Penn Line schedule change: April 23
There will be a Penn Line schedule change effective Monday, April 23. Weekend schedules will not change. The weekday changes taking effect are:
- Train 511 (currently the 5:45am departure from Perryville) will depart Perryville, Aberdeen and Edgewood stations twenty minutes earlier and Martin Airport station fifteen minutes earlier. It will resume its current schedule at Penn Station, departing at 6:30am.
- Train 537 (currently the 2:30pm departure from Perryville) will depart all scheduled stations Perryville-Washington five minutes earlier.
- Train 449 (currently the 6:25pm departure from Penn Station) will depart all scheduled stations Baltimore-Washington ten minutes later.
- Train 579 (currently the 6:35pm departure from Perryville) will depart all scheduled stations Perryville-Baltimore three minutes later and arrive at Penn Station at 7:30pm
- Train 520 (currently the 12:20pm departure from Washington) will depart all scheduled stations Washington-Perryville ten minutes earlier
- Train 634 (currently the 4:43pm departure from Washington) will depart Washington, New Carrollton, and Seabrook stations three minutes earlier. It will resume its existing schedule at Bowie State University.
- Train 642 (currently the 5:53pm departure from Washington) will depart Washington, New Carrollton, and Seabrook stations three minutes earlier. It will resume its existing schedule at Bowie State University.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about this schedule change
Why are these changes necessary? The schedule was just changed four weeks ago.
The most recent Penn Line schedule took effect on March 10 when Amtrak--who owns, operates, and maintains the Penn Line--began trackwork between Bowie and Odenton. . After three weeks of operating this schedule, MARC Train and Amtrak management have identified poorly performing trains. Making adjustments to the trains listed above will not only improve their reliability, but improve the reliability of other trains that follow them. For example, the changes outlined above for Train 634 will allow better timing for an Amtrak Acela Express train to pass it between Seabrook and Bowie State University. This in turn will keep the train on schedule, and prevent it from delaying Train 536 (the 5:10pm Perryville express train).
Why does Train 511 have to depart stops north of Baltimore 20 minutes earlier, but still arrive at stations south of Baltimore to Washington at the same time?
Train 511 has been late many days due to following Amtrak train 67 from Perryville. Amtrak has no flexibility to alter Train 67’s schedule for several reasons, including trackwork taking place at other locations along the Northeast Corridor and strict time/operational windows south of Washington, DC and through Richmond, VA. When 511 is late, it not only becomes very crowded (causing additional delay) but it affects Train 413, which follows 15 minutes after. Numerous schedule revisions were analyzed and the chosen option:
- Moves where Amtrak 67 passes Train 511 from Perryville to the Martin Airport area;
- Continues to get passengers boarding north of Baltimore into Washington at 7:36am (a common complaint about the current lateness); and
- Restores on-time service for all passengers, including those boarding from Baltimore south to Washington, on both Train 511 and 413.
The only other option to ensure on time performance would be to run Train 511 on essentially its existing schedule, but hold it in Baltimore for a 6:45am departure, which would put it into Washington at 7:50am, too late for most passengers to be at work by 8:00am.
Why can’t Train 511 skip some stops south of Baltimore to speed it up?
Ridership on Train 511 is significant at all stations between Baltimore and Washington. The trains that operate before and after 511 do not have the capacity to transport the passengers that would be displaced by 511 skipping stations.
Why are Trains 634 and 642 leaving Washington earlier?
These changes are necessary in order to better coordinate Amtrak trains passing both 634 and 642 between Seabrook and Bowie State University stations. There is no other option but to hold for these Amtrak trains to pass the MARC trains due to one of three tracks being out of service between Bowie and Odenton.
What else is being done to address Penn Line On-Time performance?
We will be introducing several of our eight new Siemens SC-44 Charger locomotives into Penn Line service in the very near future. Revenue testing of the Chargers started April 5th on the Camden Line and the first revenue test will occur on the Penn Line during the week of April 16. During revenue testing, a Charger is paired with one of our current MP-36 locomotives for redundancy and testing/calibration purposes. Chargers will be prioritized for assignment to seven and eight car rush hour trains – especially those operating north of Baltimore -- as they are released for solo revenue service. The higher horsepower and higher maximum speed of the Chargers will help with on time performance and reduce occurrences of MARC trains having to stop and wait for Amtrak trains to pass. Until all Chargers are fully deployed, there will be days when Perryville trains operate with one of our current locomotives and that may result in delays.
MARC Train management will continue to work with Amtrak to ensure that our trains are operated as scheduled and minimize delays. However, some delays are unavoidable when one of three tracks in a seven mile segment is removed from service. MARC Penn Line service has been and will continue to experience 5-10 minute delays due to the trackwork. The work, much like maintenance on the highways you drive, is necessary to maintain a safe and comfortable ride for all passengers. This trackwork project will continue through September.
We recognize that schedule changes, especially a significant change like Train 511, is disruptive to your daily routine and we regret any inconvenience. MARC Train management will be handing out schedules at Washington Union Station on Wednesday, April 18 from 3:00pm to 6:30pm and will be available to address any concerns you have.
Thank you for riding MARC Train.