Maryland Gov. Wes Moore late last week announced that the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration has signed framework agreements with Delaware Transit Corp.(DART) and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority for potential future expansion of MARC Train Service to Newark and Alexandria, Va.
The agreements outline the next steps to advance discussions and explore a pilot program.
An expansion of the commuter line from Perryville, MD, to Newark has been in the proposal stage for decades but has not advanced for a variety of reasons. Delaware has commuters who drive to Perryville to catch MARC and some Cecil Countians work in Wilmington and Philadelphia. A new train station in Newark would be able to accommodate Maryland passengers.
“Maryland is committed to working with our neighbors to increase convenient and accessible transit across the entire region because we know an expanded transit network leads to expanded opportunities for everyone,” said Moore. “The partnerships outlined in these agreements will help us bring greater options to thousands of potential transit riders.”
Creating a seamless continuation of MARC Train service both north and south of Maryland is critical to transforming MARC Train from a local commuter rail to a regional rail provider, a release stated. The trackage between Perryville and Newark is believed to be the last in Mid-Atlantic without regional commuter service.
The Maryland Transit Administration and Delaware Transit Corp. will work with regional stakeholders and agencies to advance MARC service to Newark. Ultimately, these efforts are designed to close the commuter rail gap in Cecil County and create a seamless connection between MARC and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) system.
To provide MARC run-through service into Virginia, the Maryland Transit Administration will continue to coordinate with the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority, Virginia Railway Express, Amtrak, and CSX. Future service depends on the completion of the Long Bridge project, which includes a new rail bridge spanning the Potomac River from the District of Columbia to Virginia and other related projects in the District and in Northern Virginia.
The signing of framework agreements with transit agencies in Delaware and Virginia follows the Maryland Transit Administration’s recent memorandum of understanding and funding agreement with Amtrak to replace the 150-year-old B&P Tunnel in Baltimore with the new Frederick Douglass Tunnel.