Street running train

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An NICTD EMU street-running on Michigan City’s 11th Street; United States, in 2009; the street-running track has been replaced with its own right-of-way as of 2023

A street running train is a train which runs on a track built on public streets. The rails are embedded in the roadway, and the train shares the street with other users, such as pedestrians, cars and cyclists, thus often being referred to as running in mixed traffic or sharing the road with trains. For safety, street running trains travel more slowly than trains on dedicated rights-of-way. Needing to share the right-of-way with motor vehicles can cause delays and pose a safety risk.[1]

Stations on such routes are rare and may appear similar in style to a tram stop, but often lack platforms, pedestrian islands, or other amenities. In some cases, passengers may be required to wait on a distant sidewalk, and then board or disembark by crossing the traffic. The last street-station in the USA was in Michigan City, until 2022.[2]


Salto Grande Bridge over the dam
  • Buenos Aires


A passenger train running down the centre of Ellen Street, Port Pirie in 1940


Notable examples in Canada include:[10]

  • Port Hope, Ontario: from Walton Street, along Ontario street to the Ganaraska River, where it split off and followed the river north out of the city limits, eventually reaching Midland, Ontario with a branch line to Peterborough, Ontario. Lots of railway facilities still exist, the old station, now Furby's books and lent travel are opposite the corner of Walton street and Ontario, with the old station masters office just south of that along lent lane, which is the old track bed, and the Ganaraska Hotel, which is the old Railway Hostel.[11]
  • Oshawa, Ontario: from Michael Starr trail (near court street) along Bruce street, east to Ritson road, then north on Ritson road to the GM North Plant. (removed)
  • Brantford, Ontario: Clarence Street (From Nelson Street to Icomm Drive, formerly Canadian National Railway; now Southern Ontario Railway, still in use) (not on the road although tracks do occupy the right turn lane at Colborne Street)
  • Guelph, Ontario (also not real street running):
    • Kent Street (from Glasgow Street to Gordon Street), CNR, still in use[12]
  • St. Catharines, Ontario:
    • Ontario Street (removed) (to the disappeared car factory) (continues to Louisa St.) (diagonal between the houses) (former track partly still visible from the air)
    • Louisa Street (From just east of Thomas Street to Catherine Street, Canadian National Railway, originally Niagara St. Catharines Toronto Railway. Electric interurban (branch from Port Dalhousie-west) (until 1959) removed, continues to Welland Avenue below)
    • Welland Avenue (From Francis Street to Balfour Street, removed) (continues to Niagara St.)
    • Raymond Street (depot only)
    • Niagara Street (continues to Facer St.)
    • Facer Street (branch to Niagara~on~the~Lake)
    • Electric interurban network to Port Dalhousie-west, Port Dalhousie-east, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Port Colborne, and Niagara Falls. All tracks on the streets are removed in all places, except(?) Pine Street in Thorold. Freight trains with diesel engines on the streets only from 1959 to the closing in about 2005.
    • St. Catharines was the center of the Niagara St. Catharines Toronto Railway.
  • Waterloo, Ontario:
    • Caroline Street (from Erb Street West to Allen Street West, (CP Rail) tracks removed in 1994. Later reinstalled for ION light rail, in service again as of 2019)(the lightrail follows a different route) The former railway is now a trail - path. (To the south)


  • Rijeka, freight trains (and occasional passenger trains) run from western to eastern cargo terminal of Port of Rijeka through the city centre.[13]


  • Brno: the railway line that connects Brno Exhibition Centre and mainline runs about two km (1.2 mi). along Poříčí street. Touristic (steam) trains run on the Highway, with police escorts.[14]


For tramways the legal separation of a street running trackbed and an exclusive trackbed in urban traffic is given in § 16 BOStrab tramway regulations. Germany has some street-running railways:

A "Mollibahn" train running through Bad Doberan, Germany

Hong Kong[edit]

Light Rail tracks along Tai Fong Street, Tai Hing Estate, Tuen Mun

The MTR Light Rail running in and between the new towns of Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai has many sections of on-street running, although the majority of the system runs on its own tracks alongside major roads or elevated viaducts, e.g., at the junctions near Tuen Mun Town Centre.[citation needed]

The KCR British Section had two street running stretches: a spur line to Whampoa Dockyard through Baker Street [yue],[16][17][18][19][20] another across Salisbury Road [yue] and Canton Road to the Kowloon Godowns.[citation needed]


Train along Jalan Slamet Riyadi, Solo, Indonesia
  • Surakarta, Central Java: The Solo Purwosari to Wonogiri line runs along Jalan Slamet Riyadi through the center of Surakarta. The Batara Kresna Railbus service between Solo Purwosari and Wonogiri, operates along the line, with two trips in each direction. A special charter-only tourist steam train called the Sepur Kluthuk Jaladara also runs along this stretch of the line between Solo Purwosari and Solo Kota stations.[21][22]



New Zealand[edit]

Street running in Kawakawa


A Berninabahn train crossing the main square in Tirano

Swiss law does not distinguish between trams and railways, making the distinction between street running by trams and that by railways legally indistinct.

  • Zürich : 1,000-tonne (980-long-ton; 1,100-short-ton) grain trains make up to 4 journeys a day between Bahnhof Hardbrücke and the Swissmill Tower on Sihlquai, following a 2-kilometre (1.2 mi) route along Zahnradstrasse, Hardstrasse and Zöllystrasse, including a tram crossing. The driver controls traffic lights manually.[26]

United Kingdom[edit]

The combined road and rail swing bridge at Preston Marina

Street running railways have been much rarer in the United Kingdom than elsewhere. This is due to 19th-century laws requiring railways to be enclosed by fences, which had the consequence that railways could not be built along existing roads and had to use their own rights of way. In cases where street running was unavoidable, the roads were often legally treated as level crossings with trains and road vehicles not permitted to use them at the same time. Some examples are:

  • Weymouth: The most notable street running track was the Weymouth Harbour Tramway (despite the name, it was never used for trams and was a heavy-rail route); however this ended service to regular traffic since 1987, and to all traffic since 1999, with track removal starting in 2020.
  • Porthmadog: The Porthmadog cross town link links the narrow-gauge Welsh Highland and Ffestiniog railways and includes 50 metres of street running over the Britannia Bridge in Porthmadog.[27] The section that runs along a street is closed to road traffic by alternating red stop lights, as if it were an extended level crossing.
  • Trafford Park: A freight-only street-running railway network was through Trafford Park; only one section alongside Barton Dock Road has seen use in recent years.[when?] This branch is abandoned and partially removed.[citation needed]
  • Preston: The heritage Ribble Steam Railway runs across a swing bridge at the entrance to Preston Marina. The bridge is used by both road and rail traffic, but closed by barriers to road traffic when a train is crossing.

United States[edit]

A selection of the many examples:


  • Gadsden
    • Locust Street, between N1 Street and N6 Street.[28]


  • Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. A one-lane tunnel that must be shared by cars and trains.[29]
  • Skagway: Unofficial government allows railroad tracks up Broadway in 1898. They were shifted in 1947.[30]



  • Oakland
    • Embarcadero West, between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Webster Street; the only double street running train track in the USA; the only Amtrak street running trackage in the USA; freight trains also run here; third track is no longer in use.[31]


  • Fort Collins
    • Mason Street. This railway opened in 1877, but 100 years later the city wanted the line around the city. It almost worked. But the train now has a free lane in the street.[32]


  • Clearwater
  • Tampa


  • Augusta
    • 6th Street between Taylor Street and Reynolds Street, approx. ten blocks.[citation needed]
  • Columbus
    • 6th. Street. Dead end branch. Out of use since factory closed. Pieces of trolley-tracks are also present in 5th. and 6th. Street.[citation needed]
    • 9th Street. Through line. In use.[citation needed]
Columbus & Chattahoochee Railroad running on 9th Street in downtown Columbus


  • Rockford


  • Bedford
    • J-street, between 14th and 18th street - Removed in 2022.[36]
  • Michigan City
    • 10th Street and 11th Street - As of 2023, the tracks have been moved out of the streets and into their own right-of-way
The South Shore Line formerly ran on 10th and 11th streets in Michigan City, Indiana




  • Gretna





  • Saint Louis
    • Dorcas street. Brewery-trains. Until 2011 the brewery has an own railroad, the Manufacturers Railway; once they served several streets in the area. Now only the Dorcas Street trackage is in use. Track in S 2nd. Street to Rutger Street is partly still present but out of service. In S 2nd. Street, more than 10 tracks come/came out onto the street, at Barton Street.[citation needed]

New Jersey[edit]

  • Garfield
    • Monroe Street. Abandoned in 2020.[44]

New York[edit]

  • Utica
    • Schuyler Street.[45]

North Carolina[edit]



  • Salem
    • Front Street NE.[46]



  • Paris
    • N Fentress St.-S Caldwell-McNeil St.[51]




  • Renton

West Virginia[edit]

  • Saint Marys

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Street running railroad on Denison Street in Rockhampton, Queensland 23°22′35″S 150°30′26″E / 23.376492°S 150.507336°E / -23.376492; 150.507336


  1. ^ Studenkov, Igor (2021-05-14). "Goodbye street-running South Shore service in Michigan City, hello double-tracking". Streetsblog Chicago. Retrieved 2023-01-01.
  2. ^ "South Shore Street Running Ends This Weekend". 24 February 2022.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Last Cane Train at Moreton Sugar Mill Light Railways issue 175 January 2004 page 20
  5. ^ 14 May 2021
  6. ^ "Nambour celebrates tram design and Terminus opening". 25 May 2021.
  7. ^ Port Pirie's Famous Streetside Station Closes for Passenger Business Railway Transportation September 1967 page 34
  8. ^ North Coast Line Infrastructure Railway Digest August 1996 page 11
  9. ^ Still standing… Track & Signal November 2012 page 77
  10. ^ Trains Magazine, Vol. 68, Issue 4 (April 2008) (pages 22-31)
  11. ^ Longwell, Karen (August 7, 2014). "Throwback Thursday: Railway through downtown Port Hope".
  12. ^ Graham, David (May 12, 2010). "History haunts Guelph's railways". Guelph Mercury.
  13. ^ Brkljača, Maja (June 7, 2018). "Traffic Collapse Due to Station Refurbishment; All Trains to Go Through City Centre". RTL Group.
  14. ^ 24. 6. 2017 - Brno dopravní nostalgie, archived from the original on 2021-12-19, retrieved 2021-03-19
  15. ^ Walter Kuhl. "Das Industriestammgleis "B"". Industriegleise im Fabrikviertel Darmstadt. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  16. ^ "Hung Hom-KCR tracks to dockyard via Baker Street-bottom left -behind the bus | Gwulo".
  17. ^ "KCR Whampoa Railway Siding – the Industrial History of Hong Kong Group".
  18. ^ "Kowloon (HK & Whampoa) Dockyards during the Occupation 1942-45 – the Industrial History of Hong Kong Group".
  19. ^ "KCR-Kowloon-Docks- Rail-Link | Gwulo".
  20. ^ "Plan of HK & Whampoa Dockyard 1949 | Gwulo".
  21. ^ "Hanya di Kota Solo, Kereta Melintas di Jalan Raya; Tahu Kenapa? (Only in Solo City train run along the road. Do you know why?)". Dinas Komunikasi, Informatika, Statistik dan Persandian Kota Surakarta. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  22. ^ Bayu Ardi Isnanto. "Menyusuri Sejarah Rel Kereta di Sepanjang Jalan Slamet Riyadi Solo (Exploring the History of the Railway along Jalan Slamet Riyadi Solo)". Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  23. ^ "How to travel by train, bus & boat to & within Laos - Bangkok-Vientiane by train". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
  24. ^ "Welcome to the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway". Retrieved 2016-10-15.
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  26. ^ "Spektakel in Zürich-West: Und täglich grüsst der Güterzug - NZZ Zürich". Archived from the original on 2015-10-31.
  27. ^ Davies, Merfyn (30 October 2010). "Taith gyntaf teithwyr trên bach o Gaernarfon i Borthmadog". BBC Online (in Welsh). Retrieved 26 May 2011.
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  29. ^ "Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel".
  30. ^ "History Complete | Skagway, Alaska".
  31. ^[bare URL]
  32. ^ Udell, Erin. "Fort Collins came thiiiiis close to getting rid of its Old Town trains in the 1980s". Fort Collins Coloradoan.
  33. ^ train O701 %2C nicknamed the,on its 25-mph run.
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  39. ^ Kyper, Frank (1977). The railroad that came out at night : a book of railroading in and around Boston. Brattleboro, Vt.: S. Greene Press. pp. 13–40. ISBN 0-8289-0318-2.
  40. ^ * "City of Holyoke's Railroad, Part III". March 7, 2014. Archived from the original on March 5, 2017.
  41. ^, 25 oct.2019," Clock ticks down as Fort Frances........"
  42. ^ STATE OF MINNESOTA IN COURT OF APPEALS C1-99-1722 In the Matter of the Speed Limit for the Union Pacific Railroad through the City of Shakopee, State of Minnesota. Filed May 16, 2000
  43. ^ Erickson, Sandra Alcott. Camp Ripley: 1930-1960. United States: Arcadia Publishing Incorporated, 2007.
  44. ^ "Moving Out: Farewell to the Dundee Spur". December 2020.
  45. ^ "Do You Know About the 'Watch Tower' in Utica?". 29 September 2016.
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  47. ^ "From Rails to Riches: The Eastside Opportunity Corridor".
  48. ^ "12/09/2016 - Decision - 45571".
  49. ^ "Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad Company-Abandonment Exemption-in Fayette County, Pa". 6 December 2016.
  50. ^ /19/dodging-traffic-in-west-brownsville.
  51. ^ "Railroads – Paris/Henry County Economic Development Corporation".
  52. ^ "Comal Street Railroad Track Relocation, Agreement with Union Pacific Railroad" (PDF). 2004-10-18.
  53. ^ Cumbie, Jim; Schmidt, L.W. (Spring 1990). "San Antonio: The Beer Line [A brief history of the Texas Transportation Company]". The New Electric Railway Journal. pp. 21–22 and 27. ISSN 1048-3845.
  54. ^ Werner, George C. "Texas Transportation Company". The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved Jan 16, 2023.
  55. ^ "Richmond's Railroad Triple Crossing (Virginia)".
  56. ^[bare URL]
  57. ^ "There's Nowhere else on Earth with a Downtown Quite Like St. Marys, West Virginia". 5 January 2021.

External links[edit]