• MTA/VRE trip

  • 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 realtype
Okay, since I have waaay to much free time on my hands this summer (even with my job) I decided to ride the rail systems in the area that I've never ridden on before, especially since I'm not likely to get another chance to do this anytime in the near future. This was the actually first time I've ridden rail solely for the purpose of riding it, and I've never ridden nearly so many trains in one day.

Anyhow here's my itinerary:

-MARC 892 Germantown to Washington D.C.
-Metro Red and Blue Lines Union Station to Franconia/Springfield (my first time past King Street)
-VRE 310 from Franconia/Springfield to Union Station
-MARC 414 from Union Station to BWI Airport
-MTA Light Rail from BWI Airport to Lexington Market
-Metro Subway Lexington Mkt to Owings Mills and back
paused to eat and do some other things and walked to Camden Yards
-Light Rail "shuttle" Camden Station to Penn Station
-MARC 429 Penn Station to Union Station
-MARC 873 Union Station to Germantown

Those VRE gallery cars make almost take back everything bad I had said about galery cars. The seats are really comfortable (better contoured versions of the VRE Kawasaki cars). Also the announcements are crystal clear, and the automated anouncement system (almost identical to the one on MARC's Kawasakis) actually works. Interestingly VRE considers a "low platform" to be one where you need to use the step stools (like at Alexandria). Anything on MARC where you have to use any sort of steps is considered a low platform, although Rockville has a platform like the one at Alexandria where it's almost below ballast level (I think for drainage reasons).

Riding the MTA Light Rail and Metro Subway felt a lot like the trips I'd taken on the MBTA Green (Light Rail), Red, and Orange lines (both Heavy Rail) in Boston earlier this summer, except the MTA services were more modern and comfortable.

Oh, and I saw 7717 (the rehabbed MARC IIB car), and the 3 ex-VRE Kawasakis with their interior redone which HokieNav had talked about. I'm not sure should have went through the expense of changing the seats. The VRE ones didn't look brand new and were kind of dirty, but I liked the uniqueness of the cars. Now basically the only differences are the floor color and the ditch lights.

some photos from the trip: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7367453@N0 ... 807721824/
  by HokieNav
Nice report, and sounds like a great way to spend a day. Dang shame that MARC/VRE don't operate on the weekend so I could make a similar trip.
  by the-rail-life
Very cool write-up! Glad you enjoyed your trip! I used to catch the VRE from Franconia/Springfield, but now I ride in the Crystal City. Enjoy that free time while you can!

Nice pics too!
  by realtype
Thanks guys. Hopefully when the state's budget gets in better shape, and Amtrak decides to cooperate MARC will get the long-planned limited weekend service.