The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby RailVet » Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:37 pm

The URL in that last post didn't come out too well. To locate documents on the Chesapeake Railroad, go to

http://www.stb.dot.gov

and click on E-Library, then select Filings from the drop-down menu. On the next screen, go near the top center and click on the link to Full Text Search. On the following screen, go to the blank space next to Case Title and enter

Chesapeake Railroad

and click on the Submit button. (It's not necessary to fill in the other blanks.) That will give you a list of CHRR documents going back several years.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Alan Maples » Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:29 am

To shed a little more light on the history of the Chesapeake Railroad, I was responsible for the incorporation of the company and the initial negotiations with the state and rail shippers. The two principal customers were a wood truss manufacturing plant somewhere near Easton and a small plastics processor further up the line. It's been many years since I was over that way, so the exact details escape my memory now. The big potential source of traffic was hauling crushed rock for distribution, since the Eastern Shore is has plenty of sand but no quarries. The Easton branch was by far the weakest of the state subsidized lines and Maryland DOT braved some political heat to shut the railroad down, so needless to say they were unenthusiastic about a young amateur trying to revive it. Despite being a complete neophyte, it didn't take too long to figure out that there were a lot better business prospects elsewhere. Bill Bartosh took a particular interest in the Easton line and kept asking to help, so one day I gave him the corporate charter and the business files and wished him good luck. I give him a lot of credit for trying and producing tangible results, if ever so briefly. I did ride over the whole line once, when the RRE trip was operated by the MDDE, and I remember stopping by and seeing Bill's passenger operation one day. He gave me a Chesapeake Railroad hat, which is now a prized remembrance. It's too bad that things didn't work out, but both politically and economically it really never had a chance.

As a footnote aside, I learned recently that the principals behind the Ocean City Western Railroad had bid on the Queen Anne - Denton branch back in the Penn Central days. PC changed its mind and held onto that line, offering them the Berlin - West Ocean City route instead. Obviously that operation didn't fare too well either, but it's interesting to speculate how things might have worked out if they had been in place on the Denton track when Conrail came along.

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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Pacobell73 » Wed Nov 19, 2008 4:30 pm

Alan - that was fascinjating. Very sad, too. It is always hard to see a line with nary a serious curve in it just have no serious potential.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Aardvark » Wed Nov 19, 2008 10:06 pm

I posted this link in another thread, but since it pertains to this discussion as well I'll post it here to back up railvet's quote
tens of millions of dollars in repairs to the many deteriorated trestles along the line

http://www.deldot.gov/information/projects/rails_to_trails/pages/master_plan_toc.shtml

Scroll down to Structural Evaluations then go to page 10.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Aardvark » Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:14 am

Sunday I decided to take a ride and see exactly what was left along the abandoned CHRR line, at least what was visible from the roadway. In an effort to conserve bandwidth I'm skipping things that are available on rrpicturearchives and railpics.

I started in Clayton and worked my way south. The biodiesel plant that is served via a couple hundred yards of the original CHRR was recently sold at auction. According to local news oulets the new owner is supposed to reopen the plant. You can find pictures of this location on rrpicturearchives.

Moving down the line are many scenes like this one in between Clayton and Kenton.

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In Kenton, a load of steel awaits shipment by truck. In the past this load might have shipped via the rails. Not today. Note the crossing mount in the foreground.

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This appears to be the old station in Hartly, DE as it is directly along the old tracks and is in quite the state of disrepair.

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There wasn't much to see in Marydel so I continued on to the next stop, Henderson, where there was little more to see.

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I do remember at one time there was an old station at the entrance to a trailer park in Henderson. Its not there now. Maybe it was moved closer to its original location here in Goldsboro?

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You can tell they're not expecting traffic on this line anytime soon!

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Another scene showing the rural nature of the towns once served by this line. At least we don't need to worry about this one being paved over!

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This building in Greensboro resembles a station and is directly along the tracks. Its now a home.

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Perhaps this was the old depot next to the station. Now converted into several apartments.

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In Ridgely I came across a few interesting things. You can veiw the brick station and cabin car elsewhere on the internet. I'll share what else I found

The rail that's mounted to the ties is marked 1924.

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But the pile of rails left between was much older.

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Much much Older

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I'd bet this grain elevator was a customer of the railroad at one time, but it like the railroad is abandoned and dilapidated.

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Crossing MD 404 and into Queen Anne I found another building along the tracks it appears now to be associated with the large grain silos just to the left of this shot.

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The silos I spoke about previously

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It was starting to get dark by this point in the day. On my way out I snapped a pic of the Queen Anne's Railroad trestle headed towards Denton. I couldn't resist.

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I plan to continue the rest of the way to Oxford eventually. Im not sure when though.
Last edited by Aardvark on Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby RailVet » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:31 pm

The cabin car in Ridgely was not "left behind." That's a romantic notion with no basis in reality. The line was cleared of rolling stock in October 1998 when a special train, using one of the two now-scrapped Whitcomb 80-tons and a crew from the MD&DE RR (Bill Bartosh of the CHRR acted as the pilot), was used to haul everything to the interchange at the north end of the line. The CHRR's operating insurance had lapsed during the previous year so the MD&DE's was temporarily expanded for the purpose of clearing the line. The car in Ridgely was trucked to the site several years ago. When I last saw it a few months ago it looked awful.
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Rails to Trails in Ridgely

Postby RailVet » Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:33 pm

Ridgely Rails to Trails stalled on tracks
Daniel Divilio
Times-Record, January 28, 2009

RIDGELY, MD While local historians wish to preserve the railroad lines in Ridgely currently set for removal as part of a long in the works Rails to Trails project, the town could end up losing state funding for the walking path if officials do not get the project as currently planned out to bid soon.

Ridgely Town Manager Joe Mangini recommended to the commissioners at a workshop meeting Monday night that construction of the Rails to Trails project be put out to bid with a caveat aimed at satisfying the Caroline County Historical Society, whose president, JOK Walsh, is asking to have 200 yards of the rail lines preserved.

Mangini said the town could add an addendum to the bid package allowing for a 90-day waiting period between companies' submittals and the commissioners awarding of the contract.

"That should be able to give us time to work out any of the other issues that we've had with the Rails to Trails," Mangini said of the addendum, though the commissioners took no official action at the meeting on his proposal.

Walsh said the historical society is agreeable to Mangini's recommendation and does not want to cause the town to lose its state funding for the Rails to Trails project, which town officials first began discussing in 2005.

He said he is still determined to save 200 yards of track running through Ridgely's Railroad Memorial Park, which date back to the early 1900s.

Walsh's plan calls for that stretch of rails, slated to be removed and paved over with a walking, running and bicycling trail, to be kept as they are, where they are and to lay the new path parallel to them.

The rails in question remain under the ownership of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
Speaking about the state's plans for the tracks the following day, MDOT Manager of Community Enhancement Programs Sylvia Ramsey said the steel rails are set to go to Dorchester County, as part of a pending memorandum of understanding with the state, for an improvement project at the airport in Cambridge.

Regarding those plans, Walsh said at the workshop he thinks the state is being unreasonable. He said there are plenty of other sections of unused tracks they could pull up for the Dorchester County project and questions whether those from Ridgely are even in usable condition. Walsh also provided a copy of a letter he sent to Sen. Richard Colburn, R-37-Mid-Shore, outlining his concerns over the state's decision and why he wants to save the rails.

"You take the rails away, they'll be permanently gone. They'll never be back," Walsh told the commissioners.

Commissioner Kathy Smith said she supports Walsh's goal of preserving the rails. Smith said since they run through Railroad Memorial Park they should remain there.

"There's not much of a memorial if the rails are taken up and given to Dorchester County," she said.

Smith said the town needs to stand up to the state and make it clear they want to retain the historic railroad tracks.

Mangini said the state will not allow the town to use the already earmarked money to go through with Walsh's plan though and if the town does tell state officials they plan to proceed with preserving the rails, there is a good chance the funding could be lost.

Walsh said he does not want to see the town lose its funding for the Rails to Trails project and he would work to get any additional money needed to complete it as he proposes.

Commission President Charles Hunter said the issue boils down to who owns the rails, not their historical value. With the project already approved by the town and the various state agencies involved with it, Hunter said he does not think the town should be put in a position to lose state money.

"The bottom line is we don't want to put our funding in jeopardy by not going through with this," he said.


State may come to Rails to Trails rescue

Daniel Divilio
Times-Record, February 11, 2009

RIDGELY, MD The historic train tracks running through Ridgely's Railroad Memorial Park may be staying right where they are thanks to the intervention of Sen. Richard Colburn.

Colburn, R-37-Mid-Shore, announced last week that he had discussed the matter with Maryland Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, who agreed to help spare the more than 100-year-old steel rails from being removed as part the town's Rails to Trails project.

The Caroline County Historical Society has been working to preserve 200 yards of rails running through the park from being removed for the project in hopes of creating a railroad interpretive center in town. They proposed running the trail parallel to the railroad lines.

State officials were prepared to take up the rails, owned by the MDOT, and send them to Dorchester County as part of an expansion project at the Cambridge airport.

Colburn said he has since talked with Porcari about the project and the transportation secretary agreed to work on preserving the historic rails.

"We're very pleased with the decision," said historical society president JOK Walsh.

Colburn said Porcari told him there is no reason why the section of rails in question could not remain intact at the park with a new path being built in close proximity to them.

Colburn said Porcari noted doing so may delay the trail's construction for a little bit while consideration is given to other right of way issues may crop up.

He said the transportation secretary also told him he does not think the alterations to the project should cost much more than was originally planned, nor should the additional costs fall on Ridgely's shoulders.

As for the whether the town would lose funding by making any changes to the plan, Colburn said Porcari assured him the state money already allocated for the project would remain in place.

"He was decisive. He was critical in getting this thing approved," Walsh said of Colburn.

Ridgely Town Manager Joe Mangini said town officials are meeting with their design consultants again to rework the trail plans.

"It looks like we've got a game plan," Mangini said.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Pacobell73 » Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:17 pm

So let me get this straight - rails that were dated 1924 and 1898 were going to be lifted and reused elsewhere? Is that the latest lie that Ridgely used to get the tracks out of there?

Gosh, the tourist train that could use this line has so much potential.

Thanx for the pictures. Glad someone is out there snapping photos of the line to preserve it. Where else can photos of the line be found? Railarchives.com?
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Aardvark » Tue Jun 30, 2009 11:19 pm

Well I finally got to continue my journey further down the line. This stretch of track from south of Queen Anne into Easton was much more uneventful than the previous series of photos.

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This scene is played out over and over again. Crops and "tar and chip" pavement overtop of the disused ROW.

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Several miles of overgrown trackage parallel to the MD 309 seem to be kept cut down just enough to allow acess to the power lines.

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Yep, there's still rail somewhere underthere.

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Looking north from the same spot. I do not envy anyone who has to drive a utility truck through here. You'll see why in the next picture.

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This was probably the most interesting thing I found. The embankment is about the same height through the woods as it is in this picture. The bridge crosses over the road which also crosses diagonally over a stream. The stream runs from the bottom right corner to the left behind the bridge.

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Other concrete spans similar to this one have crumbled completely. Its just a matter of time.

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In the town of Cordova a partial washout shows what exactly what time will do to this line.

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There's a station called Flemings Siding sited in Rails Along the Chesapeake. It must have been near here. Judging by the other sign I decided to take the rest of my pictures from the road.

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The large cement blocks are sitting directly on the old trackage.

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Judging by the age of this structure and its proxcimity to the rails, I'd hazard a guess that this facility was once served by the railroad.

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In Easton there is just a trail now. At least someone is using it.

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While the trail serves its purpose well, besides the station it was devoid of any railroad features.

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Ok, I found some features.

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On the other side of "the main" was another set of tracks embeded in the road.

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But even they were cut.

It wasn't a total loss though. There were several old grain silo's along what was the trackage.
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It was getting late again by this time and I had to head home. Here's a couple links to other photo's from Easton

http://www.mdhs.org/Library/Images/Mellon%20Images/Z24access/z24-00121.jpg
http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=529614
http://www.town-eastonmd.com/Planning/r2t_history.htm
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Pacobell73 » Thu Jul 02, 2009 1:41 pm

Aardvark wrote:Image
The large cement blocks are sitting directly on the old trackage.
I remember this crossing driving in this area. you gotta look hard for the tracks under the grass there if you do not have a GPS.

There is always the busy, 4-lane crossing over US Rt. 50, just before the trail begins. Thanx for the photos.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Aardvark » Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:28 pm

If you hadn't heard yet.
As part of the MD 404 widening project, funded by the ARRA, the long unused railroad bridge over MD 404 is scheduled to be demolished.

http://www.e-mdot.com/Planning/Economic_Recovery/ARRA_MD404Phase1A_Final_Release.pdf
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Tyler2 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:46 pm

I use to work for Bill Bartosh/Chesapeake Railroad when he cleared the line for operation on the late 80's/early 90's. Bill lived with my family for a year while the operation was in full swing. I was one of two paid employees on the line at the time. Bill had a big dream but no money to make it reality. He wanted the state to pitch the lion's share of the funds needed (since it was a state owned line) but the state didn't see enough possible freight on the line to put alot of taxpayer money in it. Local counties, namely Talbot and Caroline, who got burned by the old Maryland & Delaware (gave the railroad money in the early 80's for track repair on the Easton line--M&D repaired a trestle in Easton and 6 months later closed the line--rest of money ended up on the Hurlock line which was getting plenty of ties and ballast for the new feed mill) didn't want to help much either. Can't say I blame them. On top of all of this, I do not think the state was too keen on a pipe dreamer starting a possibly successful freight/passenger line and making the M&D and themselves look like fools who cut the line too soon with little effort of trying to attract new customers. NOTE: the current MDDE operators are a different bunch that the M&D at the time of abandonment, although some of the current MDDE regime was around during the old M&D company.

The state did pay us (Chesapeake RR) to clear the line, which we did for $40K when another clearing company wanted $239k to clear the right-of-way. We proved things could be done right, with volunteers, and save money at the same time. After clearing the line I was sent out to talk to possible shippers along the line to see how much they would haul and I came up with 2,000 to 2,500 cars per year, most of which came from the Goldsboro area hauling rock in and sand out. Again, money was needed and it was not there. Bill pushed passenger service and the state was pushing freight. Another issue was for Bill to get the lease on the line, he had to give up crossing RT 50 to go into the largest town on the line--Easton. Without Easton, passenger service would be dead in the water and freight would be hurt a little, due to no service to Perdue mill in Easton. At the time Bill agreed to this, I left the railroad to pursue my education.

Idea was a good one, but a run down railroad needs money, money and more money, along with state and local government support. As much as I would have loved to see the line reopen, as I grew up in Easton and rode the trains in town with the engineer, I knew towards the end on Chesapeake RR that Bill was not the one to make it happen.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby RockGp40 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 8:41 pm

I am sorry to report that the present day GM of the MD&DE RR passed away at his residence on 12/11/09. He's been around the MD&DE for a long time, but I don't know what his position was with the railroad during the time frame you speak of Tyler. I have only been employed there for two + years.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby Pacobell73 » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:49 am

Aardvark wrote:If you hadn't heard yet. As part of the MD 404 widening project, funded by the ARRA, the long unused railroad bridge over MD 404 is scheduled to be demolished.
That is going to hurt. I believe there were problems with that bridge anyway that prevented trains from crossing it. But still, that bridge being gone leaves the lower half stranded.
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=hillsboro,+md&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=27.699934,56.337891&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Hillsboro,+Caroline,+Maryland&ll=38.923217,-75.952445&spn=0,359.989057&t=k&z=17&layer=c&cbll=38.923239,-75.952554&panoid=yLu_xzKU4JQ51tpcasaQ0g&cbp=12,113.65,,0,-2.53 Thanx for the update.
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Re: The Chesapeake RR In Clayton, DE

Postby RailVet » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:17 pm

I remember driving past that location once when the CHRR was still in operation and seeing a couple of large black tank cars delivered to a customer just south the bridge on the west side of the track. Wish I'd gotten a picture! Rail service that far south was rare and I may have seen the only occasion of it to that location.

I remember Bill Bartosh had some work done on the bridge in the mid-90s and someone showed me a picture of a crane at work, helping to repair some damage from large trucks that had banged into it. Since the end of operations over a decade ago, Mother Nature has reclaimed the right-of-way and you'd never know it had ever been open in the 90s.

I think this was as far south as Bill ever reached. The tree and brush growth just south of here went undisturbed during the life of the CHRR. While the vegetation makes hiking the right-of-way tough, it's probably a major factor keeping the rail on the ground. An effort to lift the rails (the ties are too far gone to bother with them) would require a lot of brush and tree cutting, and that would make rail removal less profitable.

RE the GM of the MD&DE RR who passed away. Was that Joe Pearsall?
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