Blue Ridge (train)

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Blue Ridge
Amtrak 271 with the Blue Ridge, December 1980.jpg
The Blue Ridge in December 1980
Service typeCommuter rail
StatusTransferred to MTA Maryland
LocaleWest Virginia
PredecessorPotomac Special
First serviceMay 7, 1973
Last service1986
SuccessorBrunswick Line (MARC Train)
Former operator(s)Amtrak
StartWashington, D.C
EndCumberland, Maryland
Distance travelled143 mi (230 km)
Average journey time3 hours, 5 minutes
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)701–704
On-board services
Class(es)Unreserved coach
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner(s)B&O Railroad

The Blue Ridge was a daily Amtrak passenger train that operated between Washington, D.C. and Cumberland, Maryland (Martinsburg, West Virginia after 1976). Service began in 1973; it was merged into the MARC Brunswick Line commuter rail service in 1986.


The Blue Ridge was introduced on May 7, 1973, as a replacement for the Potomac Special. It was curtailed from the Potomac Special terminus of Parkersburg, West Virginia to Cumberland, and retimed to better serve commuters.[1] In December 1975, the Blue Ridge became the first train outside the Northeast Corridor to receive new Amfleet coaches.[1] The Blue Ridge was truncated to Martinsburg on October 31, 1976 upon the introduction of the Washington–Cincinnati, Ohio Shenandoah.[2][1] Weekend service was dropped on October 1, 1981 amid cuts to Amtrak services.[3]

In 1986, Amtrak transferred the Blue Ridge to the Maryland Mass Transit Administration (now the Maryland Transit Administration), who incorporated it into the MARC Brunswick Line.[4] As part of the transfer, Amtrak agreed to subsidize the train for five years.[5] MARC continued to use the name during the late 1980s.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c West Virginia Department of Transportation, State Rail Authority (March 12, 2013). "West Virginia State Rail Plan: Intercity Service Review". pp. 4–6. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014.
  2. ^ Sanders 2006, p. 68
  3. ^ Hebert, H. Josef (August 26, 1981). "New Amtrak Network Keeps Most of System Intact". Associated Press.
  4. ^ Reynolds & Oroszi 2000, pp. 126-127
  5. ^ West Virginia Department of Transportation, State Rail Authority (March 12, 2013). "West Virginia State Rail Plan: Maryland Area Regional Commuter Service". p. 2. Archived from the original on 2016-10-07. Retrieved 2014-10-05.


External links[edit]

Media related to Blue Ridge (train) at Wikimedia Commons