MARC commuter train loco (Photo Alstom)

USA: Digital innovations are included in the next contract for the operation of MARC commuter rail services, which the Maryland Transit Administration has awarded to incumbent Alstom.

The contract covers train operations, locomotive and coach maintenance, customer service, crewing and station and facilities management on the 39 km Camden and 119 km Brunswick lines from Washington Union station.

It runs for an initial five-year period worth $401m, with options for two extensions in 2028 and 2033 which would take the total value to $1·4bn.

Alstom currently operates the services under a contract awarded to Bombardier Transportation in 2012 and extended in 2018.

Announcing the new contract on April 7, Alstom said it had acquired extensive experience of maintaining the MARC fleet of 42 diesel locomotives, 60 MARC II coaches and 54 MultiLevel II MARC IV coaches.

The contract will include a pilot fuel-saving project, along with the use of digital twins, 3D printing of spare parts and the use of connected glasses to provide field maintenance staff with access to remote assistance from technical specialists.

MARC’s Penn Line services are operated by Amtrak under a separate contract.