The Baltimore Chesapeake & Atlantic Railway

The Baltimore Chesapeake & Atlantic Railway was a combined railway and steamship operator in the Delmarva region, operating a route from Balitmore, MD to Ocean City, MD, using ferries from Baltimore to Claiborne, MD, and using a railway from Claiborne to Ocean City, MD. (Right of way)

Commercial, Anon. - Standard & Poor 1906, digitized by Library of Congress

The line was the successor to the Baltimore & Eastern Shore Railroad, who in 1889 began constructing the route between Claiborne (on the Chesapeake Bay) and Salisbury, MD, 30 miles south. In 1890, they purchased the Wicomico & Pocomoke Railroad to reach Ocean City.

Image via Star Democrat

By 1902, the Pennsylvania Railroad became the majority owner of the company, but it nonetheless operated separately from the rest of the PRR system. 

During the 1920's, the railroad grew unprofitable, and faced with insurmountable debts, attempted to reorganize to no avail. In 1928, the name was reverted to the Baltimore and Eastern Railroad, wholly owned by the PRR. 

Baltimore Chesapeake & Atlantic Railway 1000. April 1938, by George F. Nixon.

The line began abandonment in the early 1950's, although some segments survived through the PRR merger that created the Penn Central Railroad. In 1982, Penn Central's successor, Conrail would abandoned all segments of road that were not purchased by the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The las surviving section of the line operated between Hurlock, MD and Preston, MD by the Maryland & Delaware Railroad, but it appears that in the last few years this stretch of the road is no longer in service, even if it hasn't officially been abandoned yet.

Thanks as always for reading!


  1. When I last looked some years ago, the section between Preston and Hurlock was not only out of service, its condition was so bad that even running small track cars on it was not advisable. By now I think some sections may have been pulled up. Certainly the MDDE is not running over it and hasn't for many years.

    1. Thank you for the heads up. Looking at Google Street View, I would say you're right. I've updated the abandoned railroad map and this blog accordingly.

    2. As of 2/23/2022: Track removed north of Preston, but still present from Preston south to Hurlock. Trees up to 6" diameter growing between the rails in various places. Northbound track is impassable from immediately north of Hwy 307 in Hurlock. I have photos from Monday, 2/21/2022 of each road crossing on that segment from Preston to Hurlock. Literally thousands of trees would have to be grubbed out and almost all ties replaced before traffic could pass.

      Also, rails are still in place for much of the way from Hurlock, MD south towards Vienna, MD., even though not shown on Google Maps. But, likewise, completely impassable.


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