As a result of Amtrak beginning their 2020 trackwork season which will take place this year between Odenton and West Baltimore on the regular northbound track, a new Penn Line schedule will take effect on Monday, March 16.

There are many changes to weekday and weekend northbound trains, with minor adjustments to southbound trains. Download a copy of the new schedule here: full timetable / weekday only / weekend only (the second two links are mobile device-friendly). Paper copies are available at stations.

Carefully review the schedule to identify changes to the trains you ride.  Passengers should take note of the following significant changes:

Weekday

  • Train 421 (8:15am departure from Penn Station to Washington) will not stop at West Baltimore, Halethorpe or Seabrook.
  • Train 423 (8:50am departure from Penn Station) will add a stop at Seabrook.
  • Train 426 (currently the 3:23pm departure from Union Station) will depart thirteen minutes earlier.
  • Train 428 (currently the 4:08pm departure from Union Station) will depart three minutes earlier, will not stop at New Carrollton, but will add a stop at West Baltimore.
  • Train 430 (currently the 4:15pm departure from Union Station) will depart eight minutes earlier, will not stop at West Baltimore, but will add a stop at New Carrollton
  • Train 532 (4:17pm departure from Washington to Perryville) will add a stop at West Baltimore.
  • Train 634 (currently the 4:40pm departure from Washington to Baltimore and Martin Airport) will depart Washington five minutes earlier at 4:35pm and will not stop at West Baltimore.
  • Train 502 (6:10am departure from Washington to Baltimore and Perryville) will not stop at Seabrook, Bowie State University, or West Baltimore.
  • These stopping pattern changes are necessary due to the Amtrak trackwork and regular stopping patterns will be restored when the trackwork is complete.

Weekend

  • Almost all weekend trains will depart Washington at 15 or 20 minutes past the hour (as opposed to 30 minutes past the hour now).  The exceptions are the first train and the last two trains on Saturday
  • Some southbound trains will depart stations 5-10 minutes earlier than the current schedule.
  • Sunday Train 694 has been adjusted since this schedule change was announced due to a change in an Amtrak train's schedule.  Sunday Train 694 will now depart Washington at 7:40pm (10 minutes later than the current schedule, and 25 minutes later than what was first announced). The online PDF has been updated as well as the trip planner here on the MTA website.  The second press run of the printed timetables will reflect this change.

Northbound trains will operate at reduced speeds as they pass trackworkers to ensure their safety, and all trains may experience 5-10 minute delays when passing through the work area. We thank you in advance for your patience as Amtrak works to upgrade the Northeast Corridor for the benefit of all rail users.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will this schedule be in effect?

Amtrak anticipates that this trackwork project will continue until mid-summer.  Updates will be provided on the progress and when the next schedule change will take place.

Will we be boarding and detraining on the opposite platforms in the afternoon like we did last spring/summer?

No.  Amtrak has designed a larger, more passenger-friendly platform extender which will be in place at BWI Rail Station and Halethorpe.  This extender will be much like the one installed at Odenton station last year and will allow several sets doors on a train to open for level boarding and detraining.  However, all doors will not be able to open.  If you are traveling to BWI Rail Station or Halethorpe, pay careful attention to Conductor announcements as all doors will not open.

Why are some trains skipping stops?  Why is my train holding at Odenton station for an Amtrak train to pass?

This trackwork project takes one of three tracks out of service for fifteen miles and two of four tracks out of service for six miles. Given the significant reduction in track capacity, it is not possible to maintain the current schedule and stopping patterns without some revisions.  MARC Train management has worked closely with our partners at Amtrak to create a schedule that ensures fluid train movement through the work zone for both MARC and Amtrak passengers.  Some northbound  trains will hold 3-5 minutes after departing Odenton for an Amtrak train to pass. 

We regret any inconvenience caused by these temporary changes and we will restore regular stopping patterns when the trackwork is complete.

Why is Train 421 skipping several stops?  It is a southbound train - the trackwork is on the northbound track.

Train 421 (8:15am departure from Penn Station) operates at a very busy time in the morning for Amtrak trains.  There is an Amtrak train departing Baltimore just before it, and is followed out of Baltimore by three Amtrak trains and MARC 423.  Several options for Train 421 were reviewed, but it was not possible to move the departure time for the train.  As discussed above, neither Amtrak nor MARC trains can pass each other between Baltimore and Odenton during the trackwork.  Train 421 must traverse the trackwork area quickly in order to get into Odenton in time for an Acela train to pass it and it then must stay ahead of a second Acela train all the way into Washington.  While we recognize that skipping stations creates an inconvenience for our customers, the only other option was to cancel Train 421 for the duration of the trackwork.  The stops temporarily removed from Train 421 will be returned when the trackwork is complete.

The trackwork is between Odenton and West Baltimore.  Why are trains skipping stops south of there?

Fluid train movement must be maintained for the entire distance between Washington and Perryville.  Trains will not be able to pass other trains between Odenton and Penn Station as they can now.  Here is an example of this, using Trains 428 and 430:

  • On the current schedule, Train 428 departs Washington, stops at New Carrollton, then shifts from the middle to the outside track to makes all stops thru Odenton before expressing to Penn Station. 
  • Train 430 departs Washington operating non-stop to BWI.  It passes 428 around Bowie State University on the middle track, then shifts from the middle track to the outside track just north of Odenton before stopping at BWI, Halethorpe and West Baltimore.
  • After departing Odenton, Train 428 shifts from the outside track to the middle track, catches up to, and passes Train 430 while it makes its Halethorpe and West Baltimore stops.
  • When the trackwork begins, Train 428 will not be able to pass Train 430 between BWI and Baltimore since the outside track will be out of service. 
  • Thus, the schedule and stopping patterns of both trains--and several others--must be adjusted.

There are other examples like this, but this is the best illustration of why train schedules and stopping patterns must change (and one MARC management spent a great deal of time working with Amtrak to find a solution).  MARC Trains must also avoid conflicts with Amtrak trains, especially the Acela Express service.  On the current schedule, many MARC Trains are passed by an Acela train between Halethorpe and West Baltimore.  Again, this will not be possible during the trackwork, so schedules must be adjusted to either stay ahead of the Acela all the way into Penn Station or hold to let it pass at Odenton.