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Official says a new line might solve MARC delays

September 10, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Although it would be expensive and tough to accomplish, a Jefferson County Commissioner on Thursday suggested that a new train line for local commuters be considered in light of recent complaints about delays in the current train system.

Commissioner Rusty Morgan said no one is thinking seriously about establishment of another train line, but he sees no other way to deal with delays faced by commuters.

Morgan said perhaps an existing line could be designated for commuter trains or another one could be constructed.

Morgan said finding ways to deal with the complaints raised by commuters could be expensive and said county officials might want to get help from state and federal officials such as U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.

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Two weeks ago, Morgan told the commissioners about a letter he received from a Jefferson County commuter who complained about the MARC train service.

Judy Lowe said in her letter that a round trip from Harpers Ferry, W.Va., to Washington, D.C., last month took seven and half hours because of signal problems on the MARC line.

Explaining that the trip from Harpers Ferry to Washington took three hours, Lowe asked Morgan how people would feel if a highway beltway was closed for three hours, if a taxi ride took three hours or if a plane ride was delayed for three hours.

Lowe suggested that the commissioners look into the possibility of setting up a bus service to transport Jefferson County commuters to metropolitan areas.

Before Lowe sent her letter, another county resident complained to the commissioners about a six-hour delay on the MARC system this year.

Morgan said Thursday he has been looking into the issue and has been told that there are MARC and CSX officials who are willing to speak to the commissioners about the situation.

Morgan said he believes some improvements could be made immediately, such as improving a public address system at local train stops so people waiting to pick up passengers could be notified of any delays.

Morgan suggested to the commissioners that they use any influence they have to push for improvements in commuter transportation.

Commissioner Greg Corliss suggested that the issue could be addressed during interim meetings of the state Legislature, which are to be held in Shepherdstown, W.Va., next month.

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