Paper presented at the 33rd Annual Southern African Transport Conference 7-10 July 2014 "Leading Transport into the Future", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
Rail is said to have an almost unlimited capacity. The PRASA Technology Framework
states that a rail corridor is able to carry 60 000 - 80 000 passengers per peak hour.
This paper analyses the practical optimum capacity of metropolitan rail services: an
Underground Metro, an All-Stop train, and an Express service. In a practical situation the
capacity of rail systems seems to be limited to some 35 000 passengers/hr on one track
per direction; only in crush situation the maximum capacity is approaching 50 000.
It would need four tracks per direction over great part of a corridor, to accommodate
almost 60 000 passengers/hr in a mix All-Stop and Express service, and 80 000 only as
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