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For Immediate Release: March 23, 2012

MARC PASSENGERS TO FIND CONNECTING AT UNION STATION EASIER, MORE PREDICTABLE, LESS OF A HIKE

Board of Public Works Approves Improved Layover Facility for MARC Trains

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND (MARCH 23, 2012) – For MARC Train Service patrons, boarding and exiting trains at Union Station in Washington D.C. has often meant long hikes, uncertainty and occasional delays as MARC train platforms were switched around from day to day to accommodate Amtrak trains. At least part of the reason for the frustration has been that MARC trains spent their layover time between morning and evening rush hours parked inside or far outside Union Station, requiring multiple re-configurations of rails and platforms in the course of a day. That’s about to change.


Governor Martin O’Malley and the Maryland Board of Public Works has approved a $21.33 million contract to construct a designated storage area for MARC trains that are currently stored at Union Station during mid-day layovers. The facility for MARC electric and diesel-hauled trains will consist of three tracks constructed exclusively for the use of MARC trains, with capacity for three additional tracks for future expansion.

The new arrangement, planned to be in full operation by 2014, is intended to shorten the long walks to and from trains arriving and departing from Union Station that have characterized travel on MARC service, as well as minimize arrival and departure delays. Union Station itself is also expecting to enjoy smoother operation as a result of it being fully utilized as a traditional train station, instead of a combination train station and storage yard.

According to MTA Administrator Ralign Wells, “We welcome this decision by the Board of Public Works to support MARC Train Service riders. Because of Governor O’Malley’s commitment to convenient and affordable public transportation, the MTA has made this improvement for our MARC patrons a key goal. While we value every improvement to service for MARC riders, we are confident that this investment – which has been in the planning stages for over a decade – will make a major difference in the quality of commuting that they have come to expect.”

With over eight million boardings every year, MARC trains are a vital link between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, as well as their far-flung suburbs. Not all MARC patrons travel to Union Station, but it is the busiest of all MARC stations, with approximately 15,000 daily riders. The new layover facility (officially designated the “Wedge Storage Yard at Union Station”) will be located along New York Avenue near Amtrak’s Ivy City yard, east of Union Station.

John Hovatter, Director of MARC Operations, said, “The housing and maintaining of the trains in close proximity to the station, without having to remain inside the station, will enable trains to be deployed more efficiently as they are needed, versus the continuous shuffling of trains that has been necessary to date.”

For more information on MTA service, visit the MTA website at www.mta.maryland.gov. Customers can also call the MTA Transit Information Center Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at
410-539-5000. (TTY 410-539-3497) To sign-up for e-mail about service modifications and delays, click “e-mail notification” at www.mta.maryland.gov.

CONTACT:
Terry Owens
Office: 410-767-3936
Cellular: 443-804-8522

John Wesley
Office: 410-767-3935
Cellular: 443-418-5732

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