Clocker (train)

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AMTK 923 leaving 30th StxRP.jpg
A GG1 pulling a Clocker leaving Philadelphia in 1976
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Discontinued
Locale Northeast Corridor
First service May 1, 1971
Last service October 28, 2005
Successor New Jersey Transit
Former operator(s) Amtrak
Start Philadelphia
End New York
Distance travelled 91 miles (146 km)
Average journey time 95-110 minutes
Service frequency Multiple weekday round-trips
On-board services
Class(es) Unreserved coach
Rolling stock Amfleet coaches
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Overhead catenary
Track owner(s) Amtrak

Clockers were regular passenger trains between Philadelphia and New York City on the Northeast Corridor. On the Pennsylvania Railroad they left each terminal on the hour until the 1950s and a less-regular schedule continued on Amtrak. The first train run by Amtrak was a Clocker that left Penn Station at 12:05 AM on May 1, 1971.[1] The last Clocker ran on October 28, 2005. To replace them, New Jersey Transit added four express trains between Trenton and New York City at times approximating the Clocker schedule.


Amtrak's Clockers were rush-hour trains serving the commuter and day-trip market to New York City. New Jersey Transit (NJT) passholders could ride Clockers, which were shown in NJT's timetable as well as Amtrak's. Amtrak received a $6 million subsidy to operate the trains.[2]

Clockers made all, or almost all, Amtrak stops between 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and Penn Station in New York, unlike Amtrak's Regional trains, which skip some stations. The trains were unreserved, coach class only, and used Amfleet rolling stock after the 1970s, although NJT stock was common in the last days of operation.


A Clocker was originally a Pennsylvania Railroad express train between New York and Broad Street Station in Philadelphia;[3] the name was unofficial, and PRR timetables didn't use it. Soon after Penn Station opened in 1910 the Philadelphia expresses began leaving each terminal on the hour, giving rise to the name (which the railroad itself seems never to have used). Until electrification in 1933 most Clockers were scheduled to leave and arrive on each hour; on a weekday in 1929 trains left each terminal from 7 AM to 10 PM.[citation needed] Faster schedules after electrification eliminated the on-the-hour arrival. In 1951 weekday Clockers left Philadelphia and New York 7 AM to 7 PM.

Amtrak did not use the term "clocker" until the October 1981 timetable.[4] Between 1979 and 1981 the public timetable showed individual names for each Clocker. The Clockers briefly were called Acela Commuter when Amtrak decided in 2001 to use that moniker for most trains along the Northeast Corridor. Following mass rider confusion[citation needed] between this service and the high-speed Acela Express service, the name reverted to Clocker in 2003.

Former names[edit]

Name Number Notes
New York-Philadelphia
Philadelphian 237
Betsy Ross 211 Sunday-only service ran Springfield-Washington
Keystone 219 Also the name of a Keystone Service train 1980-1981; see Valley Forge
Garden State 221
William Penn 223
Quaker City 225
Rittenhouse 227,241
Schuylkill 229 Discontinued April 26, 1980
Philadelphia-New York
Manhattan Limited 252
Gotham 254
Edison 200
New Yorker 202
Big Apple 204 Also the name of a Keystone Service train 1980-1994; see Valley Forge
Central Park 210 Discontinued April 26, 1980
Murray Hill 220
Herald Square 222


  1. ^ Boye Sagert (2007), 218.
  2. ^ "Multilevel Train Rolls Out, Changing Little for Riders". New York Times. 2007-07-08. 
  3. ^ Rung, Jr., A. M. (January 1948). "Philly's personality trains". Trains. ; 15
  4. ^ "National Train Timetables". Amtrak. October 25, 1981. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 


External links[edit]