# average subway speed

Ive tried to to find this answer online with no luck. What is the average speed of a subway?

0 mph I’d hope. Otherwise the trains would have a heck of a time getting through.

Paging matt_mcl

In Tokyo, the average speeds range from 28.6 to 43 km/hr. Note that the frequency of the stops causes the slow speeds. Cite (Unfortunately in Japanese)

Which subway do you mean?

According to the Edmonton LRT schedule, it takes 21 minutes to get from one end to the other. Wikipedia somehow knows that it’s 12.3 km in length.

60min/hr / 21min * 12.3 km = 35km/hr.

I find the average speed of public transportation pathetic. :mad: I easily beat the trains and buses here in Calgary when going from point A to B on a bicycle. For instance, it takes about 1.5 hours to get home from work on public transportation whereas I can cycle it in under 40 minutes while carrying a backpack full of clothing and food. This is going along a central corridor in the city.

Really, people should ditch public transportation and ride a bike most of the time.

Nah, it’s the average velocity of a subway train (or any other form of transportation, for that matter) that tends to approach zero even during its service lifetime.

One hopes that the average speed is somewhat above zero.

The OP won’t find a reliable average without restricting some parameters, but the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is probably on the high end of “subway” speeds.

One of the fastest stop-to-stop BART rides is probably between West Oakland Station and the Embarcadero station in SF. That’s about 6 miles, of which ~90% is below the surface (mainly in the Transbay Tube). The BART website gives an average time of seven minutes between the two stations, thus about 51mph or 82kph.

BART has several other stations with comparatively large distances between them – hence higher average speed – (e.g. Castro Valley to Dublin/Pleasanton, 11 miles in 11 minutes or ~60mph), but most of those are on surface or elevated track, so might not meet the OP’s criterion of “subway”.

Methinks you got whoooshed by the motionless subway tunnel

IIRC the Victoria Line in London is underground for its entire 13 mile length, and is timed as a 37 minute journey - averaging 21mph. Most other lines have long overground sections with larger intervals between stations, which probably increase the average speed but also make them poor examples if you want to talk specifically about underground railways.

I’ve seen average speed estimates on the London Underground of around 20.5 mph, or 33 kmh (Cite) . I’m not sure if this includes stopping times or not.

Yes, I hear it’s very invigorating during those balmy Calgary winters

The average speed of New York subway trains is about 19mph. On the express lines, that can get up to around 23mph.

That’s the average speed, of course. Trains are capable of reaching much higher speeds for a short time. Certain short segments are very fast, and can appraoch 65mph. The 60th Street Tunnel is an example.

“We’re being held here by supervision, we should be moving shortly.”

In L.A., last I’ve heard, the light rail lines, when not at grade and between stops, hit about 55mph. The subway has to be faster than that, maybe around 70.

Why? Again using London as an example, Wikipedia says the 50mph line speed of the Metropolitan line is the fastest on the network, and I don’t think it’s coincidental that this line is the most like any normal surface railway.

Anyone got a good estimate or cite for Boston subways? I assume the Green line is much slower then the others.

Just got back from Subway. The Indians cranked out a sandwhich is 3 minutes, 37 seconds.

Impressive.

Thanks for the instant NYC flashback!

The maximum speed for BART is 80 MPH, but the end-to-end average once you factor in things like actually stopping at stations comes out to about 33 MPH.

There are quite a few factors involved in this, which can push the average speed up or down:

Dwell Time (i)
This is the industry lingo for time stopped at stations, and it is more complex that you might think. On a hybrid system such as Sydney’s, a train might be running between underground stations one minute, then on the surface sharing tracks with freight trains the next, we have double deck cars which are designed to reflect the longer distances travelled on suburban runs (60 or so kilometres) and the fact that people are going to value getting a seat more highly than frequent service. This means cars are designed with a lot of area given over to seating, and narrow aisles and doorways. These take longer to load. On a purely metro system like in Hong Kong or London, the distances are shorter, and people don’t mind having to stand if it means trading off your seat for a quicker trip. So, single deck cars are used with three or more wide doors per car, and minimal seating. These trains can load and unload hundreds of people in a few moments. Those doors close, and the train is outta there! This brings us to…