On Light Rail Congestion and Construction

Attention: If you’re attending Shore Leave this weekend and were planning upon using local transit in and around Baltimore, this blog post may be important to you.

Baltimore’s Light Rail system is under construction this week. The Howard Street corridor through downtown is having work done — an old switch removed, overhead wiring replaced, a station moved. As a consequence, the Light Rail in Baltimore is not running from Camden Yards to State Center; the MTA has a “bus bridge” in place to ferry passengers between the two stops. Construction is supposed to last through Saturday.

For the most part, this didn’t affect me greatly; my subway stop lets me off at State Center, so I’m not having to use the bus bridge. But the trains did run late; I now know to give myself an extra twenty minutes or so, especially coming home at night, this week.

How This Affects Shore Leave:

For people coming in to Baltimore via Baltimore-Washington Airport and wanting to take the Light Rail from BWI to Hunt Valley, you won’t be able to avoid the bus bridge. If you have a lot of luggage, I would honestly recommend another mode of transportation. Reasons plural? The buses will likely be crowded, MTA generally finds new and inventive ways of screwing things up when needing to use buses in place of the train or the subway (like this time in February), and there’s not likely to be anyone official at either stop to offer help, assistance, or advice.

For people coming in to Baltimore via Penn Station and wanting to take the Light Rail from Penn Station to Hunt Valley, the Light Rail train is apparently running out of Penn Station to the Cultural Center stop. (I say “apparently,” because the MTA’s website doesn’t say otherwise.”) Penn Station is being serviced by the shuttle buses during this construction as well. It may be easier, though, and certainly less nerve-wracking, to simply walk the two blocks to the Mount Royal station, which is where the northbound train to Hunt Valley would be boarded. However, if you do have luggage and the train is not running out of Penn Station, I would recommend taking the shuttle bus from Penn Station to the State Center/Cultural Center stop, then board the northbound Light Rail station there; there aren’t going to be many people taking the shuttle bus out of Penn Station even in the busiest of times.

Construction on the Light Rail system is supposed to be finished on Saturday, so leaving Hunt Valley on Sunday via Light Rail should not be an issue.

Now you know! πŸ™‚

2 thoughts on “On Light Rail Congestion and Construction

  1. Thanks Allyn! I had an existing rental reservation so I’ll now keep it. I will only have a single bag (change of clothes for Sat and books to sign) but I don’t want to have to rely on the light rail to get to the airport for my return trip home on Saturday. Too many failure points. I do have tickets for a Camden Yards Tour Saturday morning so I may take the Light Rail for that.

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