Rail System Maps
drew some of these maps for Jim Middleton’s lightrail.com website, because I noticed
that he didn't have maps for a handful of systems. Now I can't seem to
stop drawing the damn things! It's interesting to compare and contrast
the different systems. These maps are inspired by the design of the
maps on Robert Schwandl’s wonderful UrbanRail.Net site page; in fact, many of
these maps have also made their way over there.
these are NOT official maps. I make no claims or guarantees as to their
accuracy. These maps are solely for
informational use and are not intended to be used for navigational
purposes. If you see anything on any of these maps that
needs to be corrected or updated, let me know.
Baltimore: This light rail system began
operation in 1992; the Maryland Transit Authority is currently working
on a project to double-track most of the system. Baltimore also
features a heavy rail line which is described in more detail on UrbanRail.Net.
Calgary: Alberta boasts two light rail
networks. This system began operation in 1981. A light rail line just
up the road in Edmonton began operating three years
Charlotte: Work was scheduled to begin on
this alignment later this year, with operation beginning in 2006. It
may be delayed, however. In the meantime, a heritage trolley has begun
running along part of the alignment.
Cleveland: Cleveland was one of a handful
of North American cities that did not completely abandon its
turn-of-the-century streetcar network. The 1920s-era Shaker Heights
streetcar lines were upgraded and integrated into a system that also
has a heavy rail component.
system began operation in 1996 and currently consists of 44 miles, not
including the privately-operated McKinney Avenue Trolley. The system
connects to the Trinity Railway Express, a commuter rail running
between downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth.
Denver: This system began operation in
1994. The “T-Rex” southeast extension opens in 2006.
Houston: This 7.5-mile line began
operation January 1, 2004, and expansions are currently in the planning
stages. For the most part, the line has been well-received by those who
have ridden it. However, it's also been plagued by collisions with
(which are usually result of drivers running red lights or making
illegal left turns in front of the train).
Memphis: An extension to Memphis's
heritage trolley system was recently completed.
Hiawatha light rail line began operation last summer, making
Minneapolis one of the newest members of the "light rail club."
Orleans: New Orleans, like Cleveland, never completely
abandoned its streetcar network, and the St. Charles streetcar is now a
registered National Landmark. A new streetcar line along Canal Street
began operation in in spring 2004. The destruction wrought by Hurricane
Katrina has severely limited streetcar operations, however.
Ottawa: The O-Train is a
diesel-powered light rail system oprtating along a freight railroad
Phoenix: Yet another sprawling,
low-density western city is giving light rail a try. This 20-mile-long
line begins operation in 2008.
Pittsburgh: Another on the list of cities
that never completely abandoned its original streetcar network. The
Overbrook Line, taken out of service in 1999 for refurbishment, as put
back into revenue service in early June 2004.
Portland: MAX began operation in 1986
and has grown both in size and ridership. The system now handles almost
80 thousand boardings every day. The latest addition to the network,
the “Interstate MAX” Yellow Line, began service in
Sacramento: Light rail service in
California's capital began in 1987 and has recently been expanded.
Lake City: TRAX has been operational since 1999. A short
extension of the system to the University of Utah was completed in 2003.
Diego: The San Diego Trolley began initial service in
1981, making it the first modern light rail system in the United
States. The San Diego Trolley currently carries close to 78 thousand
passenger trips per day.
Jose: The dotcom bust of 2000 has had a profoundly
negative effect on Silicon Valley's economy, and this system, which
opened in 1987, has suffered steep losses in ridership and revenue. The
VTA is in a tight budgetary situation, even as it works to complete
extensions to the current network. San Jose is also served by the ACE
and CalTrain commuter rail networks, but both of those systems are
losing ridership as well.
Seattle: Work is underway on a light
rail link from downtown to Sea-Tac Airport. An extension to the north
is being planned.
Look here for a complete list of North
American light rail systems and related data, which is continually
updated. Links to respective transit agencies can be found here as
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