We’ve just heard some exciting news from our friends at the Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Beginning Dec. 13 (and after much anticipation!), MARC, Maryland’s commuter train service, is providing roll-on bike service on select cars between Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C., on the Penn Line.
According to a Dec. 12 blog article by WABA Advocacy Coordinator Greg Billing, MARC outfitted two rehabilitated passenger cars to accommodate full-sized bikes. These trains, which will only be available on weekends (at least, for now), will serve as pilots to test the new bike-train design.
With additional state resources, MARC is purchasing new double-decker train cars to increase passenger capacity to meet the demand. With new cars going into service, MARC is rehabilitating their old rolling stock to provide the new bike service. The bike cars can currently carry 16 full-size bicycles, but can be modified to accommodate up to 26 bikes.
It appears that if all goes well, MARC will consider expanding bike service to weekdays and to other lines as well!
This good news for area cyclists comes on the heel of another exciting announcement this past summer, covered in RTC’s TrailBlog in June—that Amtrak would be installing new baggage cars with bike racks on all its long-distance trains between D.C. and Pittsburgh, Pa., creating a new connection for cyclists to access the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal trail.
There’s a trend forming, and we have to shout out all the local advocates who are creating new and better bike connections in the eastern U.S. We look forward to seeing how this all plays out!