From TrainSpottingWorld, for Rail fans everywhere
- January 1 – The State of New York purchases and the State of Connecticut leases their sections of the New Haven Line between Woodlawn, New York, and New Haven, Connecticut, from Penn Central.
- February 1 – Penn Central reroutes the Turboservice passenger train service on the Northeast Corridor from Grand Central Terminal to Penn Station.
- February 3 – The Kilbarchan Loop Line in Scotland, already closed to passenger traffic since 1966, closes to freight traffic.
- General Motors Electro-Motive Division discontinues the SD45X model diesel-electric locomotive.
- March 3 – Penn Central publishes its last systemwide passenger timetable.
- March 26 – An inter-ministerial committee in France delivers its approval of construction on the LGV Sud-Est, the first line of TGV service.
- March 27 – British Rail Class 42 locomotives D838 Rapid, D847 Strongbow, D859 Vanquisher, D860 Victorious and D864 Zambesi are withdrawn from regular service.
- May 1 – Amtrak takes over most long-distance passenger train service in the United States.
- May 22 – British Rail Class 42 locomotives D836 Powerful, D837 Ramilies, D843 Sharpshooter, D846 Standfast, D849 Superb, D850 Swift, D851 Temeraire, D856 Trojan and D865 Zealous are withdrawn from regular service.
- May 23 – Preserved SNCF Class X 4500 DMU X4555, owned by PontAuRail, is moved to Nevers.
- May 28 – British Rail Class 42 locomotive D828 Magnificent is withdrawn from regular service.
- June 5 – Amtrak inaugurates the North Coast Hiawatha between Chicago and Seattle as a combination of the former Northern Pacific Railway North Coast Limited and Milwaukee Road Olympian Hiawatha services.
- The short terminus section of the Greenock and Ayrshire Railway at Greenock Prince's Pier in Scotland is reopened.
- July 1 – The electric wires on the Uchibō Line in Japan are extended from Chikura to Awa-Kamogawa.
- July 25 – A brake failure on the Seattle Center Monorail's red train results in it striking the girder at the end of the track in the Seattle Center station, injuring 26 passengers.
- July 29 – The first train on the newly restored heritage railway, the Valley Railroad in Connecticut, operates from Essex to Deep River.
- August 25 – The Akita–Aomori section of the Ōu Main Line in Japan is converted to alternating current electrification.
- August 28 – British Rail Class 42 locomotive D870 Zulu is withdrawn from regular service.
- September 10 – British Columbia Premier W.A.C. Bennett presides over the opening ceremonies for Pacific Great Eastern's Fort Nelson Subdivision.
- October 1 – Walt Disney World in Florida opens with the Walt Disney World Railroad as one of its main attractions.
- October 3 – British Rail Class 42 locomotives D804 Avenger, D808 Centaur, D809 Champion, D815 Druid, D817 Foxhound, D819 Goliath, D822 Hercules, D823 Hermes, D831 Monarch, D833 Panther, D834 Pathfinder, D835 Pegasus, D839 Relentless, D841 Roebuck, D842 Royal Oak, D844 Spartan, D845 Sprightly, D852 Tenacious, D853 Thruster, D854 Tiger, D855 Triumph, D857 Undaunted, D858 Valorous, D861 Vigilant, D862 Viking, D868 Zephyr and D869 Zest are withdrawn from regular service.
- October 15 – SNCF's Turbotrain is operated in test runs up to 252 km/h.
- October 18 – British Rail Class 42 locomotives D826 Jupiter and D867 Zenith are withdrawn from regular service.
- October 26 – A member of the New Zealand Railways JA class is used to power the last regularly scheduled steam-hauled revenue service.
- General Motors Electro-Motive Division discontinues the EMD SD38AC model diesel-electric locomotive.
- A washout on the Upper Works Railway in Scotland creates a gap of around 70 feet in the track.
- November 14 – Amtrak issues its first revised timetable of passenger train schedules.
- Transwa introduces new diesel multiple unit trainsets for the Transwa Prospector service between Perth, Western Australia, and Kalgoorlie.
- December 6 – Auto-Train Corporation begins operations of the Auto-Train between Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida.
- Alstom begins production of the class BB 15000 electric locomotive model for SNCF.
- London Transport withdraws the last steam locomotives from regular service.
- SBB introduces the Re 4/4III class locomotives on the Gotthard line.
- The last industrial steam locomotive built in Britain is completed at Hunslet Engine Company for export to Java.
- The last British Rail Class 04 diesel locomotives are withdrawn from service.
- The last NCC Class WT steam locomotives, the last steam locomotives in regular service in Britain, are withdrawn.
- The last British Rail Class 23 'Baby Deltics' are withdrawn from service.
- Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits ends its own operations on the Orient Express route, instead leasing the equipment to the various national railway companies along the route.
- Canadian National Railway begins a rebuild program on the UAC TurboTrain equipment, converting the five seven-car sets to three nine-car sets. The leftover power and passenger cars are sold to Amtrak as two 4-car sets.
- SNCF's ETG (Elément à Turbine à Gaz), a four-carriage trainset with 188 seats, one diesel engine and one gas turbine engine, enters service on a route connecting Paris-Caen-Cherbourg, France.
- Deutsche Bahn introduces its InterCity passenger train service in Germany to complement and eventually replace Trans Europ Express service.
- The tracks of the former Edgware, Highgate and London Railway in London are removed.
- A/S Graakalbanen, the company that built and operated Gråkallbanen in Trondheim, Norway, is merged into Trondheim Sporvei.
- Williams Electric Trains, manufacturer of reproduction vintage Lionel and Ives Standard gauge model trains, is founded.
- Most of the Forest railway of Vychylovka in present day Slovakia is dismantled.
- The northern section of Lidingöbanan in Stockholm, Sweden, is shut down and abandoned.
- Fire destroys the original Rio Grande water tower at Antonito, Colorado, then part of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.
- Planning begins on the then Eidan subway lines, Hanzomon, Chiyoda and Yurakucho lines to help relieve congestion on the Ginza Line.
- The Peak Park Planning Board and Derbyshire County Council purchase the track bed of the former Cromford and High Peak Railway in England to convert it into the High Peak Trail.
- The Naganohara-Kusatsu-guchi to Tsumagoi section of the Agatsuma Line in Japan is opened.
- Illinois Railway Museum erects the first equipment storage barn to protect the preserved rail equipment from the weather.
- Preserved narrow gauge 2-6-2T steam locomotive Russell of the Welsh Highland Railway is sent to Lakeside Railway Estates Co. Ltd. at Carnforth for further repairs.
- Tünel, an underground funicular in Istanbul, Turkey, is renovated and modernized, and the original wooden cars are replaced by metal ones.