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Big MARC delays

Mark Berman

8:10 A.M. UPDATE:
Train 410 is now running 20 to 30 minutes behind, while train 411 is arriving at Odenton running 40 minutes behind.

7:50 A.M. UPDATE:
Now Amtrak train 151 is canceled due to signal problems. The next available train is MARC train 521 (departing from Perryville at 9:01 a.m.).

7:30 A.M. UPDATE:
Add one more: Train 411 is running 20 minutes late in West Baltimore.

7:25 A.M. UPDATE:
Another train, another delay: Train 844 (departing at 8:05 a.m.) is running about 15-20 minutes late.

7:05 A.M. UPDATE:
Train 876 is now running ahead of train 892. Train 892 is running about 30 minutes late. And for impacted Brunswick Line travelers, Metro will accept your MARC tickets.

6:50 A.M. UPDATE:
Train 892 is holding to the west of Barnesville due to disabled freight train. Expect at least 30-40 minutes of delays.

6:30 A.M. UPDATE:
Train 400 approaching Odenton is running 15 minutes late due to Amtrak congestion.

6:10 A.M. UPDATE:
Add one more train to that list: Brunswick Line train 878 (departing at 6:30 a.m.) will run one car short this morning.

The three trains on MARC's Penn Line that ran one car short yesterday morning will be running one car short today as well, which could lead to crowding. The trains are 503 (departing Perryville at 4:40 a.m.), 402 (departing Washington at 6:45 a.m.) and 415 (departing Baltimore at 7:40 a.m.)

By Mark Berman  | August 11, 2010; 5:48 AM ET
Categories:  MARC  
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Apparently train 513 (one of the shortened trains) was so crowded today that the police were called while the train was held at BWI. (check twitter for all the #marcfail this morning).

When already-SRO trains run a car short, and then are delayed, overcrowding is a given. MARC needs to come up with a way of dealing with delays and crowding when closely scheduled trains are delayed. You have trains departing Penn station at 7:00am, 7:15am, and 7:40am (there's a similar situation or two in the afternoon starting with trains departing DC at 4:15, 4:24, and 4:46). Even a minor delay means passengers from one or more trains waiting at a station, ready to board the first train to arrive, late or not.

The 411 had been running quite well during the track work between Baltimore and DC - mainly because they always had a training ready and waiting in Baltimore. Now that the track work is over, the 411 is back to waiting for an arrival from DC, which often runs a few minutes late, and seems to take forever to be 'turned around' for departure Even a few minutes delay for the 411 puts it close to the 513 (7:15 Penn dep). Which makes for a fun gamble: take the local 411 or wait for the 513 express?

It's always a mess, always confusion, and always apologies with nothing ever really changing.

And will somebody please get an answer to the question that commuters keep asking: Why are these crowded rush hour trains running with one less car?

Posted by: zizzy | August 11, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the opportunity to explain why two of MARC's rush hour trains are running with one less car. It's a combination of routine and necessary maintenance. With temperatures in the 90's the weather continues to be an issue. MTA is working with Amtrak to keep the fleet operational, but safety is our top priority.

Terry Owens
MTA Media Relations

Posted by: towens21 | August 11, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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