Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

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Sand Box John
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Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by Sand Box John »

Came across a couple of links related to expansion of rail transit in Maryland northern Virginia and south central Pennsylvania in the Monumentalcity.net btco.net Tomorrow's Baltimore Transit Forum

Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals
Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: Transit for Howard County and Rethinking Sprawl and Refocusing upon the Core
(howardcountyblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/metro.html)

Speculation on Howard Country proposals related to BRAC...
Howard County Blog
(urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2006/10/transit-for-howard-county-and.html)

The fourth map shown on the urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com page caught my attention Beyond DC - Features - Transit (enlarged version).

What the creator of the map probably does not know is that most on the abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad former Chesapeake & Atlantic Railway easements on the eastern shore are still in tact.

The easement between Ocean City and Vienna is still pretty much still in tact with two segment in Salisbury still active and operated by Norfork Southern, Salisbury to Zion Church Road on the east side and a short segment within Salisbury from Mill Street to the Norfork Southern Delmarva north south line. The segment from West Street in Salisbury to the west side of Hebron still has rail in place.

An alignment not following the alignment shown on his map is mostly still in tact between Vienna and Easton, the Vienna to Preston segment of the Vienna to Easton segment still has rail in place with the Herlock to Preston segment still active and operated by the Maryland and Delaware.

Most of the easement between Queenstown and Kent Narrows is still in place.

The easement between Easton and Queenstown by way of Queen Anne is still in tact with rail still in place between Easton and Queen Anne and beyond to Clayton Delaware.

All of the abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad former Chesapeake & Atlantic Railway easements that still have rail in place are property of the Maryland Department of Transportation with the exception of the segment between Herlock and Vienna which I believe is owned by Vienna Power, LLC. NRG Energy that operates the power plant in Vienna.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

CarterB
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Post by CarterB »

Not sure what value a Kent Narrows to Ocean City rail line would be. Even if the old WB&A and/or B&A were extended back to Annapolis, there would be a cab or bus ride from Parole (Bay Ridge Jct) to a pier somewhere in Annapolis or a pier at Wardour(assuming the rich and powerful NIMBYs in that section of Annapolis would allow it) and a lonnnnnnnnnng ferry ride over to wherever in the Narrows a pier/railhead would be re-established.
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Sand Box John
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Post by Sand Box John »

"CarterB"
Not sure what value a Kent Narrows to Ocean City rail line would be. Even if the old WB&A and/or B&A were extended back to Annapolis, there would be a cab or bus ride from Parole (Bay Ridge Jct) to a pier somewhere in Annapolis or a pier at Wardour(assuming the rich and powerful NIMBYs in that section of Annapolis would allow it) and a lonnnnnnnnnng ferry ride over to wherever in the Narrows a pier/railhead would be re-established.


I would tend to agree.

I have dreamed of replacing the two existing William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge spans with a single ten lane double deck seven A framed tower cable stay bridge with single track on each level between the traffic lanes. The four upper level lanes would be express between MD I-97 and the US-50/301 split with no entrances or exits between. The express lanes would have a toll twice that of the local lanes.

The tracks and the express lanes would be elevated over land allowing the track to connect to B&A and travel west along MD US-50 to Bowie where it would divert north to a subway alignment under Annapolis Road to connect to metrorail in New Carrollton.

A different class of rolling stock akin to the LIRR/ Metro north rolling stock would be used for the service. The western terminals for the service would be in Virginia. The southern end of Baltimore Central light rail would be converted to accommodate the service to Baltimore using the same LIRR/ Metro north type rolling stock.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

gprimr1
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Post by gprimr1 »

How about massive upgrades to the NS Sailsburry line so trains go WAS-BAL then BACON, Dover, Rebohbith (possibly by shuttle) Sailsburry, then Berlin where the OC shuttle meets the train. Trainsets would be Amfleet style coaches in MARC paint schemes.

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gokeefe
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by gokeefe »

Has WMATA ever been considered as a unified operator of commuter rail lines in Maryland, the District and Virginia?
gokeefe

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STrRedWolf
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by STrRedWolf »

Not really, not in the charter for WMATA. MARC has always been part of MD State Government (ether under the old State Railroad Administration or now Maryland Transit Administration, but always under MDOT). I don't know about VRE but I assume the same.

That said, expanding MARC from DC to Annapolis-Kent Island-Ocean City is an interesting idea... but very expensive. You would have to build track basically along-side US 50, at least two-track, and hook up with NS lines via a bridge. If you're smart, you would put the track for it under vehicle traffic on a new, three-lane (two track) Bay Bridge. Weigh that with all the traffic on the Annapolis/Kent Island area commuter buses (220,230,240,250,260) and you *may* (it's a stretch) have a justification to build the line.

Baltimore to Annapolis... well, that's not quite as simple there. There's probably only one, maybe two commuter bus loads for Baltimore to Annapolis. One trip up, one back. Not quite all that good, and not really justifying laying down more track on the B&A Trail. (That was tried already with the Light Rail, and got killed at Cromwell).
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?

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Sand Box John
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by Sand Box John »

"gokeefe"
Has WMATA ever been considered as a unified operator of commuter rail lines in Maryland, the District and Virginia?


No.

The primary reason why is has to do with the responsibilities as defined in the WMATA compact. (296 KB PDF file)
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jackintosh11
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by jackintosh11 »

Given their track (pun not intended) record, I'd say that's a terrible idea, at least at the moment. A single unified operator would be ideal, but not an incompetent one.
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by gokeefe »

Ok so the "zone" as covered by the compact doesn't extend out far enough. Thank you.
gokeefe

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by mtuandrew »

Bumping an old thread.

I’ve been thinking about how to access the Annapolis market from Baltimore and Washington, and seeing how built-over the WB&A branches are, the original railroads would be tough. What might make sense is a power corridor about a mile north of the southern WB&A route, from Odenton to near the Westfield Annapolis Mall. Obviously the I-97 Corridor is an option too.

Either way, I don’t think it’s feasible to build two routes when one route could serve two major cities.

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STrRedWolf
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by STrRedWolf »

Lets expand on that further, from looking at the MDOT railmap and Google Maps: http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Fr ... ailmap.pdf

At Odenton: Build a transfer platform along the curve of the existing track lead connected to Track 1 on the NEC. Build a crossing and ROW for this curve so that Amtrak can access their ROW. Equip the crossings on Piney Orchard Parkway and on MD 175 (near the MD 170/MD 175 intersection) with crossarms (aka protect the crossing). Rebuild a small yard for MARC trains at this point (where the old WB&A Eletric's yard was). Also have a low-speed curve to match the power lines. Engineer it right, and you can curve into the middle of MD 32 (Patuxent Freeway).

Build out all the way down, bridging over the MD 32/I-97 intersection to the middle of I-97. Along the way, bridge over I-97 to allow construction of a station near Crownsville Road. Name the stop "Crownsville." Expect heavy traffic for the Renascence Festival (turkey legs).

Now for a tricky part. Continue building along I-97, then bridge over it and Harry S. Truman Parkway to build a new station there with possible expansion to Ocean City. This will be the closest you can reasonably get to Annapolis without heavy property purchasing.

For Ocean City, continue south until you can bridge over the bay at Mayo, MD to Easton, MD. Reactivate existing rail lines (take them under MDOT/MARC control) and rebuild the connection between Easton to Preston and Hebron to Vienna.

You now need a few stations: Crownsville, Annapolis, Easton, Vienna, Ocean City. The route would start at Odenton (optional round trips between Baltimore, Annapolis, and Ocean City).
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by mtuandrew »

From the MARC HHP-8 thread:
STrRedWolf wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 12:28 pm
mtuandrew wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:36 am
Would be nice to electrify the Camden and Brunswick lines, but I’d rather focus on rebuilding to Annapolis and a “dinky” to Westminster. I’d love to figure out how to connect to Hagerstown, Ocean City, and York, PA too, but those aren’t best served by train in my opinion.
For that, you connect using the old WB&A Electric's path from Odenton (existing junction, but two crossings as well) down to Annapolis and Ocean City. This will require building new track along a now bike path and some more crossings, unfortunately. It will require building some new track as well, although MDOT (MARC) owns a good section of track that can be used. There's some abandoned track as well that is in unknown shape.

For Hagerstown, I would build from just west north west of Brunswick to Sharpsburg, and hook into the line there to Hagerstown. The CSX track between Brunswick and Hagerstown is gone, so you'll need to hook into Norfolk Southern track. The plus side? Tourist traffic to Antietam.

York, PA? Already served by a commuter bus, the RabbitTransit RabbitEXPRESS 83S. 6 trips daily York to Hunt Valley and Timonium (transfer to Light Rail).

BTW this will help: http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Fr ... ailmap.pdf
Thanks for the map! I note that there’s an abandoned B&O branch between Brunswick and Hagerstown, but can’t tell from Google whether the ROW even exists let alone is encroached upon or used as parkland. If not on all counts, that seems an obvious rebuild for Hagerstown-DC access if such is a priority for Maryland. MARC is formally a regional provider and not a commuter provider, so for such a small state it might be politically worthwhile to reach distant points even at a large subsidy.

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by Sand Box John »

"STrRedWolf"
Lets expand on that further, from looking at the MDOT railmap and Google Maps: http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/newMDOT/Fr ... ailmap.pdf


As one that lives over here on the Eastern Shore I can tell you that the status of some of the rail line is somewhat inaccurate.
Clayton - Easton and Queen Anne - Denton MDOT is inactive with some of the rail removed.
Preston - Herlock MDOT is inactive with most of the rail removed.
Herlock - Vienna DPL track removed and easement returned to abutting properties.
West Salisbury Parkway - Ocean City NSC is inactive with all of the rail removed east of Salisbury and some of the rail removed west of Salisbury with the exception of 2 short branches, Former NCS now Delmarva Central west to Mill Street and Former NCS now Delmarva Central east to Zion Church Road.
The MDOT Princess Anne - Crisfield actually connects to NCS now Delmarva Central south of Perry Road using the loop of what use to be a Y and is active to just south of Revells Neck Road.

Now for a tricky part. Continue building along I-97, then bridge over it and Harry S. Truman Parkway to build a new station there with possible expansion to Ocean City. This will be the closest you can reasonably get to Annapolis without heavy property purchasing.

Locomotive powered trains along an I-97 right of way might be some what limited because of the grades. The WB&A right of way is mostly still intact along Generals Highway between Waterbury Road to Bestgate Road.

For Ocean City, continue south until you can bridge over the bay at Mayo, MD to Easton, MD. Reactivate existing rail lines (take them under MDOT/MARC control) and rebuild the connection between Easton to Preston and Hebron to Vienna.

There is an abandon railroad right of way between Claiborne Landing west Easton that use to go to Preston.

You now need a few stations: Crownsville, Annapolis, Easton, Vienna, Ocean City. The route would start at Odenton (optional round trips between Baltimore, Annapolis, and Ocean City).

I would replace Vienna with Salisbury as the station between Easton and Ocean City.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.

njt/mnrrbuff
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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by njt/mnrrbuff »

It seems that the Eastern Shore of Maryland as well as the rest of the Delmarva region is forgotten when it comes time for making transportation links from east of the bay to the mainland. It is a bummer that there isn't any passenger rail or even daily frequent bus service from Baltimore and DC to the Delmarva region. There isn't even a multi-lane highway that goes from the mainland to the eastern shore. I think the Bay Bridge has multiple lanes in each direction but once you are on the eastern shore, it's pretty much no expressways.

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Re: Expanded DC/Baltimore Commuter Rail Proposals

Post by RailVet »

"Preston - Hurlock MDOT is inactive with most of the rail removed."

I know a fellow in that local area who has been trying to get a tourist train started on that line for many years without much apparent success. I haven't been out there for a while but the track was still intact when I last saw it, although it was in very poor shape. When was it mostly lifted? I hadn't heard about that.

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