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Commuter Alert: Amtrak, MARC Train Penn Line Service Disrupted Between D.C. and Baltimore

Amtrak has halted all train service between Baltimore and Washington, including MARC Penn Line trains, due to a major water main break in Maryland.

Baltimore Public Works spokesman Kurt Kocher says a 36-inch water main broke in the Halethorpe area, north of the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport station.

Amtrak crews are clearing the site of debris, but trains likely won't run until 3 p.m. Amtrak said riders between Washington and Philadelphia will likely experience problems all day Wednesday.

The Maryland Transit Administration is running shuttle buses for MARC riders between Penn Station in Baltimore and Odenton.

Howard County, which gets about 25 percent of its water from the main, is asking residents to cut water use. Six schools near the main closed early.

--Associated Press

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 29, 2009; 12:06 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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Next: MARC Anticipates Some Penn Line Relief Today


The biggest problem with MARC is communication with the customers. We sat on a train for 45+ minutes - barely cleared Penn Station only to stop and be returned to Penn just late enough to miss any opportunity to catch the last Camden train from Baltimore. No announcements were being made about shuttle bus service as well. MARC commuters deserve better than this (and Pocari is now gonna run things at the Federal level? ... God help us)

Posted by: zizzy | April 29, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock, do you know what happened on the Red line to Grosvenor/Shady Grove yesterday (4/28) around 5 pm? My train halted in the tunnel between Cleveland Park and Van Ness for almost 20 minutes. The operator initially said that the train in front of us had mechanical trouble, but from the way our train was lurching forward by inches, it seemed our train was having trouble, too. This was confirmed when the operator took the train out of service at Van Ness (where the passengers fron the train in front of us had already been off-loaded). Then, a train going to Tenleytown/AU appears on the other side of the platform. When I finally got home, the only thing on the WMATA website was that there was a Red line due to a track problem between Judiciary Square and Farragut North! And I never got an e-mail alert about any problems. What happened???

Posted by: WashingtonDame | April 29, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse


I was on the first train that was off loaded last night. They were indeed having mechanical problems with it in that they could not get it to move. Your train was the one behind, and it started to move up slowly because it was pushing the down train. You had to get off of the train as Metro will not have passengers on a train that is pushing another train. They started to single track around the two trains, which is why the train heading to shady grove appeared on the other side of the platform.

Posted by: vtHokies1998 | April 29, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

There were a flood of Metro security officers on the Takoma platform this morning. They stood waiting for each train, and then stepped in and scanned each car while it was at the station. Then they stepped out and waited for the next car.

Is this a periodical thing that Metro does? Or is/was something up?

Posted by: mcarrano | April 29, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

WashingtonDame – I got on the Red line (heading in the direction of Shady Grove at Dupont a little after 5:30. My train waited in the station for maybe 15-20 minutes (actually, I don't know how long the train was there for - it was already stopped in the station when I arrived) – we were told that a train at Van Ness was having mechanical problems. And then we were told the problem at been resolved. Oh wait no! Just kidding – the same train was having mechanical problems again. Ultimately, we were told our train was no longer going to Shady Grave, and was instead returning to Glenmont, and we were offloaded. By that time, there were way too many people on the platform, so I decided to exit the station and try to catch on of the L buses up Connecticut. Except…no L bus ever came. I was waiting, along with a large group of others, at the stop near Connecticut/Florida. I knew that even if/when a bus did come, it would probably already be packed w/other would-be Red line riders, so I ended up walking to Woodley and then grabbing a cab for the rest of the way home. My usual 10 minute commute home (I live in Van Ness) ended up taking an hour and a half! Btw, during the entire time I was walking/in a cab on Connecticut, NO bus ever went by! At least it was a nice day…

As for an e-mail alert, I don't subscribe to those (I know, I should...), but a coworker told me this morning that she did an alert about all this.

Posted by: DC84 | April 29, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Can I humbly suggest to folks that use this line to take the day off or work from home-- if at all possible? I've experienced this delay twice before. The first time, I didn't get to my job in NE until 11 AM using an 8 AM train.

Posted by: signof4 | April 29, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, meant to say that a coworker told me she did GET an alert about the situation.

Posted by: DC84 | April 29, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Who cares? Only losers ride the train anyway.

Posted by: FridayKnight | April 29, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

vtHokes1998 and DC84,

Thanks to both of you for your posts. I appreciate finding out what happened last night. What a mess last night was.

DC84, I used to work in Dupont Circle and the L bus was the most direct route home for me, but I gave up on it because it never seemed to have anything close to a schedule. You could wait anywhere from 5 minutes to 30 minutes for one to arrive.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | April 29, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Are there alternate routes from DC to Baltimore/Philly? Hop on a Greyhound? I'm worried about my evening Amtrak northbound . . .

Posted by: museum_lady | April 29, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

If the train is not running from DC, you could take metro to Greenbelt Metro Station and then take the B30 to BWI airport. From there get on the light rail into Baltimore. Lots of transfers but you would get there!

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | April 29, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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