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Riders calling for another MARC train at Martinsburg station

June 18, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Local riders of the MARC commuter train want the train service to add another train to the local route to help get riders home to West Virginia earlier in the day and ease overcrowding on other trains.

Dan Tyson, who rides a MARC train from Martinsburg to his job in Silver Spring, Md., is leading the effort to have a train added to the local route.

Tyson said the earliest he can return to Martinsburg is by boarding a train that arrives here at 6:44 p.m.

Tyson said by the time he drives home to Winchester, Va., it is usually about 7:30 p.m.

Tyson said he believes another train is available out of Washington, D.C., that could leave much earlier in the afternoon and get him and other riders home to Martinsburg by 4 p.m.

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MARC riders say the trains that serve the area often are crowded and they believe another train would alleviate that problem.

The crowding problem often gets worse in the summer as more tourists join commuters on the ride, Tyson said.

Martinsburg resident Cathy Wilde, who takes the MARC train every day to her job in Silver Spring, agreed that crowding is a problem. The problem is going to get worse as residential development continues in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, Wilde said.

Tyson has contacted local elected officials such as Del. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, in an attempt to get some consideration for the idea.

Blair said he has contacted a representative of U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., in an effort to get some discussion started.

MARC officials could not be reached for comment Thursday, but a West Virginia State Rail Authority spokesman said an idea that has been considered is to bring another train up from Brunswick, Md., in Frederick County.

That train arrives in Brunswick daily at 3 p.m. and then returns to Washington, D.C., said Bill Hill.

Instead of turning the train back at Brunswick, the train could be sent to the West Virginia stops, Hill said.

Issues that would need to be worked out are the cost of such a move and where to find the money for it.

"It's a substantial amount of money over a year's time," said Hill. The Rail Authority oversees parking lots and platforms at the West Virginia train stops, Hill said.

Any decision to add another train would be up to MARC because it provides the trains and crews, Hill said.

Blair said it seemed unusual that funding for another train is an issue since the current trains are so crowded.

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