Track work at Baltimore's Penn Station to cause weekend delays for travelers

Amtrak and MARC train service through Baltimore will see some delays during the next two weekends as Amtrak makes track upgrades at Penn Station, officials said.

The work, which Amtrak said involves renewing the switch in the interlocking immediately adjacent to the station, will limit trains to one platform instead of the usual four, according to the Maryland Transit Administration.

Delays on both MARC and Amtrak are expected to be about 10 to 20 minutes.

To accommodate the track work, MARC trains will operate on a modified Sunday schedule on the next two Saturdays, July 15 and 22, the MTA said.

Amtrak spokeswoman Chelsea Kopta said the work “will improve operational performance and reliability along a key stretch of the Northeast Corridor.”

“The 55-hour work periods are occurring over the weekend to minimize impacts to passengers,” Kopta said. “As with any schedule modification, customers are encouraged to plan ahead and allow for extra travel time.”

Amtrak recently unveiled a public opt-in text and email “delay alert” system that sends notifications when trains are running late to particular stations, she said.

To augment weekend MARC service during the track work, the MTA will offer bus service for passengers of the canceled 7:35 a.m. Train 675 from Penn Station and West Baltimore MARC station directly to Washington’s Union Station. All passengers must bring a valid MARC ticket to ride the bus, and the bus will be on a first-come, first-served basis, the MTA said.

The agency said the bus is being offered primarily for people who need to arrive in Washington before 9 a.m. for work or medical appointments.

“If possible, we ask customers traveling to Washington for leisure purposes to please wait for the 9:15 a.m. departure from Penn Station,” the MTA said.

The following modifications to the weekend schedule are also in effect:

On Saturday, July 15 and 22, Trains 497, 499, 696 and 698 (the last two Saturday evening round trips) will operate. Train 698 will depart Washington 30 minutes later, at 11:05 p.m. A bus will depart Martin State Airport at 3:30 p.m. and arrive at BWI Rail Station in time for the 4:25 p.m. departure to Washington. A bus will meet train 692 from Washington at 6:05 p.m. and take passengers to Martin State Airport.

On Sunday, July 16 and 23, Train 480 will depart Washington and all stations en route to Baltimore 10 minutes earlier. Trains 484 and 486 will terminate at the West Baltimore MARC station. Shuttle bus service will be provided to Penn Station. Customers traveling to other points in Baltimore should consider CityLink Blue, Pink, Orange or Green buses, which depart from the West Baltimore MARC station.

Also on the next two Sundays, Trains 487 and 491 will originate at the West Baltimore MARC station. Shuttle bus service will be provided from Penn Station. Buses will depart Penn Station 15 minutes prior to when the train usually departs (1:40 p.m. and 3:55 p.m.). The trains will depart West Baltimore MARC at their scheduled times (2:01 p.m. and 4:16 p.m.) but will wait if the shuttle bus is delayed.

Train 493 will depart Baltimore and all stops en route to Washington five minutes later. Train 694 will depart Washington and all stops en route to Martin Airport 25 minutes later.

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