More MARC delays anger passengers
2:05 p.m. Update: The MARC news just keeps coming in. The Riders Advisory Council just announced a special meeting for 4 p.m. Wednesday "to specifically address the recent service disruptions on the Penn Line." Beverley K. Swaim-Staley is scheduled to speak to the council about the recent problems and the investigation.
1:55 p.m. Update: Amtrak and the Maryland Transit Administration will hold a special session of the "Meet the MARC Managers" at Union Station on Wednesday from 4:30 until 6:30 p.m., according to the MTA. The officials who plan to be present are Amtrak CEO Joseph H. Boardman, Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley and MTA Administrator Ralign T. Wells, MTA said.
A previously planned Meet the MARC Managers event will be Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. at Union Station.
By Liz F. Kay and Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun
Trouble continued to dog the MARC commuter system Monday as trains were delayed for problems ranging from brake failure to malfunctioning traffic signals to downed trees.
In the morning, a southbound MARC train experienced mechanical trouble, delaying Washington-bound commuters on the Penn Line, according to the Maryland Transit Administration.
In the afternoon, at least one Washington-bound Camden Line train was running more than an hour late, while a northbound train on the same line was reported 37 minutes late as it approached Dorsey station after being delayed by signal problems and a downed tree.
In the evening, several riders reported train No. 538 on the Penn Line, without prior notice, missed the Odenton stop. Passengers who were expecting to get off there instead disembarked at the BWI station and had to take a train back to Odenton. The crew said the stop was skipped because of track conditions.
MARC passenger Danielle Brinkley was on the last train from Washington to Baltimore, which was supposed to leave the capital at 10:30 p.m., but as of midnight it was still awaiting a different engine. Officials told passengers they could wait in the station because the air conditioning had to be turned off to switch out the engine, Brinkley said.
"The train should have arrived in Baltimore at 11:30, and we haven't even left D.C. yet," she said after midnight.
About 8 a.m., Train No. 411 stopped at the New Carrollton station with problems with its air brakes and passengers were let off, said MTA spokesman Terry Owens.
Some were picked up by other trains after about 30 to 40 minutes, he said, while others chose to continue on the Washington Metro.
Owens said all passengers were able to continue on their way before 9.a.m.
Other trains ran about 30 minutes behind schedule as a result of the problem, he said. A rescue locomotive was sent out to recover the stalled train and push it to Washington.
Metro honored MARC tickets, Owens said.
The spokesman said the air-conditioning continued to work while the train was stalled.
A week before, the air-conditioning on a northbound Penn Line train malfunctioned after the train stalled near Cheverly, and nearly 1,000 passengers were stranded for two hours in sweltering conditions.
That incident, which remains under investigation, prompted apologies from the chief executives of the MTA and Amtrak. It also became a topic in the political clash between Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, who took a ride on a MARC train later in the week to talk with riders, and former Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., his expected re-election rival.
Owens said Monday that the cause of last week's malfunction had not yet been determined.
Has your commute been complicated by the MARC troubles? Post a comment below.
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