End of the line for the Bay Coast Railroad

Short line operator, local-government owner file to abandon former Pennsy trackage in Virginia
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Cape Charles, Va.
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WASHINGTON — It really is the end of the line for the Bay Coast Railroad.

The railroad, which had shuttered in 2018, seeks to formally abandon its remaining route miles on the Delmarva Peninsula and the car float operation across Chesapeake Bay.

The railroad filed an abandonment petition with the Surface Transportation Board June 13 to abandon the railroad's lines between milepost 45.7 at Hallwood, Va., and milepost 94.8 at Cape Charles, Va. The railroad also asks the STB to allow it to discontinue the car float operation between Cape Charles and Little Creek, Va. — across Chesapeake Bay.

The former Pennsylvania Railroad route has been operated by short lines in recent years, including Bay Coast and the relatively new Delmarva Central Railroad, which took over operations on 15 miles of the Bay Coast in 2018

John Heffner, a Washington-based transportation attorney, told Trains in 2018 that Canonie Atlantic Co., the rail line's owner, had reached an agreement with Delmarva Central to operate the rail line between Pocomoke City, Md., and Hallwood. There are no customers south of Hallwood — an explicit reason for Bay Coast's abandonment application. Car float operations ceased around 2012.

Bay Coast also had customers in the Norfolk–Virginia Beach, Va., area.

The railroad is owned by the Accomack-Northampton County Transportation District, a branch of the counties' governments. It administered the line through wholly owned Canonie Atlantic Co.

Canonie Atlantic operated the line as the Eastern Shore Railroad, then in 2006 leased it to Cassatt Management, doing business as the Bay Coast Railroad. Heffner says Cassatt Management's owner expressed a desire to leave the business, which brought about the change in rail service.

According to the transportation district's records, Bay Coast did most of its business on the Norfolk side of Chesapeake Bay. In March 2018, the railroad moved a total of 102 carloads. In February 2018, the railroad moved 133 carloads.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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