MARC locomotive update: Looking better
The MARC system stands or falls on the strength of its locomotives, and a few months ago it was virtually falling apart on the Penn Line because so many of its electric engines were disabled. Late trains and trains with too few cars were a daily olccurrence.
But Amtrak found a way to fix the AEM-7 locomotives that had been laid up for more than two years, and the engines are gradually working their way back into service. Maryland Department of Transportation spokesman Jack Cahalan provided the following update as of Wednesday, saying the MTA is continuing too make progress:
Two of the AEM-7’s are now in revenue service and performing well. In fact, I saw one of the MARC AEM’s operating solo last week when I was waiting for a train at BWI station.
The third AEM is in revenue testing on the Penn Line paired with another locomotive. Same testing process MTA did for the first two.
The fourth AEM is still with Amtrak but work should be completed by the middle of this month. It will then go through the same revenue test process as the other three.
Cahalan said the certification work being done on the 26 new model diesels the MTA has been eagerly awaiting since the spring is 80 percent complete and is expected to be completed in the next few weeks. If nothing unexpected crops up, he said, the first of the new diesels will enter revenue testing -- powering an actual train but with a backup locomotive -- by the end of this month.