Tomorrow the Maryland MARC "commuter" railroad starts regular weekend service on the Penn Line
This was a long time coming, and has been realized because Maryland increased its gasoline tax. See the MTA Maryland press release, "MARC Begins Weekend Service December 2013."
There will be nine trains in each direction on Saturday, starting at 7:35am from Baltimore, and 9:05am from DC, and the last train leaves at 9:15pm from Baltimore and 10:35pm from DC.
The Sunday schedule has six trains in each direction, with a bit too early of cessation of service in my opinion, as the last train leaves Baltimore at 5:30pm and Washington at 7:00pm.
-- Train Schedule, MARC Weekend Service
Note that as part of the service expansion, it would be nice to bring back the one additional late night train that ran Monday through Friday which cancelled a few years ago in the face of the recession-based budget cutbacks. Before the change, the last train left Baltimore after 10pm, and the last train from DC left after 11pm.
In honor of the expansion, I suggest the following past entries:
1. Most importantly, based on ideas outlined by Dan Malouff of BeyondDC, in 2006 I wrote a blog entry suggesting the creation of an integrated single passenger railroad system serving the Chesapeake region, which I call "RACER," which stands for Railroad Authority of the Chesapeake Region.
-- A regional railroad passenger transportation vision for DC, MD, VA, WV and parts of PA
-- Regional transportation planning and fixed rail service
-- Why don't Maryland and West Virginia think about expanding MARC into a true regional system?
2. This is an interesting one, about MARC service issues and ideas, from when I used to ride MARC to Baltimore when I worked in Baltimore County.
-- The cost of a MARC train and other (service) issues
3. I really like how the railroad service in Southern California, Metrolink, does marketing. That level of creativity is missing in the DC-Baltimore region. I've written about this as part of other entries.
Also the Amtrak Cascades program run by the states of Washington and Oregon, Amtrak California, and the Downeaster service from Maine run by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority do better marketing and program development than the typical states (and Amtrak). Although Virginia is actually amongst best practice examples for state-initiated Amtrak expansion.
-- Amtrak service to Norfolk, Virginia launches Wednesday
4. Speaking of long term implications for creating an integrated and more wide ranging passenger rail system in the region, these pieces discuss some of these issues as they relate to Union Station in DC and increasing its capacity, and improving connections between DC and Richmond, Virginia.
-- this discusses more than the title would indicate, Dual powered diesel-electric locomotive introduced into service at NJ Transit and implications for long range regional railroad planning in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
-- DC Union Station, Master Plan etc.
-- Union Station Master Plan, Washington DC
-- Master planning and DC's Union Station intermodal transportation center
Flickr image by SoCal Metro.