CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. (WDVM) — A public hearing was held at the Charles Town library Saturday morning regarding the potential cutback of commuter train service between Washington D.C. and West Virginia.
The streets were flooded with people waiting to enter the library to address their concerns with the Maryland Transit Administration. The Maryland Department of Transportation will potentially be ending the MARC Train Brunswick line from West Virginia into Washington D.C. due to funding issues.
“The city of Martinsburg has not been [notified] of this hearing or these changes in any formal fashion,” said Shane Farthing, a resident of Martinsburg. “You mention it in the newspaper but I believe there is a Maryland law that you have to notify localities before doing major reduction and services and we haven’t received that.”
Christian Pechuekonis, a resident of Harpers Ferry, shared his thoughts with officials as well.
“The train schedule will effect our residents who commute to D.C. and the tourists who come to see our historic national park and town,” Pechuekonis said.
The proposed changes would reduce service to Martinsburg, Duffields, and Harpers Ferry. MDOT is proposing only one train into D.C. at 5 am and one train to the Panhandle departing at 4:25 pm.
“The time that they have for the train doesn’t work for anybody that’s working an eight hour day, we have people that have been taking the train for years, what are they going to do now they still have to provide for their family,” said Martha Duncan, who herself commutes daily.
MDOT says it notified the West Virginia State Rail Authority two years ago about the required $3.4 million payment for services for the fiscal year of 2020. MDOT officials say the West Virginia Legislature provided only $1.1 million, but transit officials are doing what they can to help.
“We are here to help west Virginia figure out which trains they would like to pick, they have chosen two that’s in the public hearing notice and we are open for talks on what we can do to help them,” Brittany Marshall said, who is the director of media relations for transit administration.
MDOT officials say people still have 30 days to contact them to discuss any concerns.