Maryland and Delaware Railroad Article

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Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company
Reporting markMDDE
Locale Delaware and Eastern Maryland, United States
Dates of operation1977–
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length120 miles
Headquarters Federalsburg, Maryland
Historic train station in Federalsburg, Maryland, restored as headquarters of Maryland and Delaware Railroad

The Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company ( reporting mark MDDE) is a Class III short-line railroad, formed in 1977 to operate several branch lines of the former Penn Central Railroad in both Maryland and Delaware, United States. These branches were omitted from the system plan for Conrail in 1976 and would have been discontinued without state subsidies. As an alternative to the higher cost of subsidizing Conrail as operator of the branch lines, the Maryland and Delaware governments selected the Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company (MDDE) to serve as the designated operator. [1] [2]

The railroad did not own any of the track it uses until 2000 when it acquired a line between Frankford, Delaware and Snow Hill, Maryland, from the Snow Hill Shippers Association. Today, the railroad operates on 120 miles of track and runs out of a restored station in Federalsburg, Maryland. [1]


MDDE incorporated in the State of Maryland on June 20, 1977 as a closely held, small railroad company. [3] At that time, the states of Maryland and Delaware were paying subsidies to Conrail for branch lines, still owned by Penn Central, serving rural communities. [1]

The Maryland Department of Transportation selected MDDE to operate three of the rural branch lines in August 1977. These included the current Northern and Seaford Lines, and the discontinued branch between Clayton, Delaware and Easton, Maryland. Maryland purchased the two branches served by the MDDE Northern and Seaford Lines. [1]

Snow Hill Shippers Association purchased the branch currently known as the Snow Hill Line in 1982 and hired MDDE to serve as operator. MDDE became owner of the branch in 2000. [1]

MDDE was awarded a five-year contract by Delaware in 1994 to operate a branch between Ellendale, Delaware and Milton, Delaware, and another branch between Georgetown, Delaware and Lewes, Delaware. These branches were part of the former Queen Anne's Railroad, which began providing rail service between Queenstown, Maryland and Lewes, Delaware in 1894, and extended its track to Love Point, Maryland in 1902. MDDE did not seek renewal of the Delaware contract and operation of the two lines was returned to the previous contractor, Delaware Coast Line Railroad, in 1999. [1] [4]

The 5-year operating contract with the Maryland Department of Transportation for the North Line and Seaford Line became effective in 2008. Two 5-year renewal options allow the contract to be extended until 2023. [5]

Lines operated

The Maryland and Delaware Railroad operates on three segments of track throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. Each segment intersects the Delmarva Central Railroad, which interchanges with the Norfolk Southern Railway in Clayton, Delaware.

MDDE route maps

Major clients

Customer Location Rail line
American Paving Bishop Snow Hill
B&G Foods Federalsburg Seaford
Crop Production Services Worton Northern
ES Steel Federalsburg Seaford
Eastman Specialties Corporation Chestertown Northern
Harbor Sales Sudlersville Northern
Interstate Corrpack Cambridge Seaford
Kent County Co-op Kennedyville Northern
Pep-Up Selbyville Snow Hill
Perdue Farms Hurlock Seaford
Perdue Farms Roberts Northern
Perdue Farms Lynch Northern
Reliance Wood Preserving Federalsburg Seaford
Solo Cup Company Federalsburg Seaford
Southern States Cooperative Lynch Northern
Tri-State Gas & Oil Williamsburg Seaford
Tyson Foods Snow Hill Snow Hill
Wenger's Feed Mill Massey Northern
Willard Agri-Service Lynch Northern

Hurlock Express

MDDE provides an engine for the "Hurlock Express" at the annual Hurlock Fall Festival. Train rides during the one-day event, held on the first Saturday of October, run from the town of Hurlock's historic train station (built in 1867) to Federalsburg, along the MDDE's Seaford Line. The town of Hurlock owns the train station and two passenger cars. [6]

In 1892 Hurlock became the intersection of the Delaware Railroad and the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway, which are no longer operating. The MDDE's Seaford Line is the only rail line now serving the town. Except for the Hurlock Fall Festival, MDDE does not provide passenger service. [7]

Engine roster

RS3m diesel locomotive
Locomotive number Model Location Line served
801 EMD SW900 Federalsburg, MD Seaford
1201 RS3m Massey, MD Northern
1202 RS3m Massey, MD Northern
1203 RS3m Federalsburg, MD Seaford
2628 CF7 Selbyville, DE Snow Hill
2630 CF7 Federalsburg, MD
2632 CF7 Selbyville, DE Snow Hill

Note: No. 2630 was wrecked when the crew ran through a switch, breaking it, then came back over the switch. The front set of trucks followed one track and the rear set followed the other, resulting in the locomotive rolling over. No. 2632 has sat for years, out of service, a short distance south of the enginehouse in Selbyville. Currently an out-of-state tourist train operator is interested in buying and restoring both to service. The remaining CF7, No. 2628, is kept inside the Selbyville enginehouse when not in service.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "History". Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company (February 2, 2010). Retrieved 2010-06-04
  2. ^ Facts & Stats: Freight Rail. Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
  3. ^ Business Data Search Archived 2010-05-23 at the Wayback Machine. Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
  4. ^ "Queen Anne's Railroad". State of Delaware, Delaware Public Archives. October 31, 2007. Archived from the original on July 21, 2010.
  5. ^ Maryland Board of Public Works Agenda Archived 2011-03-18 at the Wayback Machine. June 25, 2008, p. 23, agenda item 21-GM.
  6. ^ Events Archived 2011-05-09 at the Wayback Machine. Town of Hurlock. Retrieved 2010-06-04
  7. ^ History. Town of Hurlock. Retrieved 2010-06-04