BERLIN — The blaring train horn so familiar to Berlin residents and visitors silenced for months after a major August storm has returned.
For decades, the loud, shrill whistle of the Maryland and Delaware Railroad Company as its locomotives and cars rolled through town have been a way of life for Berlin residents and a quaint reminder of a bygone era, but the familiar whistle has been silent for much of the late summer and early fall since the epic Aug. 25 storm, deemed a “1,000-yer-storm” by some, devastated much of the area.
The storm, which wreaked havoc on Berlin and reignited the years-long flooding debate in the town, also washed out the ground under a section of the Maryland and Delaware Railroad track about 100 feet long in an area just south of Showell where the rail line runs roughly parallel to Route 113.
The track itself remained intact, but the storm, which dumped as much as 15 inches of rain on the Berlin area and flooded streets and stranded motorists, also washed out the sandy soil under the 100-foot section of railroad track near Showell just south of Peerless Rd. As a result, no trains ran along the railroad’s southern line through Berlin to its southern terminus since the August storm.
After securing the necessary funding for repairs, the trains resumed running through Berlin about two weeks ago, according to Maryland and Delaware Railroad President Eric Callaway.
“The washouts are fixed and we’re back in business along that southern route,” he said this week.
Callaway said the repaired washed out area of track did not see any adverse effects from Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent Nor’easter that soaked the local area in the last two weeks. While the familiar train whistle has returned to the Berlin area, it is far less frequent now only because of the time of year. The Snow Hill line largely serves the Lower Shore’s poultry industry, transporting chicken feed, corn and soybeans to and from many of the rural outposts along the route.
When the track was washed out at the end of August, it was at a time of year when local corn was being harvested and transported to rural outposts along the Snow Hill line and for a time, 26 cars were stranded near Snow Hill on the south side of the washed out section. With the arrival of fall, the number of trips along the line through Berlin has been diminished, but the track is open and the familiar whistle has returned.