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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 02/ 9/2011

Major MARC delays and cancellations

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

There are major headaches for MARC riders this morning: All Frederick trains are canceled this morning due to a disabled freight train blocking entry to the main tracks. This is nixing trains 890, 892 and 894. Frederick passengers can take buses to Point of Rocks to meet Brunswick trains, while Monocacy passengers can take MARC Commuter Bus 991 to Shady Grove Metro station. Metro will honor MARC tickets.

Meanwhile, there will be some crowding on several MARC trains because they are running one car short this morning: Trains 401, 503, 415 and 417.

By Mark Berman  | February 9, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  MARC  
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The Federal government should take over MARC and VRE. This is irresponsible to run a service that basically can't meet schedule. Without improvement, and substantial change, the whole system should be shut down and money put into a system that works everyday reliably. Do you think in Beijing or Tokyo, people have to wait for freight trains to get to work? No way.

Posted by: paulnolan97 | February 9, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Delays are common everywhere. Very few commuter rail lines have dedicated tracks. Much of the METRA system in Chicago, for example, run on tracks that are also used by freight. It would be lovely have dedicated rail for commuter lines. Its too expensive. The next best alternative is what we have in the Washington Area with the MARC Penn Line -- commuter trains running on multitracked main lines.

Posted by: dcraven925 | February 9, 2011 8:01 AM | Report abuse

paulnolan97, do you even ride the train? Or think before you post? Or even actually READ the article? The trains are cancelled because of a disabled freight train. MARC and VRE do not run freight trains. So the reason for the cancellation is a PRIVATE company(CSX or whoever owns those lines) had a train break down. The tracks are PRIVATELY owned, not owned by the government.

Your statement is akin to me saying that because a tractor-trailer blocked lines on I95 during the ice storm, the government should control all cars. Just as the cars had nothing to do with the tractor-trailer except using the same road, the MARC and VRE have nothing to do with freight trains except sharing the same tracks. In fact, by your logic the governemnt should have a better chance of taking over everyone's cars, since at least the roads are publicly owned, but the tracks aren't.

At least half of all delays(on the VRE at least) are due to track or freight problems- i.e. the equivalent of congestion. The rest are due to engine problems. In neither case does the government have to control the trains. It could just give them money for new engines. (Which it has for the VRE and they have ordered. It just takes time to make them.)

I take the VRE into work everyday, and get in reliably at the same time. Certainly better than if I had to worry about whether an accident would make me late everyday. Let's compare- the only major delay I've had in the last couple of months was the day after the ice storm. How many times were you later than expected getting into work or getting home? Did you have problems with the ice? I didn't.

And in Tokyo, they have tracks dedicated to high speed rail which do not run freight trains. Unless you're willing to fork over billions of dollars to make a separate rail line, that's not going to happen.

Posted by: barbaramusser | February 9, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

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