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All-Day Two-Way MARC Service

If you live near a MARC station on the train line from Washington D.C to Frederick and Brunswick, Maryland, it's a great way to commute, but only if your schedule fits the MARC schedule. Right now the trains only go one way for a few hours in the morning, and the other way for a few hours in the afternoon. Trains should run seven days a week all day in both directions.

A plan drawn up in 2007 by Maryland transportation planners, called the MARC Growth and Investment Plan, would vastly improve service on the commuter train line from Washington to Frederick and Brunswick. Trains would run all day 7 days a week in both directions, and in rush hour trains would run every 15 minutes from Union Station through Rockville and Germantown to Point of Rocks. Rush-hour trains would go to Frederick and Brunswick every half hour. Mid-day, evening, and weekend trains would run every hour, alternating between Frederick and Brunswick termini.

The key to all-day MARC service is adding a third track along as much as possible of the CSX rail line between Silver Spring and Point of Rocks, to make room for both passenger and freight trains. Also needed are a new platform at Point of Rocks so that trains to Frederick City can pick up passengers there, and a second track between Point of Rocks and Frederick.

More recently, the Maryland Dept. of Transportation has suggested that any third track additions would be delayed until after 2030. However, MDOT pays great attention to the "priorities letter" it gets annually from each county government in the state. At ACT's urging, the 2015 letter from Montgomery County asked MDOT to develop a plan for all-day MARC service. Frederick County has not yet joined in this request.

Total cost of the planned improvements on the train line to Frederick and Brunswick was estimated in 2007 at $560 million, but the plan can be carried out in stages as money is available. Each stage would add more trains.

When Governor Hogan canceled the Red Line light rail in Baltimore in June, he allocated $100 million to do something on I-270 south of Shady Grove. However, the state has no specific plan for how this money will be spent. ACT believes that this money should be used to build passing tracks and buy cars and locomotives so that MARC can run more trains to Frederick.

All-day MARC service is part of the comprehensive transit plan that ACT advocates for the I-270 corridor.

Make your voice heard for seven-day service on MARC: