The station depot at Boyds station along the Brunswick line, seen in July 2012 from the station parking lot.
|Type||Commuter rail line|
|System||MARC Commuter Rail|
|Locale||Washington D.C. and northern Maryland suburbs; West Virginia|
|Termini||Washington D.C. Union Station
|Owner||CSX Transportation (tracks)|
|Operator(s)||Bombardier Transportation/Maryland Transit Administration|
|Line length||74 mi (119 km)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The Brunswick Line is a MARC commuter rail line consisting of a main line running from Washington D.C. to Martinsburg, West Virginia, and a branch line from just south of Point-of-Rocks station to Frederick, Maryland. The service is operated under contract by Bombardier Transportation, but is administered by MARC, a service of the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). The Brunswick Line is MARC's longest line, and operates over CSX's Metropolitan, Old Main Line, and Cumberland Subdivisions. It is the successor to commuter services provided by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O) as long ago as the mid-19th century.
The startup of Amtrak on May 1, 1971 did not affect the B&O's commuter trains between Washington and Martinsburg. Maryland began subsidizing the operation in 1974; in 1975 it assumed full responsibility for the subsidy and for equipment replacement. West Virginia followed suit soon after, guaranteeing the continuation of service into that state. In 1983, Maryland, along with a number of other Northeastern states, took control of its commuter railroads and the "MARC" (Maryland Area Regional Commuter) service name was established. This service was augmented in 1986 when Amtrak transferred its Blue Ridge, which also operated between Washington and Martinsburg, to MARC control. Amtrak continued to subsidize that train for five years.
The Brunswick Line (like the Camden Line) is a diesel-only line. Trains are usually 3 to 6 cars long with a single diesel locomotive in push-pull configuration. However, some trains may be powered by 2 locomotives from time to time. Generally, the cab-car leads trains headed east towards Union Station. The line uses a mix of single level cars and bilevels. The Brunswick Line was the only line to utilize ex-Metra Pullman Gallery cars, since it is the only MARC line to have all low-level platforms on the main line between Martinsburg and Washington D.C. The Pullman gallery cars were replaced by new Bombardier Multilevel II cars. The gallery cars were restricted from the Frederick Branch due to Monocacy station having a high platform.
There are 9 total inbound and 9 outbound trains to/from Union Station on a normal weekday. On Fridays, there is an additional outbound train. 3 trains in each direction service the Frederick branch. The rest operate to/from Brunswick, with 3 inbound and 5 outbound trains going all the way to/from Martinsburg. Meet-the-MARC Shuttle Bus connects Frederick with all trains that do not service Frederick directly (via Point of Rocks).
Amtrak's Capitol Limited, which runs daily in both directions between Chicago and Washington, D.C., uses the same trackage as the Brunswick Line and shares stations with MARC at Martinsburg, Harpers Ferry, Rockville, and Union Station. Connections are also available to the Washington Metro Red Line at Rockville, Silver Spring, and Union stations.
Trains were operated by CSX Transportation, although MARC announced in early May 2010 that it planned to find a new operator for the line, as well as for the Camden Line after CSX announced its desire to leave the business of operating commuter trains. Operating and maintenance responsibility for the Camden and Brunswick Lines was transferred from CSXT to Bombardier Transportation Services USA Corporation (BTS), a subsidiary of the Canadian company Bombardier Transportation, effective 12:01 a.m. on June 29, 2013. BTS crews started operating MARC trains on Monday, July 1, 2013. CSXT continues to dispatch MARC Camden and Brunswick Line trains after transition on behalf of the MTA.
The following stations are served by Brunswick Line trains; not all trains stop at all stations.
- MTA Average Weekday Ridership - by Month Retrieved 2013-07-25.
- West Virginia Department of Transportation, State Rail Authority (March 12, 2013). "West Virginia State Rail Plan: Maryland Area Regional Commuter Service". Retrieved October 5, 2014.
- MARC History on MTA website Archived April 23, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- "MARC to seek new operator for CSX-run routes". Trains Magazine. 14 June 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
- Weir, Kytja (17 October 2012). "Bombardier wins $204m MARC commuter train contract". The Washington Examiner. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- "New Shuttle Service Between Kingsview Park & Ride Lot and Germantown MARC Station Now Available". Montgomery County, MD. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- Station was to have been closed because of low ridership per early-2006 MARC plan that was ultimately canceled.