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Weekend MARC service to Baltimore begins

Saturday - 12/7/2013, 1:56pm  ET

WASHINGTON - At 8:35 a.m. Saturday, MARC train number 675, which started at Maryland's Martin State Airport, reached the end of the line at Union Station in the District. It was the first train to reach its destination as part of the new weekend rail service on MARC's Penn Line.

Starting today, that line will offer nine round trips on Saturdays and six on Sundays. Southbound trains will travel from Martin Airport to Union Station. Northbound trains will travel from Union Station to Baltimore's Penn Station.

The fares are the same as weekday service: $7 from Baltimore to Washington, $6 from Baltimore/Washington International airport to Washington and $5 from Odenton to Washington. Weekly and monthly passes are accepted.

The first 50 passengers on the first two inaugural weekend trains got free weekly passes.

For riders such as Ally Jenkins, the service will save a lot of time, travel and transferring.

"Normally, I would normally take the bus, to the green line {on Metro}, to the Greenbelt Station, to the BWI bus, to the light rail, to Baltimore," she says.

A part-time actress, Jenkins says the new service will allow her to pursue acting opportunities in Baltimore she has not been able to take advantage of.

Maryland's Transit Administration says MARC tickets will no longer be honored on Amtrak weekend trains.

Baltimore-Washington Airport CEO Paul Wiedefeld says the addition of weekend service will be a boon for the airport.

"The Washington market is about 45 percent of our business, so to get that access every day of the week and not just on the weekdays is fantastic," he says.

About 25,000 passengers use the Penn Line on average per month, which comprises about 70 percent of the overall MARC ridership.

See the full schedule here.

WTOP's Thomas Warren, Max Smith and Ari Ashe contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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