Railway Preservation News

Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Train?
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Author:  bigjim4life [ Fri May 16, 2014 5:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Train?

From here: http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad%20New ... 0line.aspx

I'm not going to copy and paste the whole article in here, however, here's the relevant information:

"The Worcester County commissioners have voted to spend $20,000 on a feasibility study to bring an excursion train, operated by the Strasburg Rail Road, to the rails of the Maryland Delaware Railroad. The commission made the motion earlier this week, the Daily Times reports, in hopes of bringing economic development and prosperity to the area.

If it were to happen, county economic development director Bill Badger says the trains would connect Berlin, Newark, and Snow Hill."

My question - an excursion train operated by Strasburg - meaning a train using Strasburg's equipment? Or would Strasburg be in charge of operations, using new/old/non-Strasburg stuff? Seeing as how Strasburg seems to have a few engines on their "dead line" that are just sitting there waiting for a call to action...

So what's the story here? :)

Author:  robertjohndavis [ Fri May 16, 2014 6:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

Anyone of have pictures or info on the tourist road that ran this route decades ago?


Author:  wesp [ Fri May 16, 2014 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

This story was in our local paper but did not mention Strasburg as a consultant or operator.
Berlin has done a good job at building up a good mix of shoppes and restaurants in town. "Runaway Bride" was filmed in Berlin. There is no train station on the current rail line.

Ps. The former tourist railroad was Ocean City Western and operated on a branch line that ran east from the town of Berlin to the end of track in West Ocean City, MD.

Video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TS7DjQNl09w

Quoted from : http://www.abandonedrails.com/McDaniel_to_Ocean_City


Bob, That Small diesel engine and cars are now part of the wilmington and western tourist railroad here in upper Delaware. The Engines number was 114 and still is to this day. Its a SW1 Diesel switcher. The line ran from 1977 to 1988. The owner then traded his 114 and cars to the WWRR for a Alco diesel and a Private car. If you want current Pictures just search WWRR 114 and it should be there.

Christian B.
Kirkwood , DE

Author:  junior [ Fri May 16, 2014 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

I thinks this is just another classic example of editorial mistakes....

I'm quite sure this is how it went:

Reporter: So, what are the plans?

Town Official: we'd like to offer a successful excursion service, of quality, with vintage equipment, much like the Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania.

Reporter: Thanks!

(heads to type article)..... click click click, space, click click.

Results: Strasburg Railroad to operate excursion service on Maryland Delaware Railroad.


Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Fri May 16, 2014 9:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

I have not heard any official confirmation that the Strasburg has any involvement with this operation.

However, a little background: the Berlin-Snow Hill line is a shipper-owned tail end of a PRR line that used to stretch from Harrington, Georgetown, and Selbyville, DE to Berlin, Snow Hill, and eventually Franklin City, Va. The section has been operated under contract by the Maryland & Delaware since 1982, and the MDDE is/has been at least conversant with railfans and rail history (as anyone who knows the MDDE and affiliated Arkansas & Missouri would know).

The Ocean City Western, which has been discussed on this forum ages ago, ran on the east-west Berlin-West Ocean City former PRR/Baltimore & Eastern line. That was so long ago that it has as much relevance to this discussion/proposal as the Pennsylvania RR, NYC, SP, or CB&Q passenger trains have to today's Amtrak operations.

There are a few passenger cars "floating around" the Delmarva Peninsula still, many of them refugees from the former Tidewater NRHS roster formerly/still stored in Cape Charles, Va. and Parksley, Va. The town of Hurlock, Md., on another MDDE line, owns two former N&W lightweights used on the NS excursion fleet, refitted with openable windows, but those cars are apparently slated for yet ANOTHER proposed excursion line between Hurlock and Preston on another oddball Baltimore & Eastern segment that comes off the MDDE Seaford-Cambridge line.....

The railroad has on rare special occasions operated passenger excursions between the two towns in the past, beginning with the 1989 "Maryland Main Street Special" series of trips. There are two attractive stations in Newark/Queponco (a museum) and Snow Hill (community center), lots of "elbow room" at Berlin, but there's a lot more industry packed along that line than, say, the Strasburg or Wilmington & Western--indeed, to access the end of the line at the Snow Hill station, you have to run a train under the one grain elevator!

Can this work? Berlin is a charming little community--look at the Julia Roberts movie Runaway Bride for proof. There's enough seasonal traffic down there, a stone's throw from Ocean City (classic seaside resort for kids, teens, families, etc.). However, we could have said the same about the Queen Anne's Railroad a short distance north. Has anyone heard anything out of Cape Charles' Bay Creek Railroad's excursion operations lately? It would occur to me that bringing in the Strasburg as a consultant--and, possibly, buying any "spare" cars they may have, like any old DL&W trailers that may still be there--would put them on a better foundation than what seems to be the typical model of Andy Hardy saying "Hey, kids, let's run a train ride!" I mean, I'm sure everyone thought running tourist trains on a weed-choked line through farmland in southeastern Pa. was crazy in 1959......

Author:  wesp [ Fri May 16, 2014 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

The Bayside Gazette reports Strasburg's active participation in initial discussions. The Gazette web site has not been updated with the article.


Author:  robertjohndavis [ Fri May 16, 2014 10:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

wesp wrote:
Ps. The former tourist railroad was Ocean City Western and operated on a branch line that ran east from the town of Berlin to the end of track in West Ocean City, MD.

Thanks, Wes. I saw an image of #114 stored in Snow Hill. I didn't realize the operation was further east. From the little info on the web about the OCW it seems M&G #97 operated briefly, but #114 was the main power.

It intrigues me to see a new tourist line proposed for the same market (in this case the same town, Berlin) where one failed previously. Is there a case in North America where this has happened before, where a town lost a tourist railroad only to gain another one decades later (and on a different route to boot)? I can't think of any.

Very interesting. It will be interesting to see if a "second chance" market can prove to be successful.



Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Fri May 16, 2014 10:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

Earlier (yet still relevant) discussion from eleven years ago:


Author:  Mark Jordan [ Fri May 16, 2014 10:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

I wish them success, but more importantly "good luck".

My stint as GM of Queen Anne's RR 1992-1997 is enough to know that it is a challenge to compete with the beach. Folks come to that area for the beach, and everything else is secondary. That secondary market is flooded with everything from miniature golf to seafood restaurants. Getting people to board an antique train to watch trees go past their windows is a daunting task, and expensive advertising. The OCRR didn't survive, and neither did QARR. Maybe there is a pattern? This proposal is in an area that is less populated with tourists than these past RR's and is more of a "transient" area, meaning people are going from Baltimore / Washington area to the beach and vice versa.

That said, I'll entertain you with some photos. The MDDE wanted our excursion consist for a special event weekend in Hurlock, MD, and we agreed. Bad decision. While the MDDE were excellent folks to deal with, Conrail was not. The cars had to be interchanged through Conrail to get to their destination, and on the return move, they didn't fare well in the middle of the night. I had a friend that was a Conrail engineer tell me the details, which Conrail management would not (they would not even meet with me nor my bosses). The cars were put on the end of an loaded coal train parked in the Harrington, DE yard. In the middle of the night, another section of loaded coal train with multiple locos (mucho horsepower) was backed into the parked section to make a full size coal train to go to the power plant the next morning. The backing was done blind with no one on the rear, and the coupling was made at about 5mph. When the move coupled, the crew assumed that they had coupled to the parked coal train, and as per their usual procedure, throttle up to shove the whole mess further into the track.
What they didn't know was that there were three antique passenger cars between two loaded coal trains. The ex-PRR MP54 blew out it's coupler pocket and jumped off the track sideways and sideswiped a tank car and covered hopper, which resulted in the end being pulled nearly off the passenger car. The other two passenger cars (N&W combine & NYC heavyweight coach) were OK. The cars were eventually delivered back to QARR, and the local crew informally relayed the message "keep your stupid old cars off our railroad".
We fixed the car, with new coupler pocket, draft gear, and coupler head. We straightened out and remounted all the bent metal, and dabbed on some paint. The car did fine until put out to pasture when QARR ceased operations, and has since been scrapped.

QARR Ramsdell 003.JPG
QARR Ramsdell 003.JPG [ 196.03 KiB | Viewed 8725 times ]
QARR Ramsdell 001.JPG
QARR Ramsdell 001.JPG [ 155.73 KiB | Viewed 8725 times ]
QARR Ramsdell 002.JPG
QARR Ramsdell 002.JPG [ 174.97 KiB | Viewed 8725 times ]

Author:  dinwitty [ Fri May 16, 2014 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

this is rather interesting thinking, the NKP owners van sweringens built the NKP line into cleveland but also developed the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, for the full reason of developing the area, get a fast commuter service, daily service.
A tourist train isn't quite that but maybe it will do something. When people go on vacations like going to Disney World, they plan on it and the money spending, thats part of the why's of the Greenbrier.

We need to bring people back to the grandeur of train riding, a lot of the early lines were competitive and making the luxury comfort and design was all the rave to drive in customers, that includes the old interurbans.

So this will be interesting.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Fri May 16, 2014 11:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

Oh my goodness. I had heard about this incident, but never seen the aftermath.

Brother Jordan's story all too graphically demonstrates why you DON'T send vintage railroad equipment out on Class Ones without an "escort," or "expediter." Even if you know the folks you think you're dealing with on a first-name basis. Conrail, at the time, was supposed to be one of the "better" railroads for knowing how to handle such things.

In my relatively few runs as expediter, I have personally witnessed appalling demonstrations of lack of common sense and clear thinking by employees whom I should have reported for potential firing for general incompetence, who seemed too dull or routine-bound to even be used as cannon fodder in the military. I've had shouting matches with crews in railroad yards at four in the morning (and had bottom-rung personnel act more competently than their supervisors). I've watched damage to car ends occur before my eyes, and documented them for the owner's sake. And I have heard tales of cars going the wrong compass direction on a railroad they weren't even supposed to be on in the first place.

You have to accompany the equipment with ALL the special instructions in your hands, and personally beat them about the head repeatedly with that stack of paper, and maybe other blunt objects: "IT... GOES... ON.. THE... END... OF... THE... FREAKING... TRAIN..... G*D... DAMM... IT!!!!! AND... YOU... DO... NOT... SEND... IT... OVER... THE..... FREAKING.... HUMP!!!! GOT IT?!?!?!?! REPEAT AFTER ME............"

Author:  Bulby [ Fri May 16, 2014 11:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

Even some regionals are bad (which is why Im looking for a passenger car for "hire")

No shelf couplers/handle on rear means NO shelf couplers AND put it on the BACK; it doesn't mean put it between two loaded ethanol tank cars. (and then do it again as soon as the owner turns his back after flipping out the first time). This was not the first time the railroad, which shall go nameless, had handled this exact car, they had donated the move more than once, and they have used the car themselves. There was no excuse for what happened, especially since it happened three times in the course of the roundtrip.

Major lesson; use an expediter or even pay an executive to babysit the thing.

Author:  wesp [ Sat May 17, 2014 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

There is some potential here. The towns of Berlin and Snow Hill actively promote themed weekends throughout the year and Berlin has a successful art gallery walk on the first Friday of each month. The area is also a growing retirement destination (think grandparents looking for stuff to do off season). Properly marketed, the right sized tourist railroad has a chance.


Author:  bringback1218 [ Sat May 17, 2014 8:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

Berlin also has a nice little brewery Burley oak

Author:  wesp [ Sat May 17, 2014 11:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Maryland Delaware Railroad - Strasburg - New Tourist Tra

Excerpts from Bayside Gazette 5/15/2014:

"Meeting held with top leaders from Strasburg Rail Road in Lancaster"

(Worcester County Economic Development Director Bill) Badger and Berlin Economic and Community Development Director Michael Day recently met with executives from Strasburg Rail Road in Lancaster County, PA.

"This opportunity presented itself with some conversations that the Maryland-Delaware Railroad had with Strasburg with regard to determining their interest," Badger said. "Strasburg does a fantastic job...so we thought it was a good opportunity."

Badger continues later in the story..."one thing (Strasburg) wants to be sure of is that the market is here."

I give the Gazette reporter credit for the correct spelling of Rail Road as part of Strasburg's corporate name/identity.


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