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 Post subject: MD revival
PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2002 7:03 pm 

Flimsies piece on revival of long-dead track in Maryland. My atlas shows this as Baltimore & Eastern. Was this a PRR subsidiary or a shortline? Any old and/or recent photos available? Trains apparently stopped using it in the 1970s.

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=6479857&BRD=2101&PAG=461&dept_id=417987&rfi=6
ryarger@rypn.org


  
 
 Post subject: Re: MD revival
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2002 1:46 am 

> Flimsies piece on revival of long-dead track
> in Maryland. My atlas shows this as
> Baltimore & Eastern. Was this a PRR
> subsidiary or a shortline? Any old and/or
> recent photos available? Trains apparently
> stopped using it in the 1970s.

The article is basically spot on, as they say. The RR in question was originally the Baltimore, Chesapeake & Atlantic RR, built as part of the "tag team" relay from Baltimore to Ocean City via ferry and railroad beginning in the 1890s. The old Vienna branch, once it was a branch from the Seaford-Cambridge PRR line, was once one of the busiest on the Delmarva Peninsula (2-3,000 loads annually), but the power plant in Vienna converted from coal to oil sometime shortly before the Conrail merger in 1976, and the track has been unused for most of that time, save for a possible transformer move or two.

There are important considerations that would give this proposal a serious boost. First, as noted in the article, the town of Hurlock (at the junction with the Maryland & Delaware) happens to own two passenger coaches (I believe they are former N&W steam excursion open-window coaches). Second, the Maryland & Delaware, the railroad connecting with this branch, happens to be somewhat railfan-oriented, having operated annual excursions for Hurlock for many years, and many other local one-off excursions with their own and other rolling stock (even a MARC trainset many years ago!). In addition, the former MDDE management involved Tony Hannold, a card-carrying railfan whose wooden combine and Alco RS1 followed him to thr Arkansas & Missouri RR. Third, there are other sources of equipment and enthusiasm on the Delmarva Peninsula, including a well-stocked museum at Parksley, Va. (with operable passenger stock available) and Harrington, Delaware (RR tower museum). Lastly, I believe that, legally speaking, the Maryland Dept. of Transportation or other such agency actually holds legal title to all the trackage in question (the MDDE is, I believe, still a "designated operator" of these lines).

On the down side, a tourist operation on the "Chesapeake RR" between Clayton, Del. and Easton, Md. failed disastrously; however, this operation possibly shone as an example of everything that could possibly be done wrong in the rail excursion industry (bad motive power, lack of equipment, lack of planning, too much route, totally inappropriate marketing and pricing, etc.). And the area is not exactly a tourist mecca.

Certainly, some skepticism may be warranted, as with any rail excursion proposal today. However, there may be more to this proposal than meets the eye, and I would eye this one closely for future developments.

More on the MDDE's Seaford Line
lner4472@bcpl.net


  
 
 Post subject: Re: MD revival
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2002 10:18 am 

Let me start by saying three things:

Ocean City Western RR
Queen Annes RR
Chesapeake RR

The problem with Del-Mar-Va is there are not many people there. The visitors can't be depended upon for anything but the beaches. The rail lines there are straight and flat. If you have ever ridden down a road in a farming area that is straight and flat and boring. Now imagine doing that at 10MPH without the comforts of your car. Now for the last thing is that during the summer the mosquito population can get mighty ugly. The Ocean City Western had to have custom aluminum screens made for the windows because the passengers were being eaten alive. I wish them the best of luck.

Tom Gears

PRR Wilmington Roundhouse
tom@forgottendelaware.com


  
 
 Post subject: Re: MD revival
PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2002 12:59 pm 

> Let me start by saying three things:

> Ocean City Western RR
> Queen Annes RR
> Chesapeake RR

> The problem with Del-Mar-Va is there are not
> many people there. The visitors can't be
> depended upon for anything but the beaches.
> The rail lines there are straight and flat.
> If you have ever ridden down a road in a
> farming area that is straight and flat and
> boring. Now imagine doing that at 10MPH
> without the comforts of your car. Now for
> the last thing is that during the summer the
> mosquito population can get mighty ugly. The
> Ocean City Western had to have custom
> aluminum screens made for the windows
> because the passengers were being eaten
> alive. I wish them the best of luck.

Decent points. If a steam-hauled dinner train next to a winery just a stone's throw from the beaches couldn't cut it, what hope does this out-in-the-sticks operation have? However, as I emphasized in my earlier post, this operation comes with some obstacles already cleared for them.

On the other hand, I also have this note from a choosing-to-be-anonymous former employee of the MDDE [notes added by me; he is referring to the Vienna branch, not the entire MDDE]:

"When I worked for the Maryland & Delaware 20 years ago, I had to inspect the line twice a year
and arrange for weed-spray. Even then, it was nigh impassable for a hy-rail due to weed and brush growth, not to mention many spots where the ties had long ago departed, allowing the heat of the day to widen the gauge. I spent more time rerailing a hy-rail on that line than anywhere elese in my [lengthy] railroad career! It will need 100 percent new ties. It is almost perfectly
straight. There is no terminal in Vienna. As I recall, the track went into the power plant and stopped in a small yard. The track has since been removed out to the fence, I believe. So they would have to establish a whole new terminal and station at Vienna [said terminal is mentioned in the article]. In Hurlock, if memory serves, there is a runaround just south of the former diamond. Regardless, I am sure these folks have no idea how much money it will cost to rebuild the railroad, purchase equipment, insurance, etc. Goodluck, folks. And, it seems to me, most visitors to the Eastern Shore are heading for the beach and aren't interested in a train ride. The MDDE's train rides are a once a year event attended almost exclusively by local folks, not tourists [no advertising in regional papers, regional rail magazines or even local NRHS newsletters, for example]."



lner4472@bcpl.net


  
 
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