The Northeast Corridor (NEC) is the busiest passenger rail line in the United States by ridership and service frequency. The route is fully electrified and serves a densely urbanized string of cities from Washington, D.C., in the south through Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Trenton, Newark, New York, New Haven, and Providence to Boston. It also has branches connecting Philadelphia with Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; New Haven with Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts; New York City with Albany, New York, and several other commuter destinations. The busiest passenger rail station in the United States is Pennsylvania Station in New York, the central hub of the Northeast Corridor.
The NEC is immediately identified by the use of overhead wires and high speed rolling stock. Mostly operated and owned by Amtrak, the NEC offers the only true high-speed rail service in the United States, Amtrak's Acela Express, as well as lower-speed conventional pasenger trains. Freight trains also use the tracks. Several commuter rail agencies provide local service along the Northeast Corridor, some electrified and some diesel-powered. These rail networks are MARC in Maryland and Washington, D.C., SEPTA in Pennsylania and Delaware, NJ Transit in New Jersey, Metro-North in New York and Connecticut, Shore Line East in Connecticut, and MBTA in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Interstate 95 closely parallels the Northeast Corridor mainline for its entire length. The mainline can be seen from portions of Interstate 95. Indeed, I-95 so closely parallels the rail line that it even sometimes takes the same curves as the rail line, especially in Connecticut.
Amtrak accounts for about 14% of all intercity trips (including those by automobile) between Washington, D.C., and New York City and about 47% of trips between those cities by rail or air carrier.
The following Amtrak services run along the Northeast Corridor:
Other services using the NEC:
Amtrak's ownership and upkeep of the line has become controversial after several high profile electric power failures in 2006 and other infrastructure problems. Intermittent power outages have caused delays, lasting up to five hours, for Amtrak and state commuter trains. Railroad officials have blamed Amtrak's funding woes for the deterioration of the track and power supply infrastructure, which in places is almost a hundred years old.
In 1968 the PRR merged with its former rival, the New York Central Railroad, to form Penn Central Transportation. The NYNH&H was merged into Penn Central in 1969, bringing the whole Washington-Boston corridor under control of one company. With the 1971 formation of Amtrak, the intercity passenger services were under government control. In 1976 the bankrupt Penn Central was taken over by the government corporation Conrail, and the sections of line that had not already been sold to commuter transportation authorities were sold to Amtrak. The purchase of the Northeast Corridor was controversial at the time. The Department of Transportation initially blocked the transaction and withheld purchase funds for several months for largely political reasons until Amtrak granted it control over reconstruction of the corridor.
Low visibility caused by the air pollution of the steam locomotives used at the time caused an accident killing 17 on January 8, 1902, and the resulting public outcry led to a push for electric operation in Manhattan. In 1905 the NYNH&H announced that it would electrify its main line from New York to Stamford, Connecticut. Along with the construction of the new Grand Central Terminal, opened in 1912, the NYC electrified its lines, beginning on December 11, 1906 with suburban multiple unit service to High Bridge on the Hudson Line. Electric locomotives began serving Grand Central February 13, 1907, and all NYC passenger service into Grand Central was electrified July 1. NYNH&H electrification began July 24 to New Rochelle, August 5 to Port Chester and October 6, 1907 the rest of the way to Stamford. Steam trains last operated into Grand Central on June 30, 1908, after which all NYNH&H passenger trains into Manhattan were electrified. On June 22, 1914 the NYNH&H electrification was extended to New Haven, where it would end for many years.
At the same time, the PRR was building its Pennsylvania Station and electrified approaches, served by the PRR's lines in New Jersey and the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR). LIRR electric service began in 1905 on the Atlantic Branch from downtown Brooklyn past Jamaica, and in June 1910 on the branch to Long Island City, part of the main line to Penn Station. Penn Station opened September 8, 1910 for LIRR trains and November 27 for the PRR, which changed engines and had platforms for transferring at Manhattan Transfer.
On July 29, 1911 the NYNH&H began electric service on its Harlem River Branch, a suburban branch that would become a main line with the completion of the New York Connecting Railroad and its Hell Gate Bridge. The bridge opened on April 1, 1917, but was operated by steam with an engine change at Sunnyside Yard east of Penn Station until 1918.
In 1933, the electrification south of Wilmington stalled due to the Great Depression, but the PRR managed to get a loan from the federal government, and resumed work the next year. The tunnels at Baltimore were rebuilt, and electric revenue service between New York and Washington began February 10, 1935. On April 7 the electrification of all New York-Washington passenger trains was complete, with 639 daily trains, 191 locomotive-hauled and the other 448 multiple unit. New York-Washington electric freight service began May 20 with the electrification of freight lines in New Jersey and Washington. Extensions to Potomac Yard across the Potomac River from Washington, as well as several freight branches along the way, were electrified in 1937 and 1938. The Potomac Yard electrification remained until 1981.
At the same time, rail freight service in New England was declining. The February 26, 1975 Preliminary System Plan for Conrail proposed abandoning all freight on the Shore Line (NEC) between Groton, Connecticut and Hills Grove, Rhode Island. However, on March 14, the U.S. Railway Association announced that it had reevaluated the line segment and would be keeping it in operation.
The State of New York bought and the State of Connecticut leased their sections of the New Haven Line, between Woodlawn, New York and New Haven, Connecticut, from Penn Central on January 1, 1971; the Metropolitan Transportation Authority operated the line. On January 27, 1973 the State of Massachusetts bought the Attleboro/Stoughton Line in Massachusetts for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. The Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 provided for Amtrak to purchase the NEC, and all other NEC trackage passed to Amtrak on April 1, 1976 with the formation of Conrail, with Conrail trackage rights on the full line. Except between New Haven and the Rhode Island/Massachusetts state line, which were sold to the Providence and Worcester Railroad, those rights remained until the 1999 breakup of Conrail, when they were split between the Norfolk Southern Railway to the south and CSX Transportation to the north. Amtrak now operates and maintains the portion in Massachusetts, but the line from New Haven to New Rochelle, New York is operated by the Metro-North Railroad; this has been a problem with establishment of high-speed service.
|MA||228.7||Boston||South Station||AE NR LS||MBTA||MBTA Red Line, commuter rail to Plymouth, Middleborough|
|227.6||Back Bay Station||AE NR LS||MBTA||MBTA Orange Line, commuter rail to Worcester|
|226.5||Ruggles||MBTA||MBTA Orange Line|
|223.7||Forest Hills||MBTA||MBTA Orange Line|
|Route 128||AE NR||MBTA||MBTA commuter rail, park and ride|
|213.9||Canton||Canton Junction||MBTA||MBTA commuter rail to Stoughton|
|190.8||state line Massachusetts/Rhode Island|
|Warwick||T. F. Green Airport||MBTA||not yet open|
|141.1||state line Rhode Island/Connecticut|
|122.9||New London||New London||AE NR||SLE|
|105.1||Old Saybrook||Old Saybrook||NR||SLE|
|72.9||Division Post - Metro-North Railroad/Amtrak|
|72.7||New Haven||State Street Station||MNR||SLE|
|72.3||Union Station||AE NR VT||MNR||SLE||Amtrak to Hartford and Springfield|
|West Haven||West Haven||MNR||not yet open|
|59.0||Stratford||Stratford||MNR||Metro-North to Waterbury|
|rowspan=3|Fairfield||Fairfield Metro Center||MNR||not yet open|
|41.0||South Norwalk||MNR||Metro-North to Danbury|
|33.1||Stamford||Stamford||AE NR VT||MNR||SLE||Metro-North to New Canaan|
|26.1||state line Connecticut/New York|
|16.6||New Rochelle||NR||MNR||Metro-North to Grand Central|
|0.0||New York City||Penn Station||AE CD CL CS KS NR PA PL SM SS VT||LIRR||NJT||NYCT , , , , , , Amtrak trains to Albany, Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, LIRR trains to Long Island|
|01.20||state line New York/New Jersey|
|NJ||05.00||Secaucus||Secaucus Junction||NJT||NJT to Hoboken and northern New Jersey|
|07.00||Secaucus/Harrison||Portal Drawbridge||NJT||Active Moveable Bridge over Hackensack River.|
|07.25||Harrison||Swift||NJT||Junction with NJT Moris & Essex Line to Dover, Hackettstown & Gladstone and Montclair-Boonton Line to Montclair Heights, Dover and Hackettstown.|
|08.60/07.10||Hudson||NJT||Former location of Manhattan Transfer; Current junction between NJT Kearney Connection, AMT NEC NY Connecting RR and AMT NEC Penn Main Line. First Mile Post for NY Connecting RR. Second Mile Post for Penn Main Line.|
|08.50||Hudson Yard||NJT||Amtrak/NJT Yard.|
|08.80||Newark||Dock||Active Moveable Bridge over Passaic River.|
|09.00||Penn Station||AE CD CL CS KS NR PA PL SM SS VT||NJT||Newark City Subway, PATH|
|10.00||Cliff||Former '''Newark(South Street) Station. southern throat for Newark Station.||
|10.80||Hunter||Junction for NJT Raritan Valley Line to High Bridge and Raritan; Conrail Lehigh Valley Line and Reading Line to West Trenton.|
|12.00||Newark Airport||KS NR||NJT||AirTrain.|
|12.60||Lane||Junction for Conrail Greenville and Passaic & Harsimus Branches.|
|14.50||Elizabeth (Broad Street)||NJT|
|15.10||South Elizabeth||Closed passenger Station.|
|19.20||Rahway||North Rahway||NJT||Closed passenger station.|
|20.00||Union||Junction with NJT North Jersey Coast Line to Bay Head.|
|21.90||Woodbridge||Colonia||Closed passenger station.|
|23.00||Iselin||Closed passenger station.|
|23.20||Metropark||AE CL KS NR VT||NJT||Park and ride|
|31.70||New Brunswick||New Brunswick||KS NR||NJT|
|33.20||County||Junction Conrail Millstone Running Track|
|33.10||Current Jersey Avenue Station||NJT||Park and ride|
|33.40||Old Jersey Avenue Station||NJT|
|35.90||North Brunswick||Adams||Closed Passenger Station|
|38.90||South Brunswick||Deans||Closed Passenger Station|
|41.40||Monmouth Junction||Interlocking Plant|
|41.60||Midway||Junction with Conrail Jamesburg Branch.|
|47.30||Princeton Junction||Nassau||Junction with NJT Princeton Branch.|
|47.40||Princeton Junction||KS NR||NJT||NJT Princeton Branch to Princeton.|
|54.0||Hamilton Township (Mercer County)||PRR Division Post New Jersey/Philadelphia Divisions|
|56.80||Trenton||Fair||Junction for Belvedere-Delaware Secondary Track. Former junction for Bordentown Secondary Track (See NJT River Line) Current Amtrak Division Post New York and Philadelphia Divisions.|
|57.10||Trenton||AE CD CL CS KS NR PA SM SS VT||SEPTA||NJT||NJT River Line to Camden|
|57.70||state line New Jersey/Pennsylvania|
|PA||58.50||Morrisville||Morrisville||Closed passenger station|
|58.60||Morris||Junction for Conrail Trenton Branch and Morrisville Yard.|
|72.5||Cornwells Heights||KS NR||SEPTA|
|85.1||North Philadelphia||KS NR||SEPTA|
|1.5||30th Street Station||AE CD CL CS KS NR PA PL SM SS VT||SEPTA||NJ Transit to Atlantic City, Market-Frankford Line, Subway-Surface Trolleys, all SEPTA commuter rail lines, Amtrak trains to Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Chicago|
|University City||SEPTA||SEPTA to Philadelphia International Airport, Elwyn, and Delaware|
|6.5||Sharon Hill||Curtis Park||SEPTA|
|9.7||Prospect Park||Prospect Park||SEPTA|
|10.4||Ridley Park||Ridley Park||SEPTA|
|13.4||Chester||Chester Transportation Center||SEPTA|
|15.5||Highland Avenue Station||SEPTA|
|16.7||Marcus Hook||Marcus Hook||SEPTA|
|18.2||state line Pennsylvania/Delaware|
|26.8||Wilmington||AE CD CL CS NR PL SM SS VT||SEPTA|
|41.5||state line Delaware/Maryland|
|84.2||Essex||Martin State Airport||MARC|
|95.7||Baltimore||Penn Station||AE CD CL CS NR PL SM SS VT||MARC||Maryland Transit Administration Light Rail|
|107.7||Linthicum||BWI Airport Rail Station||AE CD CL NR VT||MARC|
|126.1||New Carrollton||New Carrollton||NR VT||MARC||WMATA Orange Line, park and ride|
|131.4||state line Maryland/District of Columbia|
|0.0||Union Station||AE CPL CD CL CS NR PL SM SS VT||MARC||VRE commuter rail, WMATA Red Line, Amtrak trains to Virginia, Chicago, New Orleans, Miami|
SENATORS APPLAUD ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO DESIGNATE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR AS FEDERALLY-RECOGNIZED HIGH-SPEED RAIL CORRIDOR
Mar 16, 2011; WASHINGTON, March 15 -- The office of Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., issued the following news release: Senators Tom Carper (D-Del...
SENATORS APPLAUD ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO DESIGNATE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR AS FEDERALLY-RECOGNIZED HIGH-SPEED RAIL CORRIDOR.
Mar 15, 2011; WASHINGTON -- The following information was released by Delaware Senator Tom Carper: Senators Tom Carper (D-Del Frank Lautenberg...
SENATORS APPLAUD ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO DESIGNATE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR AS FEDERALLY-RECOGNIZED RAIL CORRIDOR NEW DESIGNATION WILL ALLOW AMTRAK TO APPLY DIRECTLY FOR HIGH-SPEED RAIL GRANTS.
Mar 15, 2011; WASHINGTON -- The following information was released by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg: Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J Tom...
SENATORS APPLAUD ADMINISTRATION'S DECISION TO DESIGNATE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR AS FEDERALLY-RECOGNIZED RAIL CORRIDOR.
Mar 15, 2011; WASHINGTON -- The following information was released by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal: Senators Tom Carper (D-Del Frank...