Rapid transit

A Moscow Metro station
Paris elevated metro line

Rapid transit is the name for a type of railway which has trains that run very often and carry many passengers at one time. It is usually in a city or urban area and takes people into and out of it. Trains go between places very quickly because they do not mix with other traffic. Most rapid transit railways do not have level crossings, but the tracks go over and under other roads, or run in tunnels or over bridges, so they do not meet.

Many places call their rapid transit system a metro. Other words for rapid transit, which are different all around the world, are subway, underground, tube, elevated, or heavy rail. These words sometimes describe how the system is built, whether above the ground or below it. Some systems are completely below ground or completely above ground, while others may have both below-ground and above-ground sections.

A single rapid transit system can have many lines that go different places and many stations where people can get on and off trains, and sometimes change between other forms of public transport. These lines often have stations where people can change from one line to another to go in a different direction. These kinds of stations are called interchange stations, and many of the biggest rapid transit systems have several of these stations.

A metro station in ChangSha


Many people consider the oldest rapid transit system of any kind to be the Metropolitan Railway in London, the capital of the United Kingdom. The first part of what would eventually become the London Underground started building in 1860, and the first part was opened in 1863. The first underground trains were powered by locomotives that burned coal, and the smoke made many people suffer from choking in the tunnels. Later trains on the line ran on electric power. This line, now part of the Metropolitan line, is still running today. Another railway line in London, the City and South London Railway, was the first rapid transit line to use trains that run on electricity. This part opened in 1890 and today is part of the Northern line. Several more underground railways were built in London, and today the Underground, which is called the "tube" for its small trains and tunnels, has eleven lines, some of which run on track that is used by National Rail trains.

The next two cities to build rapid transit lines were Budapest, Hungary (whose first metro line opened in 1896) and Glasgow, Scotland (whose "Subway" also opened in 1896). Soon, many other big cities in Europe were building metro lines of their own, such as Berlin, Germany ( Berlin U-Bahn); Paris, France (Paris Métro); and Moscow, Russia (Moscow Metro). A number of Paris Métro lines use trains that have rubber tires along with wheels made of steel; this helps the trains run better and smoother especially on steep gradients. Montreal's metro system is also like this, along with some people mover systems, which carry less people than rapid transit.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Moltrein
arpetan: Metrô
asturianu: Metro
azərbaycanca: Metro
Bân-lâm-gú: Tē-hā-thih
беларуская: Метрапалітэн
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Мэтрапалітэн
български: Метро
brezhoneg: Metro
català: Metro
Чӑвашла: Метрополитен
čeština: Metro
Deutsch: U-Bahn
eesti: Metroo
Ελληνικά: Μετρό
English: Rapid transit
Esperanto: Metroo
فارسی: مترو
français: Métro
한국어: 지하철
հայերեն: Մետրոպոլիտեն
हिन्दी: भूमिगत रेल
Bahasa Indonesia: Angkutan cepat
íslenska: Snarlest
italiano: Metropolitana
қазақша: Метро
kurdî: B-Ban
Кыргызча: Метро
Ladino: Metro
latviešu: Metro
Lëtzebuergesch: Metro
lietuvių: Metropolitenas
Limburgs: Oondergróndse
lumbaart: Metropolitana
magyar: Metró
Bahasa Melayu: Transit aliran
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Dê-tiék
монгол: Метро
မြန်မာဘာသာ: မြေအောက်မီးရထား
日本語: 地下鉄
norsk: Tunnelbane
norsk nynorsk: Tunnelbane
occitan: Mètro
олык марий: Метрополитен
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Metropoliten
پښتو: ميترو
polski: Metro
português: Metropolitano
Qaraqalpaqsha: Metro
română: Metrou
русиньскый: Метро
русский: Метрополитен
саха тыла: Метро
sicilianu: Metropulitana
slovenščina: Podzemna železnica
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Мєтрополїтєнъ
српски / srpski: Метро
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Metro
suomi: Metro
svenska: Tunnelbana
татарча/tatarça: Метрополитен
тоҷикӣ: Метро
Türkçe: Metro
українська: Метрополітен
Tiếng Việt: Tàu điện ngầm
吴语: 地铁
粵語: 地下鐵
Zazaki: Metro
中文: 地鐵