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MARC (Maryland Area Regional Commuter), prior to 1984 known as Maryland Rail Commuter Service, is a commuter rail system comprising three lines in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area. MARC is administered by the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), a Maryland Department of Transportation agency, and is operated under contract with CSX Transportation and the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak).
Brunswick Line Edit
The Brunswick Line is MARC's longest line, stretching between Washington, D.C. and Martinsburg, West Virginia. Brunswick Line trains operate over the CSX Metropolitan, Old Main Line, and Cumberland Subdivisions. Stops on the Brunswick Line are as follows:
- Union Station (Washington, D.C.)
- Silver Spring, Maryland
- Kensington, Maryland
- Garrett Park, Maryland
- Rockville, Maryland
- Washington Grove, Maryland
- Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Metropolitan Grove, Maryland
- Germantown, Maryland
- Boyds, Maryland
- Barnesville, Maryland
- Dickerson, Maryland
- Point of Rocks, Maryland
- Brunswick, Maryland
- Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
- Duffields, West Virginia
- Martinsburg, West Virginia
The Camden Line runs between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland (Camden Station), operating over the CSX Capital Subdivision. It began operation in 1830, making it the oldest passenger rail line in the U.S. Stops on the Camden Line are as follows:
- Union Station (Washington, D.C.)
- Riverdale, Maryland
- College Park, Maryland
- Greenbelt, Maryland
- Muirkirk, Maryland
- Laurel, Maryland
- Laurel Race Track
- Savage, Maryland
- Jessup, Maryland
- Dorsey, Maryland
- St. Denis, Maryland
- Baltimore, Maryland (Camden Station)
- Union Station (Washington, D.C.)
- New Carrollton, Maryland
- Seabrook, Maryland
- Bowie, Maryland (Bowie State University)
- Odenton, Maryland
- BWI Airport
- Halethorpe, Maryland
- West Baltimore, Maryland
- Baltimore, Maryland (Baltimore Penn Station)
- Martin State Airport
- Edgewood, Maryland
- Aberdeen, Maryland
- Perryville, Maryland
As the Penn Line is the only electrified MARC line, the AEM-7 and HHP-8 are restricted to only that line. The majority of the Kawasaki cars are operated on the Penn Line, and the Pullman cars are only operated on Brunswick Line trains to Martinsburg. All MARC trains are operated with a cab car, from which the engineer can control the train. The cab car is always at the head of trains travelling toward Washington D.C., and the locomotive is at the head of trains heading away from Washington.
Connections to other rail and transportation servicesEdit
Several of MARC's stations are shared with or are short distances from other rail and transit services:
- At Union Station, the Washington terminus of all three MARC lines, passengers can transfer to Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains, Virginia Railway Express commuter trains, or to the Washington Metro Red Line.
- At Rockville and Silver Spring on the Brunswick Line, passengers can transfer to the Washington Metro Red Line.
- At Greenbelt and College Park on the Camden Line, passengers can transfer to the Washington Metro Green Line.
- At College Park on the Camden Line, passengers can transfer to Shuttle-UM, the bus service serving the area in and around the University of Maryland, College Park, which is located approximately one mile from the MARC station.
- At New Carrollton on the Penn Line, passengers can transfer to the Washington Metro Orange Line, and to Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains.
- At both Camden and Penn Stations, the Baltimore termini of the Camden and Penn Lines, passengers can transfer to the Baltimore Light Rail; at Penn Station, they can additionally transfer to Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains.
The BWI Rail station is close to Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI), though not actually in the terminal itself; a free shuttle bus carries passengers from the station to the terminal every 10 minutes between 5 AM and 1 AM and every 25 minutes between 1 AM and 5 AM.
February 1996 Brunswick Line CrashEdit
On February 16, 1996, during the Friday-evening rush hour, an eastbound MARC train headed to Washington Union Station collided with the westbound Amtrak Capitol Limited headed to Chicago via Pittsburgh]. The collision occured near Georgetown Junction on a snow-swept stretch of track just west of Silver Spring, Maryland. The crash left 11 people dead aboard the MARC train. Three died of injuries suffered in the impact, with the rest killed by smoke and flames; the MARC engineer and two conductors were among the dead.
The NTSB report concluded that the MARC crew apparently forgot the restricting signal aspect of the Kensington CPL's (color position lights) after making a flag stop at Kensington Station. The engineer of the Capitol Limited also apparently increased speed rather than braking in an attempt to make the crossover. The MARC train was operating in push mode with the cab control car out front. The Amtrak locomotive was in the crossover when they hit, the MARC car collided with the second unit, an F40PH, rupturing its fuel tank and igniting the fire that caused most of the casualties. The lead unit was a GE Genesis P40DC, a newer unit which has it's fuel tank shielded in the center of the frame, so a few seconds difference might have avoided the fire. The official investigation also suggests that the accident might have been prevented if a human-factors analysis had been conducted when modifications to the track signaling system were made in 1985.
Proposed March 2006 Station ClosuresEdit
In January 2006, it was announced that four MARC stations would be closed in early March due to low patronage:
- St. Denis (Camden line)
- Jessup (Camden line)
- Dickerson (Brunswick line)
- Boyds (Brunswick line)
At the time, the combined average daily ridership of these stations was 41 passengers. A group of Maryland state senators co-authored an emergency bill that would force the stations to remain open. The then-Maryland Secretary of Transportation, Robert Flanagan, decided to keep the stations open in anticipation of the bill's passing.
- Maryland Transit Administration
- MARC System Map
- MARC Current Train Status Using GPS Technology
- MARC Railfan Site
- MARC Photos
- NTSB publications about 1996 accident
- Complete Story of MARC Accident
- Railfanning.org: MARC Profile