A host of dignitaries, including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, and government and business leaders from Baltimore and Washington D.C. will celebrate the new MARC Weekend Service between the Charm City and the nation’s capital at special events scheduled for Dec. 7, the day the service begins.

MARC trains will run between Baltimore and Washington on Saturday and Sunday. Nine round-trips will run on Saturday and six round-trips are scheduled for Sunday, according to a statement issued by the Maryland Transit Authority.

The Washington, D.C. launch celebration is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at Union Station, located at 50 Massachusetts Avenue NE. It will culminate in the inaugural ride from Union Station to Penn Station in Baltimore. A return ride will be offered leaving Baltimore at 11:05.

From 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at Penn Station in Baltimore, Rawlings-Blake, Brown, and several other leaders will celebrate inside the main entrance. Penn Station is located at 1515 North Charles Street in Baltimore.

The one-way fare between the two cities will be $7, but some ticket purchases are subject to a $3 fee. For times and stops check http://1.usa.gov/1eLQiHL  and for general information, visit www.mta.maryland.gov.

The service was announced by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) in September. It is one of several transportation projects funded through a measure passed by the Maryland General Assembly during this year’s legislative session in Annapolis.

The project also funds beginning construction on the proposed Red Line light rail in Baltimore and provides partial funding for the Purple Line light rail to link Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

The price tag for the D.C. to Baltimore weekend service is $46 million. Travelers have complained for years for a need for the service, which will offer an alternative to a more expensive service offered by Amtrak between the two cities.

Dignitaries scheduled to be on hand in D.C. include Deputy Transportation Secretary Wilson H. Parran; District Department of Transportation Director Terry Bellamy; Maryland Delegate Carolyn Howard (D-Prince George’s); Maryland Transit Administrator Robert L. Smith;

BWI/Marshall Airport Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld and Union Station Redevelopment Corporation President and CEO Beverley K. Swaim-Staley.

In Baltimore, leaders scheduled to appear include Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Baltimore City Councilwoman Rikki Spector and Central Maryland Transportation Alliance CEO Michele Whelley.

Zachary Lester

AFRO Staff Writer