by Geoff Fox
The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) is looking to the public to get input on the need for an extension of the Brunswick commuter train line. The survey specifically asks about stretching train service further west using trains serving Martinsburg, W.Va.
Possible extension alternatives include four options, one of which would be to extend train service to Hancock.
The Brunswick Line Study will evaluate opportunities for expanded service of the MDOT MTA Brunswick Line identified in the 2019 MARC Cornerstone Plan, state officials have said.
“The long-term of the plan for the Brunswick Line includes additional train capacity and frequency with a focus on enhancing service on the Frederick branch,” said MDOT officials.
The Brunswick Line Study Technical Report is available at https://www.mta.maryland.gov/marc-brunswick-study and includes a history of the corridor, summary of existing rail operations, markets for increased ridership, environmental and railroad constraints, potential future service enhancements, and the feasibility of extending the MARC service into Western Maryland.
MDOT MTA developed more train options in the report, such as new reverse peak weekday rush hour service with one to five trains, new weekend service in both directions with up to eight daily roundtrips, additional off-peak service throughout the midday with up to hourly service, additional service during rush hours in both directions with up to 20-minute headways, and additional late-night service from Washington with one or two trains.
State officials are also asking for feedback about four railroad alignment options to extend the Brunswick Line service into Western Maryland in order to comply with the Transit Safety and Investment Act.
There are four independent rail alignments being explored. One is Hancock/Cumberland, with three round trip trains that serve Martinsburg being extended 23 miles west to Hancock along the CSX line, or Hagerstown along the Winchester & Western Railroad track.
Two others, servicing Brunswick, would be extended to Hagerstown via Shenandoah Junction along CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway or to Hagerstown via CSX lines to Weverton and the former B&O Hagerstown Line into Hagerstown along CSX lines.
The MTA survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/BrunswickLine.
The public can contact the MTA with comments at Brunswick@mdot.maryland.gov or writing to Office of Planning and Capital Programming, Maryland Transit Administration, 6 Saint Paul Street 9th Floor, Baltimore, Md. 21202.