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Old September 27th, 2013, 11:51 PM   #1
micro
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MISC | Express/local metros of the world

There has been a discussion a long time ago but it ended in fruitless arguments over details of commuter rails in Barcelona and Paris.
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...express+subway

I have nevertheless tried to extract the hard facts from that old thread (below) and would like to ask you guys to check them for correctness.

However, I would like to skip the "skip-stop" service thing this time as it led to nothing.

I think we should think of express services as a matter of "hardware" -- express has to have additional rails.

Please also check if my definition can be improved.


My definition of an express metro:

1. An express service is a metro or commuter rail that supplements a local metro, needing less time between the same stops.
2. There has to be specific rail setup for the express to pass the local: three or four tracks sharing the same corridor, or separate tunnels, or at least sections of separate rails.
3. If local and express have separate tunnels, the express, to be counted as such, should run roughly parallel with the local and should not have other stops in between than the local.


Express/local services in the world:


Boston: metro shares corridors with commuter/mainline rail with the latter running as "express" for the more "local" subway.

Chicago: red and purple line is set up like NYC's Express and local trains. There are 4 tracks along the corridor between Howard and Belmont. The purple line used the outer tracks as an express run skipping 12 stations while the red line used the inner tracks for all local stops.

Hong Kong: Airport Express Line skips some stops of the Tung Chung Line.

Kuala Lumpur: KLIA*express: KL Sentral - KLIAKLIA transit (commuter): KL Sentral - Bandar Tasik Selatan - Putrajaya - Salak Selatan - KLIA

Kyoto: interoperated commuter lines serve as express.

London: Metropolitan Line skips stations on Jubilee Line, Piccadilly Line skips stations on District Line,*Express*on 4-track section between Wembley Park and Watford.

Los Angeles: The Gold line in LA (downtown to Pasadena) recently added*Express*service, whihc skips most of the stops.

Nagoya: interoperated commuter lines serve as express.

New York: Many lines and stations have both express and local service. These lines have three or four tracks: normally, the outer two are used for local trains, and the inner one or two are used for express trains. Stations served by express trains are typically major transfer points or destinations. The BMT Jamaica Line uses skip-stop service on portions, in which two services operate over the line during rush hours, and minor stations are only served by one of the two. Details are indicated in the official MTA map.

Osaka: interoperated commuter lines serve as express.

Philadelphia: Broad Street Line Express. Skip-stops on the Market-Frankford line as well.

São Paulo: has an*express*line, called 6E.

Seoul: line 9 has local and express service. There are 3 tracks to make the express line a real 'express'.

Tokyo: Shinjuku Line, Tozai Line, and Asakusa Line have express services.

Yokohama: interoperated commuter lines serve as express.

Last edited by micro; September 28th, 2013 at 07:33 PM.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 01:20 AM   #2
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Pretty much a pointless post, because every country has a different definition (same too with light rail) so not sure how you are going to get a definition. This is probably hence why there were arguments before.

So maybe just accept that there is no clear definition, and besides how does a definition change anything?
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Old September 28th, 2013, 07:28 AM   #3
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The point is to create a definition that everybody can agree to. When this is done, the subject can be categorized easily without further discussions.

I think this process is quite common in scientific work...
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Old September 28th, 2013, 08:53 AM   #4
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I am of the opinion that "express service" should be defined from the viewpoint of providing a service to passengers (or customers in for-profit operations). This customer-side definition is thus: any service that skips stops is an "express"- the hardware or infrastructure involved is irrelevant (in fact, you can run express services in a conventional two track tunnel as long as the pathings in the schedule diagram are there). The customer doesn't care if there is additional infrastructure that makes possible the service- just that it gets them to their destination faster than an all-stops local.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 11:49 AM   #5
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Without special infrastructure, there can only be small-scale express service. Remember, metros have high frequency of ten minutes or less (most have 5 minutes or less). Such an express can save a maximum of 3 or 8 minutes compared to the local.

Counting express services without infrastructure would lead to discussions as in the old thread I've linked above, and every line that skips just one stop once a day would have to be called an express, which would make the list very long. It is also not passenger-friendly when trains rush by a platform with waiting passengers on it.

So in my opinion we should stick to the hardware definition. There should at least be a third track in stations where the express can pass the local.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 01:43 PM   #6
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Beijing and Seoul airport lines are fast with just few stops but they don't run paralell to regular metro lines. If you still count them, then you can add the Delhi Airport line too.
Howeven in Seoul the line 9 has local and express service. There are 3 tracks to make the express line a real 'express'.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 02:13 PM   #7
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Well, I have removed Beijing and Seoul airport lines and added Seoul line 9 in the first post.

Edit: also detailed Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Last edited by micro; September 28th, 2013 at 02:37 PM.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 04:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Chicago: skip-stop service on the Red/Purple Lines.
Chicago's red and purple line is set up like NYC's Express and local trains. There are 4 tracks along the corridor between Howard and Belmont. The purple line used the outer tracks as an express run skipping 12 stations while the red line used the inner tracks for all local stops.

Interestingly, just south of Howard, the there is a short corridor where the inner red line tracks run express and the outer purple (and now brown line on the same tracks) stop at the local stops.

Philadelphia's Market-Frankford Line is the only subway system I have ridden with the skip-stop method using a two-track line.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 04:43 PM   #9
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http://youtu.be/Jxyvw7zknso?t=2m30s



This shows clearly the four track express/local lines between Howard and Belmont in Chicago. Start the video at 2:30.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 06:58 PM   #10
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Thanks, you're right with Chicago, I've copied that into the first post.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 07:21 PM   #11
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Amsterdam: between Amstel and Holendrecht stations, NS trains run 'express' and skip most 'local' stations served by metro trains. The same could be said for the stretch between Sloterdijk and Lelylaan stations.

However, I find this comparison troubling as either mode serves a different target group. I believe that a 'real' definition of local/express systems should take a couple of questions into consideration:

Are local and express tracks part of the same overall system (i.e. do both systems fall under the same tariff system)?
Are frequencies on both tracks the same/synchronized?
Are frequencies on both tracks 'metro like'?
Can you make an easy (preferably cross-platform) transfer between local and express trains?
Can both trains be used more or less interchangeably between stations served by both?
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Old September 28th, 2013, 07:37 PM   #12
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Good idea, i have changed definition #1 to metros or commuter rails that supplement metros.

So Amsterdam wouldn't count because it's national rail and not commuter rail?
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Old September 28th, 2013, 08:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micro View Post
Good idea, i have changed definition #1 to metros or commuter rails that supplement metros.

So Amsterdam wouldn't count because it's national rail and not commuter rail?
The national rail service in The Netherlands also functions as commuter rail (distances are short in a small country).

But I wouldn't count Amsterdam because the metro and train at those areas defined by Alargule are indeed not part of the same system or fare structure.
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Old September 29th, 2013, 02:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micro View Post
The point is to create a definition that everybody can agree to. When this is done, the subject can be categorized easily without further discussions.

I think this process is quite common in scientific work...
Yeah I got that. But as mentioned pointless because every country will have a different perspective, so you will not get agreance in any way shape or form, just lots of differing opinion and fruitless arguments.

As for this being common in scientific work, scientific work is based on things that can be measured or proved, what you are after is terminology and semantics which you won't get because they are based on opinion.
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Old September 29th, 2013, 12:14 PM   #15
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I'm not entirely convinced of the feasibility of a single definition that's applicable to all systems worldwide, existing and future ones. Especially since a definition usually comes up 'after the fact' and tries to bind together different systems that weren't really designed with the same goals in mind in the first place.

One way 'around' this would be to distinguish between different 'design paradigms' for local/express services, which would do a better job of describing the idiosyncrasies of each system or set of systems. But even within the same system, different design paradigms can be found. New York is a great example. There are three paradigms, which I will call the 'IRT paradigm', the 'IND paradigm', after the companies who built and ran the lines where these paradigms were applied, and the 'rush hour track paradigm'.

The IRT paradigm is a simple one, really: build one four track trunk line with local and express trains on their own tracks, where the local trains make all stops and the express trains only stop at the most important stations, providing cross-platform connections between local and express trains. The setup is as follows (left local, right express; X = stops; _ = skips):

XX
X_
X_
XX
X_
X_
X_
---
XX
X_
X_
XX
X_
X_
XX

The idea is that a passenger boarding a local train would travel to the first express station, transfer to the express train waiting at the other end of the platform, travel a couple of express stations down into the central business district (delimited by the ---) and - if necessary - change for another local train to reach her final destination. Short headways make it possible to 'catch up' on local trains along the line. Problem with this setup was/is the high transfer volume at combined local/express stations, jam packed express trains and almost empty local trains.

That's why the IND applied an altogether different paradigm along the lines of 'keep them on their own trains as long as possible'. The setup of this paradigm (left express, right local):

X
X
X
X
XX
_X
_X
_X
_X
---
XX
XX
XX
_X
XX

Here, express trains serve the two-track section in the outer areas of the city (see the Concourse/Central Park West line in the Bronx and Manhattan, for example). Local trains only start to run on the four track section that's closer to the city center, all these stops are skipped by express trains (except for the terminal station of the local). Almost all local stations in the central business district (delimited by the ---) are also served by express trains, thus eliminating the need for additional transfer between local and express trains.

Finally, the 'rush hour track paradigm'. This name applies to what it was intended for: there are many three-track sections within the NYC subway system, especially in the Bronx and Queens, mainly built by the IRT. Here, the center track is used for express service during rush hours, running only in the rush hour direction (to Manhattan AM, from Manhattan PM). You might say that this comes closest to a 'true' definition of 'express service', as express trains on these center tracks run parallel to local tracks all along the way, providing the riders boarding a train at a station served by both local and express train an 'express option' to/from Manhattan. The 7 line is a great example: both local 7 and express <7> (diamond 7) trains run parallel along the entire route and serve all stations (all three of them...) in Manhattan. Express 7 trains make fewer stops and thus are faster (express) than their local counterparts.
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Last edited by Alargule; September 29th, 2013 at 12:20 PM.
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Old September 29th, 2013, 12:52 PM   #16
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As for Amsterdam: no, I wouldn't say that the parallel stretch of NS and metro tracks could be considered a local/express system, as their parallel alignment has more to do with a planning coincidence (or convenience if you will) than with the idea of developing a local/express system. Metro planners in the late '60's decided to align the metro line to Bijlmer with the already existing NS tracks to Utrecht and beyond.

There were only two NS stations planned, both providing cross-platform transfers between NS trains and metro trains, but this had to do with convenience and - again - coincidence: the Amstel station already had room for four tracks; the middle two tracks (in use by the metro today) were formerly used by NS trains. In the mean time, two additional parallel NS stations have opened: Duivendrecht (also providing cross platform interchange) and Holendrecht. Salient detail: the NS tracks from Bijlmer station to the south were quadrupled in 2007 to allow for NS intercity services to bypass the 'local' or 'stoptrein' NS trains. Holendrecht station is only served by stoptrein-trains and Bijlmer is served by both, although intercity trains going to/coming from Amsterdam's central station skip this station (yes, it's a bit of a mess).

The New York and Amsterdam cases go to show that any definition of local/express systems that does not take into account the initial design setup and the 'interusability' of both local and express trains (the 'user perspective', in short) falls short of a comprehensive definition. In other words: defining local/express systems or lines only by their hardware setup misses part of the broader story.

'Express' and 'Local' imply a choice: you can travel to the same destination, either 'express' (usually the fastest option) or 'local'. Of course, nobody in their right mind would use the slower local train if the express train were to arrive there first. So both train types target different groups. However, when viewed from a broader network perspective, that same passenger can use both train types to get to her destination. Most - if not all - local/express systems are designed and operated in that way: fast, limited-stop express trains usually travelling long distances and only stopping at the most important or 'hub' stations and slower, local services making more or all stops - and usually travelling for shorter distances - to serve all stations in between. One travel scheme could involve multiple transfers between local, express and again local trains to get from A to B (as is the case with the 'IRT paradigm' of the NYC Subway system).

Yes, both express and local trains should at least share two or more of the same stations, and preferably, they do so by sharing the same alignment (but that doesn't have to be a requirement). It's not even necessary to have a four-track setup: many Japanese systems only use two tracks and the same goes for many Dutch railway lines used by both intercity and stoptrein services.
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Old September 29th, 2013, 01:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
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So Amsterdam wouldn't count because it's national rail and not commuter rail?
What about RER line C and Passante in Milano? Some lines have almost non-stop-service in central-area, maybe even switching on long-distance tracks, going back on local tracks and service far away from the city. Interesting operation, it is still one system with high frequency indeed.
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Old September 29th, 2013, 08:48 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alargule View Post
Here, express trains serve the two-track section in the outer areas of the city (see the Concourse/Central Park West line in the Bronx and Manhattan, for example). Local trains only start to run on the four track section that's closer to the city center, all these stops are skipped by express trains (except for the terminal station of the local). Almost all local stations in the central business district (delimited by the ---) are also served by express trains, thus eliminating the need for additional transfer between local and express trains.
That sounds pretty similar to how London handles express service in corridors like Metropolitan and Jubilee and Piccadilly and District only it treats the services as separate lines but it still amounts to the longer line skipping most of the inner city stations and having them served by the shorter, more "local" line.

Either way, this type of set up is the best way to handle express service imo.
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Old October 1st, 2013, 10:38 AM   #19
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Does this count ?

Paris
  • Châtelet-les-Halles - Gare de Lyon
Local: Metro line 1 (5 stations)
Express: Metro line 14, RER A, RER D (three different tunnels for each line)


  • Charles de Gaulle Etoile - La Defense
Local; Metro line 1 (7 stations)
Express: RER A
  • Gare de Lyon - Nation
Local: Metro line 1 (3 stations)
Express: RER A
  • Châtelet-les-Halles - Gare du Nord
Local: metro line 4 (7 or 8 stations, line 4 has two stations in Châtelet-les-Halles)
Express: RER B/D (use the same tracks in tunnel)
  • Châtelet-les-Halles - Saint Michel
Local: metro line 4 (3 or 4 stations)
Express: RER B
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Old October 1st, 2013, 08:38 PM   #20
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Line 14 was thought as a city center express line from the beginning i guess, so it has to count, right?
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