Digest: Maryland proposes cuts to MARC train, bus service

News Wire Digest for Sept. 2: Genesee & Wyoming says it will shut down Huron Central; proposal would make BNSF responsible for contaminated rail line in Montana
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Wednesday morning rail news:

Maryland announces plans to cut MARC rail, bus service

The Maryland Transit Administration says it plans to reduce MARC train and commuter bus service, and cut Baltimore-area local bus service by 20%, to address financial losses created by the COVID-19 — a plan already being criticized by local officials. Planned reductions would cut trains on MARC’s Penn and Camden lines, and dramatically reduce service to the Penn Line’s northernmost stop at Perryville, Md. The full list of proposed rail and bus cuts, which would take effect Jan. 3, 2021, is available here; MARC says it will hold public hearings on all the proposals. The website Maryland Matters reports that a group of officials including Baltimore’s mayor and executives of adjacent counties issued a statement calling the plan “a disappointing blow to the entire Baltimore metropolitan region and the many students, essential workers, and families who rely on public transportation each day.”

G&W says it will close Ontario's Huron Central by the end of 2020
Genesee & Wyoming Canada says it will shut down short line Huron Central Railway by the end of 2020, the latest in a series of threatened closures of the 173-mile line, leased from Canadian Pacific, which employees 43 people. Northern Ontario Business quotes G&W Canada president Rick McLellan as saying the company has had “constructive discussions” with federal and provincial officials but has “received no funding commitments” to continue to operate the line. The company had previously planned to close the railroad in March, and also announced a planned closure in 2018 [see “G&W to close Huron Central by the end of the year,” Trains News Wire, May 24, 2018], but government funding prevented those earlier shutdowns.

Proposal would put BNSF in charge of asbestos-contaminated rail line
BNSF Railway will be put in charge of an asbestos-contaminated rail line in Montana under a proposed consent decree involving the railroad, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. Montana Public Radio reports the railroad would be responsible for 42 miles of right away and adjacent yards, contaminated when the railroad transported vermiculite from the W.R. Grace mine near Libby, Mont. The railroad would not be responsible for cleanup along the route, but would have to limit unauthorized entry and minimize potential for disturbance of soil along the route. Public comment on the proposal will be accepted through Sept. 30.


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