ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 12, 2007) – Governor Martin O’Malley today announced he is adding service to the MARC Commuter Rail Penn Line operating between Washington’s Union Station and Baltimore. Three new trains will be added to boost capacity during the afternoon rush hour and provide late evening service for the first time. The new service is the first step toward implementing the Governor’s comprehensive MARC Growth and Investment Plan released earlier this fall. The service expansion also will provide additional capacity needed as jobs flow into the state as part of the federal government’s Base Realignment and Closure effort. Currently, MARC carries 30,000 riders a day.
“We are committed to improving the MARC system for the thousands of commuters who depend on it everyday to get back and forth to work,” said Governor O’Malley. “Demand is currently so high that on some trains bound for Baltimore during the evening rush hour, more than 300 people must stand during their trip home. As we work to improve our transit system in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area, one of our goals is to increase capacity by adding trains and providing evening service for those who need it.”
As part of Governor O’Malley’s MARC service initiative, an additional express train offering 500 seats will be added to the schedule, leaving Union Station at 5:14 PM. This will greatly reduce overcrowding on the train leaving Washington at 5:20 PM.
The second additional trip will leave Baltimore at 10:30 p.m., stop at the BWI Thurgood Marshall MARC/Amtrak station to pick up late evening airport passengers and then proceed on to Union Station.
The final train out of Washington bound for Baltimore will now be at 11:45 p.m., providing a quality transit option for those commuters who need to work late. The three new trains are scheduled to begin service in early February 2008.
At Governor O’Malley’s direction, the Maryland Transit Administration worked with Amtrak to develop a plan that would accommodate the additional service. MARC trains operate on the Penn Line that is owned by Amtrak. MARC service must be coordinated around the existing Amtrak schedule. Today, the Board of Public Works approved $6 million cover operating costs associated with the new service and improvements needed to accommodate the capacity expansion.
The Governor’s MARC Growth and Investment Plan is a multi-phased, multi-year plan to triple the capacity of the MARC system. The plan establishes a series of improvement milestones for 2008, 2010, 2015, 2020 and 2035. Today's announcement reflects the Governor's commitment to begin meeting the milestones set for 2008. The entire MARC Growth and Investment Plan can be accessed on the Maryland Transit Administration’s website at https://www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/schedulesSystemMaps/MARC_Growth_Investment_Plan.cfm