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Living the Transit Lifestyle

September 11, 2015
Guy Henderson When MARC Train Weekend Service on the Penn Line was introduced in December 2013, many cheered. Week after week, passenger volume grew, and it continues to expand. A year later in December 2014, the MARC Bike Car was launched. The reaction on MTA’s Facebook page set records for comments, likes and shares worldwide. Now with the introduction of a second bike car on Saturday, September 5th, it appears that MTA is on the right track when it comes to helping integrate public transportation with habits that are even more environmentally friendly, like riding a bicycle. During last... more
September 9, 2015
Jon Berle As the Orioles wind down their season and the Ravens inaugurate theirs, it's an excellent time to point out that the Maryland Transit Administration has a long tradition of helping sports fans get to the game on time. The MTA “Stadium Express” was started in fall 1983 to transport baseball fans directly to Memorial Stadium from eight locations around the city, including major downtown hotels and Park and Ride lots. The Stadium Express carried 7,200 passengers for the first game of the series on October 11 that year. John Denver sang the National Anthem for that first game. His... more
August 31, 2015
/*-->*/  Guy Henderson Running a train service can be tough. Just ask Erich Kolig. He’s the Director of MARC Train Service. And of course, he doesn’t do it all on his own. He counts on his seasoned team to keep the trains running on schedule despite some uniquely challenging conditions. MARC doesn’t own any of the tracks on which it runs, for instance. Amtrak owns the Penn Line, mainly to serve its inter-city passengers, and CSX owns the Camden and Brunswick lines, over which thousands of freight cars run regularly. Kolig doesn’t mind that MARC leases the lines and must depend on Amtrak... more
August 26, 2015
Granville T. Woods, inventor of overhead conducting wire technology Jon Berle Light Rail has its roots in Baltimore’s 19th century electrified trolley service, which began on August 16, 1890. The first route ran on North Avenue from Division Street to Tenth Street. The technology that carried power to the trolleys of yesteryear was based on patents by African-American electrician and engineer Granville T. Woods. His 1888 invention for overhead conducting wires is what led to the aerial “catenary” wires MTA uses today.Those of us making our way to the Maryland State Fair over the next... more
August 25, 2015
Sandy ArnetteTo help Baltimore City Public Schools students kick off another school year on the right track, MTA Police joined in the McDonald’s Coldspring Community Celebration on Saturday, Aug. 22, to distribute much-needed back-to-school supplies to over 130 youth. Students received binders, calculators, carrying bags, highlighters, notebooks, pencil cases, pencils and pencil sharpeners. “MTA Police are an integral part of the community and we’re happy to help students prepare for the upcoming school year by donating supplies and transporting our youth to and from school quickly, safely... more
August 20, 2015
Jon BerleAs the automobile solidified its hold on the American imagination in the post-World War II 1940s, even "futurists" found it hard to envision locomotives that didn't look like cars on rails. They did, however, correctly forecast a bulbous aerodynamic front as a design element that continues to this day. Case in point - the MARC 7100 Locomotive below, which MTA donated to the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, shares many of the retro features of both today’s eco-friendly MARC locomotives and the locomotives of the 1940s. MTA used the 7100 and similar locomotives after Maryland’s... more
August 18, 2015
Guy HendersonMichael Wiedecker has been with the MTA for decades, and has put his enthusiasm and drive into gear for the agency on a wide range of operational issues. It’s his latest position though, as MTA’s Director of Operations Training, that not only has him fired up about his career, but has other transit agencies seeking out MTA’s advice regarding transportation operations training. As director, Mike made it his mission to learn about the KirkpatrickModel, an influential approach to evaluating training that was first offered as the subject of Donald Kirkpatrick's Ph.D. dissertation... more
August 12, 2015
Guy HendersonOnri Hector has earned his right to celebrate his membership in the MTA Bus Operator graduating class of July 2015. Not everyone made the cut out of the 30-or-so trainees who started the program, and that’s by design. Only those who were truly dedicated to meeting the challenge of being a professional bus operator got to celebrate their achievement on June 30th. For starters, classes began at 6 a.m. sharp every day for the duration of the ten-week training program. Showing up on time was the first big test of the trainees, who were encouraged to arrive up to a half-hour early... more
August 5, 2015
/*-->*/ Baltimore Transit Company’s first specially-painted streetcar rolled into revenue service on February 17, 1946. Jon Berle In the 1940s, MTA's predecessor, the Baltimore Transit Company (BTC), began to use their buses and rail vehicles in a big way to publicize campaigns with designs that were all hand-lettered and painted.  The three-step process first required the transfer of the designs from a small sketch to large paper which was then adhered to the bus or streetcar. Then a tool similar to a cowboy’s spur was rolled across the designs and letters, leaving small holes.... more
July 29, 2015
Jon Berle In 1947 an old Baltimore Transit Company (BTC) “horse car” was one of the most popular exhibits at a show at the Fifth Regiment Armory. Kids and adults alike flocked aboard the old John Stephenson Company car just to see how folks in the Gay ‘90s traveled around Baltimore. The car weighed 4,000 pounds and was first used by Baltimore City Passenger Railway, a company that had been in business since 1859. On December 17 of the following year, they were the first rail company in Baltimore to offer all-night cars. The experiment ended, however, after just a short, one-week trial. On... more