Could MARC backup plan be working?
It's not sure that the Maryland Transit Administration's strategy of using two locomotives on some of its larger Penn Line trains will prevent a long, hot summer of delays. But this email from Pete Smith of Abingdon gives a glimmer of hope:
Maybe this interests only me, but it strikes me that perhaps MARC has taken at least one lesson to heart after the "hell train" debacle, and perhaps those at the MTA responsible for following up would be interested in learning about this.
As MARC #530 (the 4:24 pm departure from Washington en route to Perryville) approached Odenton this evening, the power cut out. We coasted into the Odenton station and passengers detrained as usual. And then we waited to proceed to Baltimore. Then we waited some more. Then the dreaded announcement that in fact the locomotive did breakdown. Before we could have our moment of deja vu, however, the conductor announced that the engineer was moving to the second, backup locomotive and would try to get us moving shortly. Sure enough, we were moving again within moments.
As local transit observers and readers of your blog alike noted, it would seem to be a good idea to have some sort of contingency in place to avoid stranding passengers in the future. One of those ideas was to have two locomotives on the trains, you know, just in case. It's been quite a challenging week for MARC, but I tip my cap to the MTA for what appears to have been the quick enactment of some sensible changes that spared me and my fellow passengers another evening of woe.