Board Of Public Works Approves $58 Million Contract For Eight MARC Locomotives
BALTIMORE, MD (SEPTEMBER 17, 2015) – The Board of Public Works yesterday approved the Maryland Department of Transportation’s contract to purchase eight new diesel locomotives for MARC Train service. The $58.1 million contract was awarded to Siemens Industry, Inc., and will enable the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) to enter into a cost-effective cooperative purchasing agreement with the Illinois Department of Transportation to replace older electric locomotives. By entering into this intergovernmental agreement, Maryland can purchase the locomotives at a volume discount.
“Approval of this contract will enable us to replace older locomotives, thereby improving the reliability and efficiency of MARC for the thousands of commuters, businesses and tourists that depend on this vital train service every day,” said MTA Administrator Paul Comfort. “This cooperative agreement also will enable us to purchase these eight new locomotives at a lower cost and save taxpayers money.”
MARC currently operates 32 diesel locomotives and 10 electric locomotives. The eight new diesel locomotives will replace older electric ones that have either reached the end of their useful life or have been prone to mechanical breakdowns, creating service reliability issues. The proposed cost for each locomotive is approximately $6.4 million, with the remaining contract costs covering cab signaling, spare parts, tools, cameras, training and manuals.
Purchasing diesel locomotives also was necessary since MTA was informed last year that Amtrak no longer will maintain MARC’s electric locomotives effective July 2016. Amtrak, which has maintained MARC’s electric fleet since 1983, is retiring its electric fleet and no longer will carry the parts to maintain these locomotives. MTA will maintain its electric locomotives beginning in July 2016 until the new diesel fleet arrives in the fall of 2017.
MARC operates along three commuter rail lines in Maryland: Penn, Camden and Brunswick. The Penn Line operates along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor from Perryville to Union Station in Washington, D.C.; the Camden Line from Baltimore’s Camden Station to Union Station; and the Brunswick Line from Martinsburg, W.Va., to Union Station. Both the Camden and Brunswick lines operate along CSX freight lines. Diesel locomotives can operate on all three MARC lines, providing greater operational flexibility. Currently, electric locomotives only can operate on MARC’s Penn Line, which is equipped with an electrified overhead catenary. Average weekday ridership on all three MARC lines exceeds 36,000 riders. MARC also operates weekend trains on the Penn Line between Martin State Airport and Union Station.
For the latest information on MTA service, passengers are urged to check the MTA website at www.mta.maryland.gov. Customers also can call MTA’s Transit Information Contact Center Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 410-539-5000 or 410-539-3497 (TTY). Please visit MTA’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/mtamaryland and follow us on Twitter @mtamaryland. MTA reminds passengers to report unattended bags and unusual behavior to police or transit personnel. If you see something, say something. Visit www.securetransit.org for more information.