Closure of Cambridge Rail Line Puts Pressure on Some Industries - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Closure of Cambridge Rail Line Puts Pressure on Some Industries

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A small portion of the 15 miles of track leading in to Cambridge (Photo:WBOC) A small portion of the 15 miles of track leading in to Cambridge (Photo:WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.- The American freight rail system is considered by many to be the finest in the world, linking industries from sea to shining sea, but the city of Cambridge will no longer be a part of that chain.  The train tracks in Cambridge have seen better days, and they are now shut down.

Ten years ago the Maryland Department of Transportation almost shut down the tracks leading into Cambridge, but it was successfully argued that industries in town needed the service.  Over the years, the tracks have degraded to the point where they were shut down suddenly earlier this year, leaving some companies wondering what to do next.

The Maryland Delaware Railroad operates on 120 miles of track, although that has now been cut down a bit.  Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers says in May, the tracks into town were suddenly shut down.

"It did happen very quickly on the state side for them to end service south of Hurlock, and Dorchester County is concerned about it," said Travers.

The tracks have been completely shut down since an inspection back in May, which found that the rails were not in good shape.  The wooden ties underneath were not in good shape.  The ballast underneath all of that was insufficient.  The total cost of refurbishing 15 miles of track including a bridge; $13.6 million.

Interstate Container is the sole user of the line.  Still, Bill Christopher with the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce says the rail line was a benefit to the city.

"Corpack and Interstate Container actually came because of the railway because it was important to them for their manufacturing and getting it in and out," said Christopher.

There is a plan to help the company.

"We have come up with a plan to try to make their facility able to handle the increased truck traffic in and out.  Where they do not have rail, the truck traffic will increase," said Travers.

In the meantime, a lone railcar still sits outside interstate container, unable to be moved because of the sudden shutdown.

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