CSX troubles lead to MARC delays
Power outages, printer and fax problems, and a disabled freight train caused recent problems on the MARC system and show the complexity of running commuter rail on tracks controlled by a freight railroad.
Without power, Verizon was unable to transmit the train orders to the printers at Union Station, Jay Westbrook, CSX Assistant Vice President for Passenger and Commuter Operations, told the MARC Riders Advisory Council last week.
CSX initially thought it was a problem with their own computers. But then they figured out that it was a data transmission problem and sent the train orders directly to the fax machines at Union Station. However, the fax machines were slow, and the train orders were not sent in the order of scheduled departure.
As a result, passengers on the earliest afternoon Brunswick Line train waited at the station for almost an hour and a half after their scheduled departure, and four other Brunswick Line trains left the station late as well.
To reduce delays in case of another power outage, CSX has installed two additional high-speed fax machines and a new high-speed printer in the crew room at Union Station. CSX is also discussing expanded power back-up capabilities with Verizon, Westbrook said.
On June 8, three morning trains on the Camden Line were disrupted when a disabled CSX freight train coming from Selkirk, New York, blocked access to Baltimore's Camden Station from the Riverside Yard facility, where MARC stores the train equipment.
CSX will consider adjusting the schedule of this daily freight train, said Rob Surgeoner, CSX Director for Passenger and Commuter Operations in Baltimore.
In addition, in the future, if MARC is unable to get the train equipment out of the yard, MARC will not cancel the trains, said John Hovatter, director of MARC Train and Commuter Bus Services. Instead, MARC will end northbound Camden Line trains at Dorsey, turn the equipment back for southbound service, and run a bus bridge between Dorsey and Camden Station.
The MARC Riders Advisory Council meets on the third Thursday of every month at 4:30 pm, at the Hall of the States near Union Station. Meetings are open to the public.
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