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Report Recommends Shorter, Lighter MARC Trains

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Rafael Guroian chairs the MARC Riders Advisory Council. He loves trains, but says MARC service improvements are a temporary fix.
Rafael Guroian
Rafael Guroian chairs the MARC Riders Advisory Council. He loves trains, but says MARC service improvements are a temporary fix.

The agency that manages MARC rail service between D.C. and Baltimore wants to change its service to cut down on delays. The news comes as part of a review of what passengers call the "hell train" incident last summer, where 1,200 passengers were stranded in sweltering heat.

Hot weather and long trains don't mix -- that's one of several conclusions in the report about the June breakdown of a MARC Penn Line train, which was released Thursday. The report says the problem can be fixed with shorter, lighter trains that would put less strain on locomotive engines. To make up for lost capacity, more trains would be added. It's a good start -- but only a start, says Rafi Guroian, who chairs the MARC Riders Advisory Council.

"It's going to take a lot more to really fix the MARC system in the next 10 years," Guroian says. "What we're doing today, and what the MTA is talking about doing today, is a fix for the next five years, really. We don't have a plan for the increase in ridership that's happening on all three lines."

MARC ridership on the Penn, Camden and Brunswick lines has increased 30 percent over the past seven years.

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