BALTIMORE – Three separate MARC lines carry passengers from Maryland to and from the nation’s capital daily on commuter trains.
Trains on the Brunswick Line operate between Martinsburg, Md. and Washington. The Camden Line connects Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Washington. The Penn Line serves trains between Perryville, Md., Baltimore’s Penn Station, and Washington.
Trains have operated over the Camden Line since the 1830s and since the mid- to late-1800s on the Penn and Brunswick lines. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad formerly operated trains over the Camden and Brunswick lines. Penn Central, and later Conrail, once operated trains on the Penn line.
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1974 told the State of Maryland that the local trains were unprofitable, and unless a subsidy could be provided, they would likely have to be discontinued. The Maryland Department of Transportation offered a partial subsidy and a year later, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and Maryland entered into an operating agreement, where the state would make up the operating deficit and provide the railroad with rolling stock.
The Maryland Department of Transportation and Conrail reached a similar agreement in 1976. Per the agreement, Conrail would be responsible for operating local train service on the Penn Line, know also as the Northeast Corridor, between New York and Washington. In 1982, Congress relieved Conrail of its passenger duties. Maryland and Amtrak reached an agreement in 1983 to operate MARC trains on the Penn Line.
The modern day MARC was created in 1983, when Maryland’s State Railroad Administration created the name and the logo. The trains were, however, operated by Amtrak and Baltimore & Ohio Railroad crews. Some rolling stock was leased by the New Jersey Transit.
Maryland’s State Railroad Administration was created in 1976 to oversee these railroad contracts, procure needed rolling stock, apply for and manage the commuter rail service federal funding and administer a state funded subsidy program for shortline freight rail operations, primarily on the Eastern Shore and Western Maryland. It merged with the Maryland Transit Authority in 1992 and today oversees MARC train service.
Today, Amtrak operates MARC trains on the Penn Line and CSX operates trains on the Brunswick and Camden lines.