Transportation history may soon repeat itself in Washington. Until the early 1930s, electric interurban trains of the Washington, Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad carried commuters into downtown Washington where the Greyhound terminal now stands.

In more recent years, the company--its name shortened to the Baltimore & Annapolis Railroad after ending service to Washington--has evolved into primarily a charter-bus operator. Soon it may resume the regularly scheduled service into Washington it gave up a half century ago.

Prince George's County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan announced that the county had signed a five-year contract with B&A to provide weekday commuter bus service between Laurel and two downtown Washington terminals, chiefly following U.S. Rte. 1. Five trips would be run in each direction.

But because the county's contract is with a private company, it must receive official permission from the area's private bus-regulatory commission before service can start.

For years, the U.S. 1 service was operated by Greyhound. Currently it is being run on a stopgap basis by two small bus companies, Beltway Limo and Freeway Enterprises, the latter of which has applied to keep the operation permanently.

Prince George's agreed to a contract with B&A that "will save the county thousands of dollars below what it would have cost to subsidize . . . Metrobus" on the same route, Hogan's office said.

The contract provides for an initial $2.50 one-way fare. Calculations based on the contract indicate that the county has agreed, in effect, to pay about the equivalent of a full fare for each seat not occupied.

Gregory Barth, general counsel of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission, which must certify B&A to provide the service, said the company has not yet filed an application.