Fans find trains on time even if Orioles are not

September 17, 1992|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,Staff Writer

Tuesday night's extra-inning game at Camden Yards provided some good news and bad news for 626 Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) customers.

The bad new was that Orioles fans who were passengers on the "MARC to the Park" trains missed the end of the 14-inning victory over the Kansas City Royals.

The good news was they were able to get home at a reasonable time -- an outcome that MARC customers have learned they can't always take for granted.

When an Orioles game went 14 innings July 6, a late-departing commuter train got stuck on a remote siding in Washington for nearly two hours. Some fans didn't get home until after 5 a.m.

The cause: The train's engineer had come to the end of his 12-hour work shift and CSX wasn't prepared for that contingency.

CSX Transportation, Inc., which operates the trains to the game for MARC, instituted a rule to avoid that situation from repeating: the last trains leave at midnight whether the game is over or not.

Unfortunately for MARC passengers, the game ended just minutes past the deadline -- at 12:03 p.m., according to state officials.

The Mass Transit Administration reported few, if any, complaints from MARC customers about the early departure as of yesterday afternoon.

One MARC train left even earlier from the game -- at 10:30 p.m. -- so that people could make connections to Washington's Metro system, which shuts down at midnight.

Tuesday was the first time CSX has had to invoke their midnighrule. Customers were alerted to the early departure by a message on the stadium's electronic scoreboard.

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