BERLIN – Freight trains are expected to return to the tracks through Berlin next month.
The Maryland & Delaware Railroad will resume freight service along the tracks between Berlin and Snow Hill as soon as a few final repairs are made, Mayor Gee William announced at a town council meeting this week. The service hasn’t operated in seven years.
“We’re all pleased to see freight rail service returning after a quite long and unexpected break,” Williams said.
Cathrin Banks, president and general counsel for the Maryland & Delaware Railroad, confirmed in an interview Wednesday that freight trains would again be passing through town in the near future.
“We still have some track repairs underway,” she said. “We expect those will be completed and we are planning to resume service at that time but expect it to be in June.”
Banks said freight service to Snow Hill stopped seven years ago when Tyson Foods shifted to truck instead of rail.
“We were fortunate to get that business back,” Banks said, adding that support at the state level had helped with the rehabilitation of the railroad. “We’ve really rebuilt a very nice relationship with Tyson and are looking forward to resuming that service.”
She said the frequency of the trains would be determined by Tyson’s usage.
“It’ll depend on Tyson’s needs and depend on how much of the mill’s consumption they shift to rail,” she said.
Banks said the return of freight service would be good for Berlin and Snow Hill as well as Worcester County as a whole.
“It’s a great thing because the poultry industry is vitally important to the economy of the Delmarva Peninsula and certainly the Lower Shore…,” she said. “We’ve been working on it for a number of years and we’re excited to see it come to fruition.”
Williams said freight trains had run through Berlin for more than 100 years until the recent hiatus.
“We’re excited that this vital link from Snow Hill to Berlin up through Delaware will be returned to service,” he said.