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MARC passengers trapped on train until midnight

A view of the train tracks from the MARC station in Frederick, Maryland. Tuesday night's flash floods trapped dozens of passengers aboard a train and led MARC to suspend service on its Brunswick line. (WTOP/Nick Iannelli)

FREDERICK, Md. — A dramatic scene unfolded Tuesday night as more than 80 people were trapped aboard a MARC train during the flash floods that hit Frederick County.

The train was just one of several rescues made by first responders in Frederick County during Tuesday night’s flash floods.

“It was an abnormally strong storm,” said Battalion Chief David Barnes with Frederick County’s Fire Department. “The water around the train was coming up to the step of the train on the first level.”

The passengers, who were headed to the Brunswick station, were told they needed to go to the upper deck of their double-decker train to stay safe.

Authorities said it was too dark and dangerous to safely get the passengers off the train.

“The train was unable to continue up the tracks as it was surrounded by water,” Barnes said. “We deemed that the safest course of action was to wait it out a little bit.”

From around 7 p.m. until midnight the passengers were stuck waiting for the water to recede.

“The safest course of action was to wait and get the train to progress to the Brunswick station in lieu of trying to offload approximately 85 people through the water,” Barnes said.

Rescue crews would have needed to use a boat to get the passengers off safely, Barnes said.

Following the incident, MARC suspended all service on the Brunswick Line Wednesday citing the “damage to train tracks between Brunswick and Germantown and between Monocacy and Point of Rocks on the Frederick Branch.”

MARC said it would release more details about the incident later Wednesday after talking with CSX Transportation.

“We share your concerns with how this situation was handled and will provide you with more information,” the rail service said in a statement.

Service on the Brunswick Line is expected to be fully restored on Thursday.


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