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.

Comments (5)
  1. SH says:

    Its great to see MARC improving service and adding an additional train to DC however, i just suggested that they add an extra train from DC to Perryville and was told that they do not have enough trains to do so yet they can do this. I know there may not be as many commuters traveling North as there are traveling south in the evening, however we are customers too.

  2. Baffled In Bel Air says:

    Does it matter at all this is largely fatuous? Any consideration at all about enormous added expense of running it? Problems of Budgets everywhere? Any notice that talk of Fuel Tax increases, which would pay for this, are hardly popular? Must these wonderful trains continue to be paid for by the disadvantaged and poor Statewide?

    Can’t those who wish to do some shopping, or catch a show in DC just pay for it out of their own pockets, and figure how to do their own logistics? It ain’t rocket science!

  3. Phyllis says:

    Baltimore City needs to think strategically if it wants to grow its homeowner tax base. Making it easier for people to live in Baltimore and commute to DC is one of the easiest ways to do it. DC housing costs are enormous compared to Baltimore and people like my new neighbors across the street are willing to buy here because they can get much more for their money (for the price of my 1-bedroom condo in DC, I could easily buy a 3-bedroom house in Baltimore). But they are telecommuters who only need to go into DC once or twice a week. To get more regular commuters, increasing MARC service would help a lot. Improving the connections to the train stations would also help. Believe it or not, that campaign in DC to attract people to Baltimore did bring prospective buyers. One person I knew ultimately decided against it because getting to the train station here was still somewhat difficult, so she bought in a far-flung VA suburb because of the VRE train.

    Yes, times are tough now, but we need to think big picture if we want to grow out of our current slump.

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