If you’ve taken a MARC train to DC or other points south this summer, you might have a sense of why the Maryland Transit Administration wants to scrap the current trains in favor of a newer, better model–preferably one that doesn’t stop running as soon as it gets hot outside.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the MTA is asking the state for $58 million to replace its 10 electric locomotives with diesel powered trains, of which it already has a couple dozen. The electric engines, which were introduced in the 1980s, apparently have a reliability rating of 40-50 percent — meaning they’re more likely to not work than to function correctly. In contrast, the diesel trains have a reliability rating of about 85 percent. Problems with the engines are worse in hot weather–in other words, exactly when you don’t want your train to stop working. (Want to know more about the difference between the two kinds of trains? Here’s more info than you probably ever needed.)
Even if all goes according to plan, the new engines won’t be put in service until 2017. Happy train riding, everyone!