The federal government shutdown and how it affects rail travel

Here’s a quick blast on what’s happening on passenger railroads in the wake of the federal government shut down of October 1, 2013:

Amtrak will continue to operate trains as usual for at least the next five or six weeks. They have cash on hand to make payroll at present, and many of their subsidized train lines use funding that comes from states that they run through.

Virginia Rail Express, a Washington DC commuter railroad serving the Virginia suburbs, continues to run it’s regular schedule through Thursday, October 3. Today (October 2) they will make a decision on whether or not to run a snow day schedule on Friday. If the shutdown lingers on past this week, it is likely that they may introduce a reduced service schedule for the coming week(s). By commuter service standards this is not a big operation: 30 trains a day on two lines, with no service on the weekend.

MARC, a commuter line running north from Washington DC to Baltimore on two lines, and west to Cumberland MD, ran special mid-day trains yesterday to transport furloughed workers home. No announcements have been made regarding reducing service. Like VRE, MARC is a five-day-a-week operation.

METRO, the Washington DC subway system, saw a 22 percent decrease in ridership today as federal offices, museums and monuments were shuttered. Management is reducing the lengths of train sets to save money, while continuing to operate their normal schedule.

3 comments to The federal government shutdown and how it affects rail travel

  • Andrea

    Thanks for posting this info Tom!

  • JohnD.

    Hi Tom,

    I was not aware that there were different railroad system within DC serving the city. I hope the shutdown will end soon, so ridership will get back to what it was for the train companies and it’s workers.

    Thank you,

  • Aalaa

    It seems that the government shutdown did not affect the rail travel so much. They are still trying to work with state support and other financial resources. in the ong term it might be a big problem though. Thank you for the information.


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