There will be a schedule change on the Penn Line effective Monday, August 5, marking the completion of Amtrak trackwork south of Baltimore. We thank our passengers for their patience during this necessary work. All afternoon trains will return to their regular boarding platforms at New Carrollton, Seabrook, Bowie State University, and Odenton. Amtrak trackwork will now shift to the area of Martin Airport north of Baltimore. Additional time has been added to the schedule for trains traveling north of Baltimore to compensate for reduced speeds to ensure Amtrak trackworker safety. All trains are subject to 5-10 minute delays between Baltimore and Edgewood. There are no changes to the weekend schedule.
Download a copy of the new schedule here: full timetable / weekday grid / weekend grid (the second two links are mobile device-friendly). Paper copies will be available in stations later this week. Carefully review the schedule to identify changes to the trains you ride. Specific details about changes are listed below, as well as some "Frequently Asked Questions" about the new schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this schedule change really going to happen? The June 3 schedule change was postponed, then cancelled all together.
Yes, it is going to happen. We regret any confusion caused by the postponement then cancellation of the June 3 change, which was necessitated by changes Amtrak made in their trackwork schedule.
Does this schedule correct problems encountered with the March 4 schedule and afternoon northbound service?
Yes it does. Train 634 is returning to its original departure time of 4:40pm. The 4:57pm departure--required by the Amtrak trackwork---caused significant overcrowding on the train and numerous domino-effect delays to other trains. We thank our partners at Amtrak for their work to restore the 4:40pm departure time, including making adjustments to one of their Regional trains. Moving 634 back to 4:40pm will eliminate delays experienced by Trains 536 and 438 caused by following 634. The earlier operation of Trains 520, 430, 532, 544 will also address Amtrak-MARC train conflicts in the Baltimore Penn Station area.
While there have been delays in afternoon service, it should be noted that morning southbound service to Washington has operated at over 95% since the Amtrak trackwork began.
Why are morning southbound trains from Perryville leaving earlier?
In order to ensure that trains continue to depart Baltimore at their current times, southbound trains out of Perryville must depart earlier to compensate for slower speeds in the trackwork area. Departure times will be restored when the trackwork concludes.
Why is Train 536 still skipping Martin State Airport? MARC Train promised that the stop would be restored.
MARC Train and Amtrak management performed extensive modeling and considered numerous options to restore the Martin Airport stop on Train 536. Approximately 75% of the work on the new schedule was focused on Train 536. Unfortunately, its not as simple as "just stopping the train" -- there are numerous mitigating factors affecting Train 536 at Martin Airport. A brief summary:
- Train 536 must stay ahead of an Acela Express, or it will be held daily for 15-20 minutes just south of Edgewood station.
- Track 3 at Martin Airport (the farthest track from the platform, typically used by southbound trains) will be the track out of service for maintenance. As a result, all southbound Amtrak and MARC trains will be operating on Track 1 (the second track out from the Martin Airport platform) and all northbound trains will operate on Track 2 (the third track out from the Martin Airport platform).
- Amtrak safety rules require that all train traffic on Tracks 1 and A be stopped for a ten mile stretch between the Back River and the Gunpowder River when a MARC Train is unloading or loading passengers at Martin Airport on Track 2.
- In the timeframe that Train 536 would stop at Martin Airport, there are three southbound Amtrak trains scheduled to pass Martin Airport, so unloading from Track 2 is not an option.
- Operating on Track A is not an option for Train 536 as the maximum operating speed is much lower (60mph versus 125mph)
- Adding run time to Train 536, as was done for Trains 532, 544, and 548, is not an option because 536 must stay ahead of the Acela.
- We cannot eliminate either the Odenton or West Baltimore stops because the ridership is too great to be absorbed by preceding or following trains. Train 536 is already one of our most limited-stop trains.
Martin Airport passengers may remain on Train 536 to Edgewood, where they can detrain and transfer to southbound Train 579 to return to Martin Airport. Martin Airport one-way, weekly and monthly tickets will be honored to and from Edgewood through the duration of the trackwork. We recognize that this alternative is not ideal and will work with Amtrak to restore the Martin Airport stop once the trackwork project is completed.
- Weekday southbound Train 505 (currently the 4:25am departure from Perryville) will depart all stations between Perryville and Martin Airport five minutes earlier. It will still depart Baltimore at 5:10am and keep the same times at all scheduled stops to Washington.
- Train 407 (currently the 5:45am departure from Baltimore) will depart all stations between Baltimore and Washington five minutes earlier.
- Train 517 (currently the 6:35am departure from Perryville) will depart all stations between Perryville and Martin Airport ten minutes earlier. It will still depart Baltimore at 7:20am and keep the same times at all scheduled stops to Washington.
- Amtrak 151 (cross honor train for Perryville, Aberdeen and Edgewood monthly and weekly pass riders) has new departure times. In addition, Amtrak has notified MARC Train that there may be an adjustment to Train 151 in September, MARC Train will pass on that information when it is received.
- Train 537 (currently the 2:30pm departure from Perryville) will depart all scheduled stops between Perryville and Washington five minutes earlier.
- Train 445 (the 5:25pm departure from Baltimore) will no longer stop at West Baltimore or Halethorpe.
- Train 447 (the 5:50pm departure from Baltimore) will add stops at West Baltimore and Halethorpe.
- Train 451 (currently the 7:35pm departure from Baltimore) will depart all scheduled stops between Baltimore and Washington five minutes later.
- Train 453 (currently the 9:25pm departure from Baltimore) will depart all scheduled stops between Baltimore and Washington ten minutes later.
- Weekday northbound Train 554 (currently the 5:30am departure from Baltimore) will depart fifteen minutes earlier and will not stop at Martin Airport.
- Train 502 (the 6:02am departure from Union Station) will not stop at West Baltimore. This is a temporary change and the stop will be restored at the next schedule change.
- Train 412 (currently the 8:55am departure from Union Station) will depart Washington three minutes earlier, will not stop at Seabrook, and depart all stations Bowie State University to Baltimore four minutes earlier.
- Train 520 (currently the 12:20pm departure from Union Station) will depart all stations Washington-Perryville five minutes earlier.
- Train 430 (currently the 4:20pm departure from Union Station) will depart all scheduled stations Washington-Baltimore five minutes earlier.
- Train 532 (currently the 4:22pm departure from Union Station) will depart all stations Washington-Odenton five minutes earlier, then depart Baltimore six minutes earlier en route to Perryville.
- Train 634 (currently the 4:57pm departure from Union Station) will depart all stations Washington-Martin Airport seventeen minutes earlier.
- Train 438 (currently the 5:25pm departure from Union Station) will no longer stop at Bowie State University and will depart all scheduled stations Washington-Baltimore five minutes earlier.
- Train 440 (currently the 5:28pm departure from Union Station) will add Seabrook and Bowie State University and depart Washington and New Carrollton two minutes later.
- Train 544 (currently the 6:30pm departure from Union Station) will depart all stations Washington-Perryville five minutes earlier.
- Train 548 (the 9:00pm departure from Union Station) will depart all stations Martin Airport-Perryville five minutes later.
- Train 452 (currently the 10:45pm departure from Union Station) will depart all stations Washington-Baltimore ten minutes later.
- There are no changes to weekend service. The timetable grid has been redesigned to make it clearer which trains do and do not serve Martin Airport station on Saturday versus Sunday.