• Newark, Delaware Extension - SEPTA Connection

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

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

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  by realtype
I doubt the extension will even be in place before 2014/2015. MARC has a large backlog of upgrades/improvements to the system that needed to be completed first. Also, improvements to Newark station would be necessary to accomadate MARC, SEPTA, and Amtrak, and a brand new Elkton station who need to be constructed before extending service north of Perryville. Of course Amtrak would have to approve all of this and be willing to provide crews for the service.

MARC is not planning on expanding the river crossings north of Baltimore (which makes sense, since it would be insanely expensive), but nearly all locations between Baltimore and Perryville with only 2-tracks will be changed to 3- or 4-tracks.

  by Sand Box John
MARC is not planning on expanding the river crossings north of Baltimore (which makes sense, since it would be insanely expensive), but nearly all locations between Baltimore and Perryville with only 2-tracks will be changed to 3- or 4-tracks.

Did you forget reading this post and more importantly the link therein before making this part of your post? See page 16.

  by realtype
Actually, I did refer to the MARC Growth and Investment plan; I've had a copy of it since it was released last September. I did miss that part about the new river crossings for 2035. Thanks for the heads up.

In any case, the new river crossings would still be constructed (if at all) at least 15 years after the Newark extension.
  by Literalman
I think there is an untapped market at Newark. There is no morning service south from Newark, for example. Surely there must be people who would want to take the train to Baltimore or Washington in the morning.

  by cpontani
I believe that the agreement among the agencies in the northeast is that any service into whatever state is paid for by that state. So any service extensions to Newark or Wilmington would be paid for by DelDOT. That's why Septa's R2 does not run into Delaware on Sundays...DelDOT does not (currently) have any transit service (bus or rail) on Sundays, but that's about to change. But I'm not sure if the extension of Marc service to Newark has been taken into account with the relocation of the Newark station.

  by realtype
I entirely agree. MARC's current service to West Virginia is funded entirely by the state of West Virginia, and the three stations in West Virginia are maintained by the West Virginia State Rail Authority.

Washington D.C. (yes, I know its not a state) seems to be the exception to this rule. As far as I know, D.C. doesn't pay a dime for MARC or VRE service into the District. Obviously, this is because most MARC passengers don't live in DC, but MARC does carry a lot of DC residents to BWI and Baltimore. I also wouldn't be surprised if NJT service into Manhattan wasn't subsidized by New York.

MARC's Northern VA extension is also unlikely to be subsidized by the state of Virginia. First off, Virginia can barely fund VRE, and secondly, most of the passengers will be Marylanders.
  by realtype
Apparently, the plan is already in motion thanks to Gov. O'Malley. Before he told MARC to draft the Growth & Investment Plan, the Newark extension wasn't even on the MTA's to-do list. The problem now is that we won't see this new service for at least 4 years. You can still go to Philly right now though--take Amtrak :-D
  by SystemsConsciousness
The simple solution to all of this is to create a greater northeast rail authority merging SEPTA/NJT/MARC and figure out some governing authority to make sense of the mess that would be created.

So I am proposing a mess? Yes, but a better mess that what is going on now with duplication of services between the three. In the private sector this would have happened already--think telephone company Verizon, which is a similar industry in many ways (a network/regulated public utility). I am not proposing this to get into some big food fight argument about it, but if the goal is to provide local service for these localities, then one entity running local trains between DC and NYP would make sense. It seems like these state barriers are artificial.

For example, does it make sense to run MARC to Newark with a stop in Elkton? Or SEPTA to Elkton and MARC to Elkton? It has been written here that there are lots of commuters in Newark parking lot with MD plates, but what about the southern commuters? I imagine they exist as well, so either solution will leave one group out, unless there is overlap--SEPTA TO Elkton, MARC to Newark, but this is crazy too.

Another example is SEPTA to Trenton/NJT to NYP. What about commuters going from Levittown to Princeton, why should they have to change and risk missing their connection because of a late train. It has been brought up here the idea of NJT running Clocker service into 30th street. This seems unrealistic to me, but a good idea nonetheless--alternate R7 and NJT service along this stretch of line could be an idea.

But the best idea, would be to merge it all together and run a great big long local train between DC and NYP--making limited stops:more than Amtrak, but less than local trains. This new entity wouldn't have to milk customers in the Northeast to subsidize the national rail infrastructure and could provide economic development along the line. Moreover, it would be in a stronger position to negotiate with equipment vendors and to sell advertising.
  by Sand Box John
"SystemsConsciousness"The simple solution to all of this is to create a greater northeast rail authority merging SEPTA/NJT/MARC and figure out some governing authority to make sense of the mess that would be created.

Three things must happen to make your schema a reality. The four states must agree on how such an authority would be composed, what powers it would have, how it would be funded, and how the members of the of the multistate compact would be represented on the governing board of directors. New York and the District Columbia may also have to have some say in the authority as those jurisdictions would have major terminals that the authority would be operating trains in to and out of. The states legislatures must pass laws establishing membership in the multistate authority. An act of the United States Congress would have to be pass to make the multistate authority the law.

There is precedent, the above was done to create the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
  by strench707
Hello, I have grown up and still live near MARC's Penn Line (my closest station probably being Bowie State). This idea has been floating around in my head for years and I finally remembered to ask so here goes:

I understand that MARC runs as far North as Perryville, MD and SEPTA runs as far South as Newark, DE. I was wondering whether at any point the two systems did touch or if there are any plans in the works for them to meet.

It could go a variety of ways:
- MARC extends to Newark or SEPTA to Perryville.
- They both extend to each other's terminuses so they overlap a bit.
- MARC goes to Wilmington and SEPTA goes to Baltimore.
- COOLEST OPTION: MARC runs all the way from DC to Philly and so does SEPTA.

I know people commute between Wilmington and DC, even more did before the fares started getting jacked up. I'm sure many still do. So, if they connected to each other you could have a cheaper alternative. It could work with either run through trains or transfer required trains.

Also, I wonder if when PRR ran its "Locals" (I guess they could be considered commuter trains) if some ran all the way from WUS to PHL.

So any insight or news on that would be great!

Also, if anyone else can think of any other plans that would be most interesting to me.

I understand that a lot of plans may require 4 tracking the line from Baltimore to DC and maybe expanding current terminuses but I'd still like to hear it.


  by HokieNav
Here's MARC's plan as of 2 years ago: they're already far behind.


As far as this "before fares started getting jacked up", what are you referring to? I've ridden the MARC daily for 2 years and sporadically for the 2 years preceding that and have never seen a fare increase. Old-timers say that it's been quite a while since the fares have gone up around here, much to the disappointment of some when the MTA chose service reductions over fare increases to balance the budget last year.
  by strench707
I'm sorry, I meant when there were some Amtrak fare increases. Understand that MARC's have been fairly consistent.

  by gprimr1
Marc took a huge hit as Maryland continues it's economic collapse under our current failure of a govt.

That said, I do believe SEPTA was willing to adjust the Newark trains to meet up, or very close to, the MARC trains.

The needed trackwork is mostly between Baltimore and Newark. Too many sections of just 2 tracks.
  by dt_rt40
My theory which I've posted before, is that, as the operator of the Penn Line for MARC, Amtrak has an interest in discouraging talk of such extension of service or, for that matter, weekend service on the line. But that's not the major factor(s), which are mainly cost and projected ridership. The thing is for commuting all the way from Wilmington to DC, a lot of people would rather have the amenities of an Amtrak train. I see some semi-regulars on the cross-honored Amtraks who obviously commute to/from Philadelphia or Wilmington to DC. Whatever they are paying, they aren't there every day, just some days, and I doubt they'd want to make the trip in a MARC bilevel, even though they are darn comfortable as commuter cars go.

Of course, I wish MARC was like NJ Transit and I could take a cheap train from Aberdeen to Philadelphia on the weekends, that sure would be nice. (does NJ transit have any lines at all that are weekday only!?) I just don't see it happening for a long time. As it is at least monthlies can take a weekend Amtrak to DC, which is not a bad deal and kind of makes me hope MARC and Amtrak continue to "get along". Maybe since Amtrak already said no to weekend service once before, MARC doesn't want to poke the hornet's nest, so to speak.

What I think IS really stupid and could change right now, is why doesn't one of the afternoon Perryville bound trains do a return service? A conductor told me people ask them about it frequently, so there's some kind of demand. Even if it's only a couple people, what's the harm? The train is going back to Balto. Penn to do another run. It's not like they can breeze through that station at 125 to get back to DC more quickly. (not the last of course, that arrives at perryville at 10:30pm on a good night!) Well, we know MARC would have to pay Amtrak more for the revenue service, but it's not very hard work for the employees. If you must, confine people for the deadhead trip to the cab car so it only takes one employee to keep an eye on them or whatever.
Everyone: No one mentioned that service in Delaware is sponsored by DelDot-contracting with SEPTA for the Wilmington and Newark trains operated.
There are some service improvements I would like to see-more weekday and Saturday trains operating to Wilmington and/or Newark instead of turning at Marcus Hook
and Sunday trains to Wilmington. If DelDot is willing to fund extending some MARC trains to Wilmington to connect with SEPTA trains to Philadelphia I say "Why not?"
I am all for service improvements and hopefully the three parties involved can work something out and make this a win-win for all riders of these services.
Thoughts from MACTRAXX
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