Amtrak locomotive No. 271 with the Blue Ridge in December 1980. Click to enlarge.

(Photo by Roger Puta, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

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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. In December 1975, the Blue Ridge became the first train outside the Northeast Corridor to receive new Amfleet coaches. The Blue Ridge was truncated to Martinsburg on October 31, 1976 upon the introduction of the Washington–Cincinnati, Ohio Shenandoah. Weekend service was dropped on October 1, 1981 amid cuts to Amtrak services.

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. As part of the transfer, Amtrak agreed to subsidize the train for five years. MARC continued to use the name during the late 1980s.



Distance - City
0 mi / 0 km - Washington, D.C.
7 mi / 11 km - Silver Spring
16 mi / 26 km - Rockville
21 mi / 34 km - Gaithersburg
49 mi / 79 km - Brunswick

55 mi / 89 km - Harpers Ferry
74 mi / 119 km - Martinsburg
96 mi / 154 km - Hancock

146 mi / 235 km - Cumberland


Amtrak timetable showing the Blue Ridge schedule and consist. Click to enlarge.

(©1973 National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak), via the Museum of Railway Tiimetables,



Service type: Commuter rail
Status: Transferred to MTA Maryland (MARC)
Locale: West Virginia
Predecessor: Potomac Special
First service: May 7, 1973
Last service: 1986
Successor: Brunswick Line (MARC Train)
Former operator: Amtrak
Route Termini: Washington, D.C / Cumberland, Maryland
Stops: 9
Distance travelled: 143 mi (230 km)
Average journey time: 3 hours, 5 minutes
Service frequency: Daily
Train numbers: 701–704
On-board services
Class: Unreserved coach
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner: B&O Railroad