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What subway systems are open around the clock
July 17, 2007 3:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to compile a list of subway or light rail systems that are open all night. So far all I have is the New York subway and the Chicago El, but there's got to be more than that. There's a lot of cities in the world!
posted by aubilenon to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
NY/NJ PATH runs 24 hours between Manhattan and NJ, though it's only every 30 minutes in the wee hours of the night.
posted by smackfu at 4:07 PM on July 17, 2007


The Berlin U-Bahn runs most lines all night on the weekends. If you look around UrbanRail.net, you might have an easy time finding other cities.
posted by cmonkey at 4:29 PM on July 17, 2007


I'm pretty sure I've heard it said that there are only 3 systems in the world that run 24/7, so to speak, and I think it's NYC, NJ Transit, and the El, but I could be wrong.
posted by bijou at 4:32 PM on July 17, 2007


PATCO trains run all night, connecting Philadelphia with Southern New Jersey.
posted by gac at 4:34 PM on July 17, 2007


Madrid is more extensive than the Chicago EL, but it's closed from 2am - 6am (ironically, clubs/bars stay open a little longer and some people manage to go home at 6am).
posted by ejaned8 at 5:31 PM on July 17, 2007


San Diego's trolley runs all night, but in the wee hours it only has one train come by per hour, and it doesn't serve the whole system.
posted by LionIndex at 5:35 PM on July 17, 2007


I'm pretty sure bijou's right. I've been amazed to find on my travels in Europe that most of the main systems close for the wee hours of the morning. The only one who's hours I remember for sure is Athens - closed from midnight to 5:30am.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:36 PM on July 17, 2007


As I understand it, to have a subway that runs 24/7, you need to have three sets of tracks per line -- so that you can do track maintenance while trains are running in both directions. So if the system wasn't built with this in mind, it would take a huge construction project to make it possible.
posted by winston at 7:16 PM on July 17, 2007


Searching wikipedia for "subways" yielded a link to alist of rapid transit systems...
posted by twiggy at 7:23 PM on July 17, 2007


It's not absolutely necessary to have three tracks to do maintenance and maintain all-night service, but it's no walk in the park, either. The real culprit behind a lack of all-night subway/light-rail service, however, is very likely lack of demand. Subways are good at running high-capacity service during peak surface traffic hours, neither of which are big problems at night.
posted by chrominance at 7:27 PM on July 17, 2007


As a New Yorker, I've always found this such a pain and a source of surprise when I've traveled. It was especially odd in Madrid since people are out all night, pretty much every night.
posted by cmgonzalez at 7:30 PM on July 17, 2007


It's not absolutely necessary to have three tracks to do maintenance and maintain all-night service,
I'm confused. The article you're linking argues strongly that it not possible to have all-night service on two tracks in Toronto, for a variety of reasons.
posted by winston at 7:58 PM on July 17, 2007


The street cars in New Orleans.
posted by JujuB at 9:16 PM on July 17, 2007


Just as a clarification, only the Red and Blue lines are 24 hours in Chicago. Everything else is halted in the wee hours, mostly just due to low demand.
posted by rhoticity at 9:32 PM on July 17, 2007


I'll have to double-check with some folks who live there, but I think Munich's U-bahn is 24/7.
posted by lilithim at 11:37 PM on July 17, 2007


Bombay's* local trains system is pretty extensive and until now I thought it shut down for just two hours from 2-4am.

I was wrong.

Looking at the timetable it seems they're open 24/7, on one of the longest segments (about 70+ miles). I haven't exhausted all possible lines. Pretty good frequency too.

Funny Story: Actually three years back for the very first time I took an early morning train (around 4am) from Byculla to Thane, and being a hardcore Bombayite was v.excited to experience it. Woe resulted when I found that it was packed with fishermen. Went standing all the way for an 45 mins, when I was expecting that so early I should be getting an entire bench to myself to sleep.

And looking at the responses I reckon Bombay is the only city to have a distinction to boast the BEST bus service running three bus routes round the clock.

* Stupid politicians renamed it to Mumbai a few years back.
posted by forwebsites at 5:03 AM on July 18, 2007


"Bombay is the only city to have a distinction to boast"
What the me!
Excuse the funny sentence structuring.

posted by forwebsites at 5:06 AM on July 18, 2007


As I understand it, to have a subway that runs 24/7, you need to have three sets of tracks per line -- so that you can do track maintenance while trains are running in both directions.

We had an argument about this in some other thread. It is not totally true. Many lines in NYC have only two tracks (mine, for instance) and they run twenty-four hours in general. It does mean that there are service changes sometimes, and sometimes, usually on weekends, the train turns into a shuttle bus. If every line were like that, it might be easier to close down at night, rather than organize buses, etc., on occaision.
posted by dame at 8:24 AM on July 18, 2007


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