For 14 years, Jolene Owen has taken the 5 a.m. train every day from Caperton Station here in West Virginia to Union Station in Washington.
The 68-year-old legal secretary doesn’t mind the two-hour commute on the MARC Brunswick Line to her job at the Department of Justice. She and her fellow passengers are part of what she calls her “train family” — they look out for one another, and keep an eye on each other’s belongings.
But the future of their commute is now uncertain. Maryland, which operates the MARC system, threatened late last year to end West Virginia service this summer, unless that state paid $3.2 million to continue it.
As a stopgap, the two states agreed...