Reporting Alex DeMetrick
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– There’s encouraging news for rail passengers who use MARC train in and out of Baltimore. You could soon get a chance to ride, both nights and weekends.
Alex DeMetrick has details of a strategy aimed at making MARC train riders’ lives easier.
When the sun goes down, so does the number of MARC trains making the commuter run between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. And the weekends, it stops all together.
So, how about this for an idea:
“First and foremost, it’s getting more trains on the tracks at more hours of the day, more days of the week,” said Michele Whelley of the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA).
According to a strategy by the CMTA, that isn’t just wishful thinking– more late night service for commuters and trains running to D.C. on the weekends.
“I think that would be a wonderful situation because I’m a commuter. I work late sometimes and miss the train,” Wanda Spellman, a MARC commuter, said.
“It would be great because it would extend the time you stay over in D.C., do some shopping and even on the weekends, take your family,” MARC commuter Sherby Lawrence said.
“The schedule enhancements could be done without laying more track or buying more rail cars,” Whelley said.
But that means running the existing trains harder, and long-term, that will require improvements.
For starters, there’s a badly needed maintenance yard costing $150 to 300 million, passing track at $10 to 20 million to connect more commuters to the system and new stations, especially at BWI Marshall and Johns Hopkins’ Bayview campus.
“We think it’s a great idea,” Terry Owens, spokesman for the Maryland Transit Administration, said. “It’s been a part of the governor’s vision for the MARC system for years now. Of course, the issue is funding.”
And MARC riders have been hearing that for years.
Although even just a few more late trains would be welcome now, rail commuter groups are hoping to see some help this legislative session when it comes time to distribute the transportation fund.
Currently, MARC runs three trains from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore between 7 p.m. and midnight.