average subway speed

You can find travel times between stations at the MBTA Trip planner site, unfortunately, I was unable to find the distances covered.

If I remember this evening, I’ll send my father (retired Red line guy) an email and ask him about speeds on that line. He can probably speak to the Red & Orange line speeds, as those are the types of cars (trains) he worked on.

The MBTA site gives 19 minutes from Alewife to Park St. Mapquest gives the distance as 13 miles by road. This gives somewhere about 40mph, including the time for stops.

The green line is slower. It moves slower, and stops every 10 feet south of Kenmore.

The top standard operating speed of a Montreal metro train is, IIRC, 72 kph. As an example of average speed, the green line is 22,1 km long and has a standard travel time of 36 m 20 s, for an average speed of about 36 km/hr – just about right, if you assume it hits peak velocity right at the middle.

The Glasgow underground seems to average just over 16mph for it’s 6.5 mile round trip. 24 minutes in total, including 15 stops!
They have a maximum speed of about twice that.

Glasgowe Underground

And in both cases you need a shower after the journey :rolleyes:


The highest peak speed I ever heard of for a local transit system was the P&W line from 69th St. terminal just outside Philadelphia to Norristown. Their bullet trains, vintage circa 1930, had a top speed of 100 MPH. Even by 1990 (they had the last run in the spring of that year) they were still getting into the 55 or 56 MPH range between stations. I sat in the rear driver’s seat when I could (they had double ended controls) and had the speedometer in front of me.

They had their own right-of-way. I do not know the average speed but I bet the speed on the Bryn Mawr express must have been 50 MPH non-stop to Bryn Mawr where I got off and then a lot slower making all stops thereafter.

On the London Underground the speeds vary between 10mph and 60mph. It rather depends on where the tunnels are - if tunnels have to bend frequently then obviously the trains must slow down lest they derail. And each line will have both straight bits and bendy bits so the speed will vary accordingly. That’s going to be different for every subway since some are built under twisty roads and some have nice straight slices of the city all to themselves.

Any guess at average speeds must necessarily include things like dwell time. Trains go much faster when there’re no pesky passengers to be shuffled on and off!