Reporting Pat Warren
HALETHORPE, Md. (WJZ) — Tens of thousands of Marylanders depend on MARC train service for their workday commutes. The state showed off its latest investment Monday.
Political reporter Pat Warren reports one of the busiest stops on the Penn Line is finally user-friendly.
There’s something new for commuters to experience at the new Halethorpe station on the MARC train Penn Line.
The pedestrian walkway is part of the nearly $33 million in improvements at the station.
“Five, six years ago, when we would have events at MARC stations, it was to apologize for trains breaking down or for tracks being in such poor repair,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.
Who can forget the summer of 2010, when trouble on the tracks seemed almost routine?
“It got to be 107 degrees inside the train,” said one rider.
“It was terrible. It was so hot, it was traumatic,” said another.
“There was a couple of people that passed out on the train,” said a third.
Some MARC service issues may remain a challenge but access is markedly improved for the 1,300 commuters who use the Halethorpe station.
“And certainly rebuilding our transportation infrastructure, making mass transit a much more available and attractive option, these are things we can only do together,” said O’Malley.
That means cooperation with the federal government, which kicked in $22 million for the project.
“I’m one of those people who drives back and forth to Washington every day because of where I live and my schedule. I tell you, being able to take the train back and forth to Washington creates jobs in our community. It also saves lives from heart attacks and things like that when you look at the traffic problems,” said Senator Ben Cardin.
The Edgewood and West Baltimore stations are also showing improvement.
The average daily ridership for MARC reached 39,000 in the month of June, an all-time record.
Since 2007, $537 million has been invested in MARC train improvements.