We Need All-Day, Two-Way, Seven Day, MARC Trains
All Day. Every Day. Two Way. That’s the three-part recipe for a effective rail system. But right now, not even one of these ingredients is present on MARC’s Brunswick Line.
Instead the trains run solely Monday through Friday into DC for a few hours in the morning, and out of DC for a few hours in the evening. This out of date commuter centric approach ignores:
- Anyone who lives in DC and commutes out to Maryland
- Anyone who doesn’t work a traditional 9 to 5 job or works weekends
- Anyone who wants to travel for non-work reasons
Ignoring so many different parts of the population is shortsighted and severely limits the benefits regional train service can bring. If trains were focused on moving people around the region rather than just suburb to downtown commuters, so many different trips would become possible without a car.
If you live in Gaithersburg or Germantown, you could walk to the train station and take the kids to the Smithsonian on a Saturday. You could take the train to Frederick and shop or have dinner. You could go into DC Friday night for date night, and you wouldn't need a designated driver. You could commute from Montgomery County to work in Frederick County. And every one of these trips would take a car off the road, reducing traffic.
ACT advocates for all day, every day, both direction service all the way to Fredrick, Hagerstown and Brunswick (if not further to Martinsburg, WV). This means:
1) Adding a third track along much of the line between Silver Spring and Point of Rocks, and a second track between Point of Rocks and Frederick, so that regular passenger service can operate alongside existing freight rail demand.
2) Upgrading stations where necessary to allow passenger boarding where not currently possible.
3) Increasing MARC funding as necessary to a run at minimum one train every hour in each direction off peak, and up to four trains an hour on peak to point of rocks, and two trains an hour to Brunswick and Fredrick. This frequency can (and likely will) be increased as demand rises.
Planners have been talking about this since at least 2007 in the MARC Growth and Investment Plan, where they laid out a comprehensive 4 phase plan (see below) which when complete would provide the region with the train service it needs and deserves.
By creating effective regional train service, we will help grow our local economy, save people time and money, and reduce both traffic and pollution. It's a win for everyone. It’s time to make it happen!