The object that a MARC train struck Wednesday evening was a tire, a large tire likely from a truck, according to MARC spokesman Terry Owens.
It did not cause any damage to the train, but stopped traffic on the tracks, delaying riders for up to an hour.
Authorities are still investigating it, Owens said, but it’s clear the tire was put there intentionally.
“There’s no other way for it to get there,” he said. “Someone had to roll it down there.”
He warned that they take the crime seriously. If they catch someone tampering with the railroad, “We’re going to prosecute to the full extent of the law,” he said.
A MARC train hit debris on a track Wednesday that officials are now saying appears to have been placed intentionally in the path of the train.
The Penn Line 436 train hit the object near Odenton just after 5:30 p.m., according to the Maryland Transit Administration. The train was disabled when the debris became lodged under the locomotive, meaning as much as hour-long delays along the line, which runs between Union Station in D.C. and Baltimore’s Penn Station.
MARC officials said that it’s not uncommon for the trains or tracks to be vandalized — or for people to throw rocks at the trains, especially as the weather warms.
But they reminded riders on Thursday that it is a felony to break, damage or obstruct a railroad that can be punishable by up to $5,000 and 10 years in prison.
The agency asks people who see anyone trespassing on Amtrak or CSX property to immediately call the Amtrak Police Department at 1-800-331-0008 (for the Penn Line) or the MTA Police at 410-454-7720 (for the Camden and Brunswick Lines) with the location.