NEC Facts and Figures

The Northeast Region:

  • Is home to 51 million people (1 in 7 Americans) and is expected to grow to approximately 58 million by 2040
  • Includes four of the ten largest metropolitan areas in the United States
  • Contributes 30 percent of all jobs in the United States
  • Generates 20 percent of the nation's Gross Domestic Product
Pie Chart Graphic of NEC statistics

The Northeast Corridor is heavily traveled:

  • 2,000 passenger trains use the NEC daily. View Train Animation
  • 750,000 people ride along some part of the corridor each day
  • 70 freight trains use the NEC daily (moving over 350,000 car-loads of freight per year)
  • In 2014, there were 11.6 million passengers on Amtrak's Northeast Regional and Acela Express services

Ridership and Trip Length Characteristics by Rail Carrier (2012)

Rail Carrier Passenger Trips Average Trip Length (miles)
VRE 4,702,196 32.1
MARC 8,532,214 30.2
SEPTA 36,899,167 14.2
NJ TRANSIT 81,353,894 23.4
MTA-Long Island Rail Road 96,953,120 21.5
MTA-Metro-North Railroad 82,807,689 29.4
Shoreline East 624,172 21.7
MBTA 36,083,946 20.2
TOTAL Regional rail 347,956,398 23.28
Amtrak (FY12)    
Acela Express 3,395,354 191
Northeast Regionals 8,822,946 151
Northeast connecting corridors** 2,950,027 102
TOTAL Intercity 15,168,327 150

Sources: Regional Rail Data: National Transit Database Transit Profiles: 2012 Full Reports; Amtrak Data: Amtrak Monthly Performance Report (September 2012)

** Includes Northeast Regional services on the NEC, in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia, Vermonter, New Haven-Hartford-Springfield, Keystone, and Empire Service routes

The NEC is 457 miles long and has:

  • 17 tunnels
  • 1,186 bridges

The current NEC took nearly a century to build. It was built by several railroad companies between 1830 and 1917.

Percentage of Route Miles by Construction Type - Washington, D.C., to Boston, MA

Construction Type Existing NEC
Tunnel 2%
Trench 1%
At Grade 56%
Embankment 36%
Aerial 3%
Major bridge 2%