• MARC Multilevels-Times And Train Numbers

  • Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.
Discussion related to DC area passenger rail services from Northern Virginia to Baltimore, MD. Includes Light Rail and Baltimore Subway.

Moderators: mtuandrew, therock, Robert Paniagua

  by CentralValleyRail
 
Hi,

I was wondering if anyone knew what times, train number and how many cars for all the Multilevel trains on the entire MARC System. Camden Line, Penn Line and Brunswick Line.

Thanks,

-B.G.
  by HokieNav
 
Wow, that's a tall order.

Times and train numbers can be gleaned from the schedules at MARC's website.

I think I recall reading that MARC has 13 consists - I suppose that you could assign each one a letter, and then assign consists to the trains that the usually run (I've considered doing this on the Penn Line, but never got around to it), but as far as the multilevels go, they can be swapped into/out of the consists on a semi-random basis (I'm sure that there is a reason for the swaps), so the data wouldn't be 100% accurate.

Is there a simpler question that you're trying to get at that perhaps we can help with?

Most every consist on the Penn Line is all Kawasaki bi-levels - that said, the cab cars and northenmost "quiet cars" are swapped out for single level cars from time to time. Also, midday service on the Penn Line is handled by shorter (usually mostly single level) train sets from the Camden Line (that doesn't have service middays).

The Brunswick Line as 1 or two consists that are almost exclusively bi-levels (this is the only line that operates the ex-Matra Gallery Cars as well), but someone more familliar with that line would have to chime in with more details).
  by realtype
 
Okay, as HokieNav said that would be pretty difficult. MARC operates 50 Kawasaki Bilevels (33 Standard [T] Cars, 7 Cars w/snack bar, 10 Cab Cars), plus 13 (only two are in service) ex-VRE Kawasaki bilevels (9 coaches, 4 cab cars). I've seen different numbers for how many ex-Metra gallery cars that MARC has, but only 8 are in service at any one time (4 on 876/875 and 4 on 877/874--Brunswick Line trains).

I can tell you that there are six dedicated Penn Line sets (2 6-car, 3 7-car, 1 9-car), each of which are composed of just bilevels, or mostly bilevels with a single level car or two as HokieNav said. Also, the consists are always changing for maintenance and what not, plus trains that use the same number of cars frequently swap sets (for instance the 3 Camden, Penn, and Frederick trains leaving 10-15min after 5pm are all 4 cars long and frequently used to swap consists, until just recently when I've noticed they haven't done that as much ), so about 25-50% of this week's trains would likely not have the exact same cars as last. I have noticied over the past few months that MARC seems to be concentrating the bilvels to specific sets. For instance, some 3 car trains on the Camden or Brunswick lines would randomly have a single bilevel (usually the cab car), but I haven't seen a 3 car set with a bilevel in months. Anyways the best bet for bilevel trains would be a rush hour train on the Penn Line. I don't think the Camden Line has any bilevel trains at the moment, but 847/846 and 850/845 (both 4 cars) would be most likely to have them.

For the Brunswick Lines here are the trains likely to have bilevels:

-872/883 (4 cars with one bilevel, same train as Penn 450 )
-892/893 (4 cars with 3 bilevels)
-876/875 (5 cars with 4 gallery cars)
-874/877 (6 cars with 4 gallery cars and two ex-VRE bilevels for cab and Quiet cars)
  by CentralValleyRail
 
HokieNav and Realtype yes I should've been more clear. I was looking through the schedules and I was trying to figure out which trains on the various lines are Bi-level and which aren't. I wanted the times and numbers of the Bi level trains, I have the actual schedule. (I'm just trying to figure out which train is a Bilevel so I don't get caught on a single level train.) Any recommendations? I'm a Railfan from NJ and am planning on taking a trip down to Maryland to ride the MARC system. Thanks for the information on the Brunswick Line, any additional information would be great.

B.G.
  by HokieNav
 
Happy to help!

On the Penn Line, the 3:34 departure from WAS or later will all be bi-level trains. In the morning, any of the southbound trains will be the bi-level sets, I'm not sure what time they start running the laid-over Camden sets (the latest train I've taken in the morning is the 7:27 departure from Odenton).

How long are you planning on being down here for - a day trip, or overnight? The Brunswick Line is darn near impossible to railfan, as it comes into DC in the morning and leaves in the afternoon - no overlap. You would have to take a train out of DC in the evening, spend the night in Frederick and then ride back in the next morning. If you post up some trip details (feel free to PM me if you're uncomfortable posting your trip details in public) and I'd be happy to help make sure that you get to see what you want to. If you get the chance, I'd highly recommend catching an express WAS-BWI set on the Penn Line, and enjoy and HHP-8 pulling the fastest commuter trains around (until you folks up in Jersey steal the crown).
  by realtype
 
Yeah, an itinerary would be helpful. The Brunswick Line actually runs trains on the Penn Line during the day as well. Actually, most midday trains on the Penn Line are from the Brunswick Line, since two Camden sets layover in Baltimore during the day. (Of course the gallery car sets from the Brunswick Line stay in DC) To stress my point that consists are always changing, today I noticed they added bilevel cab car 7846 to one of the two 5 car sets (one is used as 878/879 on the Brunswick Line and the other 849/852 on the Camden Line). Okay here's what I have for the Penn Line (this is very limited):

- #402 the 9 car all bilevel set, always pulled by a HHP-8
- #406 7 cars, usually bilevel HHP-8
- #408 6 cars (maybe 7), usually all or mostly bilevel, see footnote
- #410 3 car train from Camden/Bruswick Line, no bilevels (not 100% sure since they combined 410 and 412 in the recent schedule cuts)
...
- #426 3:27pm the first rush train out of DC as Hokie said is a bilevel set, but I think it may or may not be diesel since (I think) it is only 6 cars
- #428 4:15pm express out of DC is all (or mostly) bilevel, but may be diesel since it may only be six cars
- #530 4:24pm Perryville express is 7 cars usually all bilevel with a HHP-8 at the head
- #432 4:46pm out of DC to Baltimore local is usually all bilevel but once again may be diesel since it may only be six cars, but MARC seems to like to use one of their few AEM-7's with this train regardless of length and if you're lucky you might be able to catch two AEM-7's (two MARC's or an Amtrak and MARC AEM-7) doubleheading
- #450 5:10pm is a four car super-express diesel train that may or may not have a bilevel depending on which equipment they use, since they frequently swap with Brunswick 892 (my usual train) and Camden 850 which are all 4 cars long and all depart within 6 min of each other.
- #534 5:20pm express to Perryville. okay this is the ultimate :-) MARC train with 9 cars at least 8 of which are bilevel and it always uses a HHP-8. if you can take this train, but get there early since I can always see it overcrowding 15 min before dep. (something true for most rush Penn trains, you can ask Hokie about that)
- #436 5:34pm express 7 cars with an HHP-8 usually at least 6 bilevels, the set is almost always sitting on trk 14
... (I think all these trains in between use bilevels since the Camden and Brunswick sets are returned to their own lines)
- #446 10:30pm 6 cars all bilevel, diesel

Okay here's where my knowledge ends since I'm usually out of DC by 5:30pm, and haven't had a chance to "observe" which trains use what beyond that.

some very limited about southbound trains:

- #503 the long 9 car all bilevel set with HHP-8
...
- #411 arv DC 8am, 7K usually all bilevel, HHP-8
- #513 arv DC 8:05am okay this is the train that used to be 6 cars, but I'm pretty sure got converted to 7 cars since when I've seen it arrive recently while waiting on my Camden train it has been 7 cars, most of the time. anyway it uses all bilevels
- #415 the 9 car bilevel set
...
-#535 5 cars usually all single level, but today had a bilevel cab car


*Some of the six car sets above may be seven cars since MARC converted one of their six car Penn sets to seven cars (and unneccesarily added a 5th gallery car to 876/875) when they put the two ex-VRE cars in service. The difference is that the GP40's only pull six car sets, while the electrics are used on the seven and longer sets, but they often pull six car trains as well.

As a general rule, if you take a rush hour train in peak direction (to DC in the am, to Balt. in the pm) you're almost sure to get a bilevel train (except for train #450). The midday trains are usually single level 3-5 car sets from the other two lines. Now the reverse flow (to Balt. in am, to DC in pm) trains are a toss up since some of them are shorter trains, such as 535, but some are longer bilevel trains heading back to pick up more passengers (406 and 408). Also keep in mind that MARC is putting their new diesels in service on the Penn line, but I have absolutely no idea which train will get them...hope this helps.

I remember when I travelled NJT last year I took a midday Comet single level train from NYP to Trenton, and I rode in a Comet V which was pretty nice apart from the rattles and squeaks. I actually didn't really want to ride a "Multilevel" (bilevels in my book) yet, I just wanted to avoid the Arrows (I rode a really uncomfortable Silverliner IV on the SEPTA R7).

oh and btw, we're not giving our "fastest in the country" title to NJT that easily since technically, the MARC equipment is still certified for 125mph even though Amtrak is "afraid" of pushing it that much (I think it's the competition between WAS and BWI/Balty).
  by HokieNav
 
Wow, that's awesome - a few notes:

#426 (that you correctly ID'd as the 3:27, they shifted it earlier and I still think of it as the 3:34 (which is DAMN important at 3:30 when you run down the stairs) is usually pulled by one of the HHP-8's (at least 70% of the time, I'd say - this was my regular train home for a long time).

# 432 (the 4:46) is diesel most every day, unless the MARC gets brave and decides to put the AEM-7 on the road. Always a good day, as we run on (or even a little ahead) of schedule, whereas we lose time with the GP. (this or the 5:34 have become my "regulars" in the evening.

Filling in on the morning cars:

#401: Usually an all-bilevel pulled by an HHP-8. Turns north as train 400, then I'm sure makes at least one more run to DC.

#503: Like he said, THE TRAIN. 9 cars, always an HHP-8. Turns north as 402, makes another run into DC as train 415 (then sits until the evening, afaik) My usual in the morning, as I like getting a seat.

#405: Usually pushed by a diesel, more common to see 1 or 2 single levels swapped in. Usually 7 cars.

#407: The "mini express" - locals stops Penn to Odenton, then express to New Carrollton. Always HHP-8 powered, also usually 7 cars (iirc).

That's my limit on the morning - anything else gets me to work way too late. :)
  by CentralValleyRail
 
Wow you guys are great this is quite a bit of information. I like the HHP 9 Car Set, that sounds fast. I know you said that your certified to run them at 125mph but what do they usually run at?


As for the crown for the fastest rail the Acela runs 135mph sometimes a little more between New Brunswick and Princeton Jct. (Although I guess amtrak doesn't count so you guys still have it there)


As for my trip I'm planning on coming down one or two days the Week of June 22nd. I'm going to take the first Amtrak from Newark at 4:57am arriving in Baltimore at 7:35am BWI at 7:48am and DC at 8:15am. I'm thinking of getting off in Baltimore at 7:35am and catching that MARC 9 car set at 7:40am down to DC.
Other than that I'm open to all ideas and options. When I go back to NJ I'll most likely take ethier the 8:45pm or 10:00pm out of DC (Unless of course I take MARC up to Baltimore.

Once again thanks for the info and anymore would be great.

B.G.
Last edited by CentralValleyRail on Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by gp40marc69
 
All of the trains after 3pm to end of service are bi-level. Even the 6:40, 7:30, and 9pm trains still get a handful of people after the rush hour crowd.
As for the Camden Line, they need bi-levels on a few of the morning and evening trains. P847 gets quite alot of people and 4 single levels are not sufficient enough. It's rarely a time you'll see bi-levels on that train. Most of the Camden equipment is shuttled around on the Brunswick and Penn Line.
  by r40slant
 
I don't know about that fastest title. All mid day runs are operated by the diesels and they are limited to 100 or 90mph. The single level cars are 110mph and so are bi levels due to problems with the trucks. I have opereated them at 125mph, but usually we couldn't get up to that speed except north of baltimore. There are track restrictions. As far as compitition i don't think thats a problem, many amtrak trains don't take marc tickets during rush our anyway or only monthlys. Besides NJ Transit is a better run service anyway. Marc management are idiots.
  by realtype
 
r40slant wrote:I don't know about that fastest title. All mid day runs are operated by the diesels and they are limited to 100 or 90mph. The single level cars are 110mph and so are bi levels due to problems with the trucks. I have opereated them at 125mph, but usually we couldn't get up to that speed except north of baltimore. There are track restrictions. As far as compitition i don't think thats a problem, many amtrak trains don't take marc tickets during rush our anyway or only monthlys. Besides NJ Transit is a better run service anyway. Marc management are idiots.
I wouldn't call them idiots, but I agree that MARC isn't managed very well. I think it has to do with the system growing so fast in the last few years, and the MTA not expanding management and customer service to meet the growing demand. Plus, the MTA generally ignores the DC focused commuter transit (Commuter Bus and MARC) and focuses more on the Baltimore systems (Light Rail, Metro Subway, Local Bus).

btw I thought Amtrak downgraded the bilevels to 115mph, and apparently the FRA still clears them for 125mph.
  by CHIP72
 
I wouldn't rule out using VRE between DC and Manassas and/or VRE & Amtrak between DC and Fredericksburg. The stops in Manassas and Fredericksburg are both in or near the downtown portions of both towns (which is rarity for VRE stations - and for that matter MARC stations); both downtowns, especially Fredericksburg, are worth checking out. The Manassas train station is also worth checking out (the station in Fredericksburg has been converted into a restaurant). The scenery along both lines is a little boring (lots of trees up close), though the VRE Fredericksburg Line has some nice water crossings. Both VRE lines use (to my knowledge) bi-level cars exclusively. If you didn't want to go all the way to Manassas or Fredericksburg and wanted to stay in WMATA territory, you could ride to Crystal City (either line), Alexandria (either line), or Franconia-Springfield (Fredericksburg Line only). Alexandria has a nice, little train station just outside Old Town Alexandria; it is also down the hill from the Masonic Washington Memorial.

Getting back to MARC, the best you can do on the Brunswick Line without using buses is taking a trip out to Rockville in the afternoon and then the Metro Red Line back into DC. If you are willing to use buses, you can take the Brunswick Line out to Gaithersburg (then use Ride On route 57) or Washington Grove (then use Ride On route 61) to get to Shady Grove and the Metro Red Line; you also have some limited options to go out as far as Metropolitan Grove and ride back to Shady Grove on Ride On route 61. The Gaithersburg MARC station is located in the old part of the town, which is kind of nice-looking (and now strongly Latino); the train station still stands but I'm not sure if it is open. If you use the Brunswick Line, you'll pass through Kensington, which is a nice town a little north of Silver Spring; like Gaithersburg, Kensington also has a historic train station. On the MARC Camden Line, Laurel isn't a bad town, though the station is near the edge of the town. Also with the Camden Line, you can ride to either College Park or Greenbelt and ride back to DC on the Metro Green Line. (You could also ride to Riverdale without any problems and take a bus back to DC; Riverdale isn't as far out as either College Park or Greenbelt however.)
  by realtype
 
CHIP72 wrote:I wouldn't rule out using VRE between DC and Manassas and/or VRE & Amtrak between DC and Fredericksburg. The stops in Manassas and Fredericksburg are both in or near the downtown portions of both towns (which is rarity for VRE stations - and for that matter MARC stations); both downtowns, especially Fredericksburg, are worth checking out. The Manassas train station is also worth checking out (the station in Fredericksburg has been converted into a restaurant). The scenery along both lines is a little boring (lots of trees up close), though the VRE Fredericksburg Line has some nice water crossings. Both VRE lines use (to my knowledge) bi-level cars exclusively. If you didn't want to go all the way to Manassas or Fredericksburg and wanted to stay in WMATA territory, you could ride to Crystal City (either line), Alexandria (either line), or Franconia-Springfield (Fredericksburg Line only). Alexandria has a nice, little train station just outside Old Town Alexandria; it is also down the hill from the Masonic Washington Memorial.

Getting back to MARC, the best you can do on the Brunswick Line without using buses is taking a trip out to Rockville in the afternoon and then the Metro Red Line back into DC. If you are willing to use buses, you can take the Brunswick Line out to Gaithersburg (then use Ride On route 57) or Washington Grove (then use Ride On route 61) to get to Shady Grove and the Metro Red Line; you also have some limited options to go out as far as Metropolitan Grove and ride back to Shady Grove on Ride On route 61. The Gaithersburg MARC station is located in the old part of the town, which is kind of nice-looking (and now strongly Latino); the train station still stands but I'm not sure if it is open. If you use the Brunswick Line, you'll pass through Kensington, which is a nice town a little north of Silver Spring; like Gaithersburg, Kensington also has a historic train station. On the MARC Camden Line, Laurel isn't a bad town, though the station is near the edge of the town. Also with the Camden Line, you can ride to either College Park or Greenbelt and ride back to DC on the Metro Green Line. (You could also ride to Riverdale without any problems and take a bus back to DC; Riverdale isn't as far out as either College Park or Greenbelt however.)
Germantown and Barnesville are also historic B&O stations. The Ride On 83 runs from Germantown station to the Germantown Transit Center (2-3 min away) where you can connect to the express non-stop Ride On 100 Bus to Shady Grove. Most stations on the Brunswick Line in the larger cities are "downtown" : Gaithersburg, Frederick (Downtown station), Silver Spring, and Rockville. To answer your question, the Gaithersburg station (as well as Frederick, Rockville, Kensington, Germantown, Brunswick) is open to MARC passengers, and even has a coffee shop in the same building.
  by CentralValleyRail
 
All this information is great I'm starting to get the pieces together to form a great trip down to DC and the surrounding stations. Once I get down to Baltimore onf Amtrak I'm thinking of taking MARC to DC. Then a ride down to ethier Fredericksburg or Manassas. Maybe stop by there for Lunch. Any good lunch places there?

Then heading back to DC to catch the Brunswick line out to I guess Germantown and catching the bus back to Rockville and metro to DC eventually.

Finally taking the Camden Line up to Baltimore with a possible stop to eat.

Any recommendations for food on the Brunswick Line, Camden Line and Fredericksburg and Manassas?

Thanks again for all your help.

-B.G.
  by r40slant
 
Yeah Marc business has gone up so much they were able to cut a evening train. LOL That was stupid (and also forced 1 MARC engineer back to Amtrak bouncing me back to the extra board) The Marc cars are all 110mph.
ps i am finally back on a regular job and at least for now don't have to WORRY about working MARC service.