Click twice on image to enlarge the Delmarva Central route map.
Delmarva Central has filed with the federal Surface Transportation Board to lease and operate Norfolk Southern lines extending from Bear into the Delmarva Peninsula.
Delmarva Central Railroad Company, a subsidiary of Carload Express Inc., plans to lease and operate 162 miles of rail line. Carload Express, based in Oakmont, PA, has openings for a dozen employees at Delmarva Central.
One Delmarva Central route will run from Porter, a railroad junction in the Bear-Glasgow area, to Pocomoke City, MD; and from Harrington to Frankford.
The Porter area also includes Amtrak’s car maintenance shops.
Other independently operated lines that connect to Delmarva Central serve portions of Delmarva, including an a line in Virginia that feeds cars to a ferry across Chesapeake Bay.
The railroad will be managed from offices in Harrington, a longtime railroad town south of Dover.
Freight operations will operate from Harrington, Seaford and Delmar.
The railroad stated on its website that it would also work with shippers who do not have rail sidings, but want to combine rail and truck service.
Trains magazine reported the Norfolk Southern chose Carload Express to operate the route, due to its ability to build revenue on underperforming lines.
Short line railroads are typically more aggressive in building traffic through more aggressive marketing efforts and better customer service.
The consolidation of railroads over the years into megacarriers led to giants like CSX and Norfolk Southern shedding shorter routes while focusing on large customers such as the Delaware City Refinery.
Norfolk Southern made millions of dollars in improvements to trackage to and from the refinery amid concerns about the safety of trains carrying crude oil from the Bakken area of North Dakota.
Rail shipments to the refinery have plummeted as crude oil prices dropped brlow $50 a barrel. PBF now gets more oil via tanker
In the meantime, rail traffic out of Delaware has declined over the years with the closing of both of the state’s auto plants.
The Delmarva lines are essential to the economy of the region, supplying grain for the poultry industry as well as propane, building materials and bulk products.
Carload Express, also operates short line railroads in western Pennsylvania and a small area in Ohio.