Berlin railroad tracks to undergo repairs this month
BERLIN – Some Berlin residents may have noticed the town has been a little quieter than usual and their suspicions are correct. Damage to the railroad track during August's major storm has prevented trains from moving through the town.
"When we have reports of high rain or wind, we immediately send an inspector out to the tracks to survey damage," said Eric Callaway, president of The Maryland & Delaware Railroad Company, the route operator.
According to Callaway, a 120-foot stretch of ballast under the track between Pitts Road and Peerless Road was washed out by the 13.5 inches of rain that dropped on the town within a 10-hour period.
Ballast, typically made of crushed stone, is placed under railroad tracks to hold the track in place.
The track will not reopen until the ballast is replaced and passes inspection. Callaway said if a train were to travel over the track in its current condition, it would derail.
From Berlin, trains travel south to Snow Hill to deliver corn and other products to those in the chicken industry, among others.
Companies have since used trucks to haul their supplies. Callaway could not give comparable numbers, but he said distribution through the truck routes could be more expensive and slower for companies.
He was able to confirm the project will cost an estimated $120,000.
"Historically, we have always asked the state for assistance," Callaway said. "We have approached them already, but even if we don't get any state help, we'll try and find funding elsewhere."
Regardless of what entity pays for the construction, the railroad company is in the midst of looking for a business to fill in the washed-away ballast.
"We're just trying to get the right contractor in, and once we do, we'll have it fixed up right away," said Scott Harris, assistant general manager of The Maryland & Delaware Railroad Company.
Callaway estimates that the project will be complete by Oct. 27.