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Maryland has plans for bigger BWI rail station

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Every day, 1,800 passengers head to the rail station next to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, local media report. Every day, they board more than 40 trains headed for Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York and destinations all along the Northeast Corridor. It's the 15th busiest station in the Amtrak network. Now, the Maryland Department of Transportation wants to study the idea of doubling the station's size and recently applied for a $10-million federal grant for a detailed engineering study.  

"It’s one of the
busiest stations on the Penn Line," said Jack Cahalan, department
spokesman. "As we try to provide more transit options for people with the
goal of getting more cars off the road, you have to make transit accessible,
you have to make it efficient and you have to make it an enjoyable
experience."

The state’s broad plan
includes a new station building, a fourth track and a third platform. The grant
application is included in the state’s bid for $360 million in federal stimulus
funds for the Amtrak and MARC commuter rail system throughout the state.

"One of my top
priorities is creating a more balanced transportation network by investing in
all forms of public transportation," Gov. Martin O’Malley said in
announcing the application.

Other projects in the state
proposal include a tunnel replacement in Baltimore, several rail bridge
replacements, construction of a train storage yard, a GPS train locating system
and other improvements. BWI is one of two $10-million projects – cheap compared
to the other major requests.

The expanded BWI rail
station would be about twice the size of the existing one and built to more
environmentally friendly specifications, Cahalan said.

The plans call for an
expanded waiting area with more ticket kiosks and a larger concession area. New
pedestrian walkways above the tracks would be built, a new fourth track and
third platform would be added and existing platforms would be modified to allow
access to at least three of the tracks.

Cahalan said the expansion
would be within the existing footprint of the station’s property off Aviation
Boulevard in Linthicum and should not impact the surrounding area.

Cahalan is not sure when
the state will know if the application is approved, but said the study would
take years.

In recent years, a parking
garage has been added at the station. Federal funding has been approved to
expand and renovate the elevators at the station.

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