West Virginia MARC Train Service Action Alert
August 15, 2019
Help Preserve Service To Martinsburg
The proposed cutbacks, which could go into effect November 4th, would eliminate two of the three current weekday rounds which serve Martinsburg, Duffield and Harpers Ferry. The trains would continue to operate as far as Brunswick, MD.
Current West Virginia ridership averages about 250 passengers per day. Cuts in service into West Virginia could have negative effects on the Brunswick and Point of Rocks stations, as well as the already extremely heavy traffic on Interstate 270, if West Virginia passengers decide to drive to those stations to catch the train, or simply drive to their jobs in Montgomery County and Washington. The parking lot at the Brunswick station is already typically quite crowded.
The proposed cutbacks come following a two-year dispute between the two states over funding for the commuter rail system to West Virginia stations. There's been resistance in the West Virginia Legislature to fund the MARC service, which some lawmakers view as serving primarily riders from a small section of the state commuting to relatively high-paying jobs in the greater Washington, DC region.
Maryland DOT/MTA notified the West Virginia State Rail Authority more than two years ago, of a required payment of $3.4 million for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20), in order to continue current levels of MARC Train service to West Virginia. The West Virginia State Legislature has appropriated only $1.1 million for MARC Train service in FY20, $2.3 million dollars less than Maryland DOT/MTA is requiring.
The public hearing is scheduled for:
Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Charles Town Public Library
200 E. Washington Street
Charles Town, WV 25414
MarylandDOT/MTA is also be accepting public comment on the proposed reduction of service through Monday, October 7, 2019.
We ask that you share your support for maintaining and enhancing commuter rail to preserve frequencies along this vital economic corridor.
Rail Passengers Maryland is planning to have a presence at the September 7, 2019 public hearing and would invite all who are able to attend to join us.
"I wish to extend my appreciation to members of the Rail Passengers Association for their steadfast advocacy to protect not only the Southwest Chief, but all rail transportation which plays such an important role in our economy and local communities. I look forward to continuing this close partnership, both with America’s rail passengers and our bipartisan group of senators, to ensure a bright future for the Southwest Chief route."
Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS)
April 2, 2019, on receiving the Association's Golden Spike Award for his work to protect the Southwest Chief