Double-diesel approach may be working for MARC
When the hot weather started taking a toll on MARC's electric locomotives early this summer, the commuter railroad began to experiment with a new configuration twinning two diesel engines on its heaviest Penn Line trains to maintain both pulling power and internal systems.
The Maryland Transit Administration isn't exactly proclaiming the experiment a rousing success but spokesman Terrry Owens says it has been working well so far.
"Clearly the locomotives have performed extremely well," he saiid. "We've not had the problems you would have with electrics being down because of the heat."
Of course, the MTA has had the advantage of cooler weather since the blazing heat of late June and most of July. But Owens noted that the heat is expected to bounce back into the 90s next week.
"We're not out of it," he said.
Owens said MARC has so far taken delivery of 17 of the new diesel fleet it has purchased, with 14 of them out on the line and another three in testing. The new engines are arriving at a rate of two a month, he said.
MTA riders are urged to keep Getting There informmed of any developments -- positive or negative -- aboard the trains. During my absence until Sept. 15, please contact Michelle Deal-Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dave Rosenthal at email@example.com.