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All MARC trains delayed

Update 5:30p.m.: The overhead wires that power locomotive engines navigating the Union Station railyards failed this afternoon, and all early-evening MARC trains passing through will experience delays, according to the commuter rail agency.

An Amtrak spokesperson tells the Post's Katherine Shaver that power was out for 25 minutes -- from 4:48 p.m. to 5:12 p.m. -- but has been restored, and the delays are residual. The overhead power lines that power the Amtrak and MARC trains are delicate and very sensitive to high heat.

Original post: When it rains, it pours--and MARC seems to be caught in a storm. MARC 428, a Penn Line train headed towards Baltimore, has suffered a problem with its locomotive and is returning to Union Station, the commuter rail agency announced at about 5p.m. this evening.

Last night, 900 riders were trapped on a train traveling the same route for nearly two hours in dangerously hot conditions, after the train's engine failed--knocking out air conditioning and lights, too--eight minutes after leaving Union Station. The train's windows do not open except via an emergency mechanism. Earlier today, a MARC train was held up at BWI because an Amtrak train was immobile there.

MARC said that Metro will accept the commuter rail passes for its subway trains this evening. MARC offered a pass to those held up on last night's train to help make up for it--but many found them useless, saying most riders held monthly passes.

Passengers have claimed that the electric locomotives can't withstand summertime temperatures, and that this kind of thing occurs with some regularity. But as the outcry after yesterday's incident showed, one thing's for sure: The passengers sure can't withstand those temperatures from within the double-decker cars of stalled trains.

By Luke Rosiak  | June 22, 2010; 5:08 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuter Rail  | Tags:  MARC, Penn Line  
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