Halethorpe getting a MARC station replacement
Earlier this week, the Maryland Transit Administration announced that construction would soon start on a replacement MARC station on the Penn Line at Halethorpe.
The Halethorpe MARC station is located on the busiest of MTA's 3 commuter rail lines, the Penn Line. It is located near the Baltimore Beltway, two stops south of Baltimore Penn Station, between West Baltimore and BWI Airport Rail Station.
The current station is severely limiting for rail services. Only one door
on an entire train per car on three coaches can open there, and passengers must use steps to board or alight. In order to cross the 3 tracks, passengers must climb a long staircase up to the Francis Avenue Bridge and then down again on the other side.
The new station will be located south of the current platforms. It will include two 700 foot long, high platforms. This will make the station ADA compliant, will speed boarding/alighting, and will allow more than one car to open doors at the station. A new bridge will link the two platforms with staircases and elevators. Canopies will provide protection from the weather.
The reduction in dwell time at Halethorpe will increase the average speed of all Penn Line trains that stop there. This will shorten commutes and lower costs to MTA.
Replacement of the station will cost $17.1 million. Construction will start later this year, likely at the end of summer. The duration of the project should be about two years.
The reconstruction of Halethorpe will leave West Baltimore as the only Penn Line station between Washington and Baltimore with low platforms. While MTA is exploring constructing high platforms at West Baltimore, especially with the proposed Red Line's interchange point there, the curvature of the track makes high platforms a challenge.
MTA also announced this week that thanks to a $6 million grant from the Obama Administration, a new public address system, including next train display screens, will be operational by April 2011 on all three lines. The Brunswick Line's upgrades should be complete by the end of the summer and the Penn Line will have the new system by year's end.
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