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MARC Rail – Another Commuting Option for Crofton

Commuting from Crofton, Maryland, to Washington, D.C. or Baltimore is not limited to driving your car or taking METRO.  In fact, MARC Rail is the commuting method of choice for many Anne Arundel County residents who live in Crofton, Gambrills, and other communities near the Odenton MARC Rail Station.

Odenton MARC StationThe history of Odenton as a railroad town dates back to 1840 when the Annapolis & Elkridge Railroad was built across this sparsely populated area of Anne Arundel County.  Then, when the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad was constructed in 1868 to connect Baltimore and Washington, a train station was built in Anne Arundel County and named in honor of Oden Bowie – a former governor of Maryland and the railroad’s president.  A telegraph office, church, school, post office and two stores followed and tomato canning became the first industry in the area, several decades before the Federal Government acquired land to build Fort George G. Meade nearby.  From a population of about 100 people in those early days, Odenton has grown to well over 20,000 residents today.  While many of them are employed at Fort Meade or NSA, most of Odenton’s residents are commuters.

That same Odenton rail station is now a busy stop on the Penn Line of the “Maryland Area Regional Commuter Train Service” (MARC), operating on weekdays and a few holidays to transport those commuters to Washington’s Union Station or Baltimore’s Penn Station.  Other stops on the MARC Line that runs through Odenton include New Carrollton, Seabrook, Bowie State University, BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, Halethorpe, West Baltimore, Martin Airport, Edgewood, Aberdeen and Perryville. 

Crofton Commuters who board at the Odenton MARC Station can transfer to METRO‘s Orange Line at New Carrollton or they can transfer to the Red Line at Washington’s Union Station; the Red Line then intercepts with METRO’s Green/Yellow Lines at Gallery Place and the Orange/Blue Lines at Metro Center.  In Baltimore, Anne Arundel County MARC riders can transfer to Amtrak at Penn Station and continue on to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston.

MARC reports “The Penn line is the most traveled of all three MARC Lines, boasting an average daily ridership of approximately 20,000 commuters (Oct 2007).”  I’m guessing that has something to do with the fact it’s the only MARC line which runs throughout the day, whereas the Brunswick and Camden Lines operate only during morning and evening commuting hours.  (For a map of all three MARC lines, you can click on this link.) 

Odenton MARC Station ParkingPARKING:  Free parking is one of the benefits enjoyed by Odenton MARC train commuters.  I often drive through the parking lot with buyers of Crofton real estate to show them this commuting option, and we’ve always found empty parking spaces.   In fact, this photo was taken in that parking lot during the middle of a business day.

COST:  For a complete chart of MARC fares on the Penn Line, check their fare schedule online.  As of today, 9/9/08, one-way fare from the Odenton MARC Station to either Union Station in Washington or Penn Station in Baltimore is $5.00.  When you consider today’s cost of gasoline (and parking once you arrive downtown) or the cost of Metro AND parking, it’s easy to see why so many Anne Arundel County residents choose the MARC train for their commuting option.


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