large scale non-electric project of four regional lines (Regional Fast Rail) is also planned for Victoria. Current interurban and intercity journeys outside the suburban area are usually locomotive-hauled, due to Victoria's lack of electrification outside of Melbourne.


In Europe, many long-distance inter-urban trains are operated under the InterCity (Intercity, or often simply IC) brand. The term "InterCity" originated with British Rail's InterCity sector, but it went out of official use in the UK following privatisation. The UK service became very popular in Britain in the 1970s thanks in part to an advertising campaign fronted by Jimmy Savile.

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 particularly few stops. The German high-speed train service was named InterCityExpress indicating its evolution from older InterCity trains. Other high-speed lines include the TGV (France), AVE (Spain) and Treno Alta Velocità (Italy).

In Great Britain, the inter-city rail links are now operated by a number of private companies such as Virgin Trains and First Great Western. In Ireland, the inter-city rail network is maintained by Iarnród Éireann and Northern Ireland Railways.

North America

In the United States, the inter-city trains are operated by Amtrak over a network that is far less dense than the European one. The most heavily used routes with the greatest ridership 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 of the Northeast, California, and Chicago is infrequent and rarely used relative to networks in Europe and Japan.

Canadian inter-city trains are run by VIA Rail, and connect most of the major cities. International trains, run jointly by Amtrak and VIA Rail, connect New York with Toronto and Montreal, and Seattle with Vancouver.

Rail service in Alaska is not provided by Amtrak, instead, the Alaska Railroad operates passenger service within the state of Alaska.

The Mexican federal government discontinued almost all scheduled inter-city passenger trains in January 2000. Ferromex operates trains on two routes: Chihuahua to Los Mochis, and Guadalajara to Amatitan.

outh America

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. High-speed rail is in consideration for the Buenos Aires - Rosario stretch with links to Córdoba. See: Buenos Aires-Rosario-Córdoba high-speed railway

Brazilian inter-city services operate on one route, from Vitória to Belo Horizonte and Carajás to São Luis.

Chile has inter-city services connecting Santiago to Concepción and Temuco, run by Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado.

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 connections to Puerto Suarez and Villamontes, and international lines to Brazil and Argentina.

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.

ee also

*PKP Intercity
*Railway electrification systems
*Railway stations in the Netherlands#Categories (spelling: "intercity")
*Terminal station

External links

* [ The Man in Seat 61] Information on train travel worldwide

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