Through train

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A through train[1] (also through service,[2] run-through service/train[3]) is a concept of rail transport (commuter rail, subway systems, and mass transit) that involves a change in the operating provider of the line, or a change in the identity (usually operational) of the line, at a specified boundary, on a regularly specified schedule (not random). This is usually accomplished through compatible infrastructure—identical track gauge and durability issues (although variable gauge trains do exist, they tend to be expensive), rolling stock dimensions, curve speed and signaling compatibility, train station dimensions (to avoid damage to rolling stock), tunnels and bridge dimensions and maximum weight, and power requirements. The exact terminology (and definition) vary as usage; in the case of National Rail of the UK, a through train is one which may be used by a passenger to make their entire journey without changing trains.[1]


Chinese cities operate several through-train services (simplified Chinese: 直通运行; traditional Chinese: 直通運行; pinyin: zhítōng yùnxíng):

Several subway systems have through operation between lines. Although this is usually a service crossing between a somewhat arbitrary boundary between two lines.


Paris Réseau express régional:

  • RER A trains serving the Cergy and Poissy branches run on SNCF (western part) and RATP (eastern part) tracks.
  • RER B runs on SNCF (northern part) and RATP (southern part) tracks.

In both cases, trains run contiguously, thus providing a one-seat ride across both SNCF and RATP networks. To achieve smooth network crossing, RATP and SNCF jointly designed and ordered specific MI 79 rolling stock (where MI stands for matériel d'interconnexion, French for "cross-network rolling stock.") Change of drivers was compulsory at network boundaries until 2008 when one-driver cross-network runs were introduced.


In Germany, such services are called Durchbindung.


Through services (直通運転, chokutsū unten) are regularly scheduled train services owned by an operator which runs over tracks which it does not own. Many urban railways in Japan operate such services to increase ridership, increase convenience and simplicity, and reduce time to destinations by eliminating transfers through seamless connection. One example is a Narita-to-Haneda service, which runs on four companies' tracks. Despite fewer new lines in recent years as the system is mature, more through services are proliferating to reduce cross metropolitan area connection time, at least in theory.

A 2016 MLIT study has shown that minor train delays are quite commonplace in Greater Tokyo during rush hour, at odds with Japan's image of train punctuality. The reason for this is that the subway lines in particular are subject to heavier loads, and thus more delay as riders rush in at the last minute, and forcing final door closings to be delayed. The proliferation of through-services has only magnified the problem, as it acts as a double-edged sword, though convenient in not having to switch trains, central Tokyo delays increasingly cause a ripple effect to through services on suburban lines.[5]

South Korea[edit]

Subway trains of Seoul Subway Line 1, Line 3 and Line 4 run through to Korail suburban lines.


Russia operates regular scheduled through services with other countries:

United States of America[edit]

Trains operating on the metro north railroad in Westchester, New York run through to New York City tracks and switch from electric to diesel.

See also[edit]


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  4. ^ "缓解客流压力,北京地铁4号线、大兴线调整运营措施-新华网". Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  5. ^