• Delaware Coast Line Railway

  • Discussion pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Discussion pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Moderator: therock

  by Urban D Kaye
According to a Rehoboth history timeline I found on the web, the town was served by passenger rail from 1878 to 1928. I believe the spur was formerly Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington RR and later PRR.

As for the ROW between Lewes and Rehoboth... I've created a li'l map, based on a 1918 topo showing the then Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington Railroad line into Rehoboth (top) and a 1998 aerial photo of the same region (bottom). Arrows highlight what seems to be the ROW.


  by Legio X
Excellent work, Urban. I was afraid this topic might sit idle for awhile. I asked a question sometime ago in the Delmarva Forum about Penn Central's operations in Delaware, and still no answers yet. This is a very interesting area for railroading. I'd have thought it would see more activity. Once again, thanks for the map.

  by Urban D Kaye
Legio X -
Thanks. I've always enjoyed vacationing in the Lewes-Rehoboth area and am continuing to learn about its RR history.

There's still alot of rail in Cape Henlopen State Park, but as yet I haven't been able to locate anything resembling an accurate diagram or map.

  by Legio X
The rail in the park served what was once a U.S. Army Coastal Artillery Corps installation called Fort Miles. It defended the entrance to Delaware Bay with main batteries of 16" guns, and smaller caliber secondary batteries. I guess the track enabled the Army to bring in the building materials, ammunition, etc. much more efficiently than by truck. The artillery was removed after World War II, made obsolete by atomic weapons, cruise missles, etc., and the base was closed, I believe, in the early 60's. The land was then donated to the State of Delaware for use as a state park because the land was, for the most part, undisturbed. It must've been quite a sight to see those 16" guns in action, especially at night, though they never fired a shot at an actual enemy target.

  by Urban D Kaye
The park retains much of the feel of its military past. Some barracks remain, along with ammo bunkers, gun placements, and of course the watch towers. I'd also heard that the Nature Center was once the brig...and that a German U-Boat crew was briefly held there after they surrendered.

As for the RR...I was biking along some of the paths in spring, and the pollen released by the local pines had settled in the remaining rails, making them easy to spot. Must've been something to see Army 0-6-0 steamers hauling munitions and supplies thru the place.

  by Legio X
I'll be back down to the Delaware seashore for a weekend in early October. Is there a chance of seeing DCL switching SPI in Lewes on a Saturday?

  by Urban D Kaye
Legio X wrote:Is there a chance of seeing DCL switching SPI in Lewes on a Saturday?
I think they serve SPI Pharma on Tues or Fri mornings...never seen any weekend action there.

  by Legio X
I heard that DCL ran a special passenger train between Georgetown and Lewes with a B23-7 as the power. Did anyone see this movement, and get pictures? Were any of DCL's Alcos used at the other end of the train? Where could they have run the B23-7 around the train?

  by Legio X
How did DCL fare with the snowstorm? Were operations affected, or did they get the trains through?

  by VCRail
Since they don't run on weekends, they made out fine. Sussex County got a few inches of snow mixed in with sleet. Only problem would be how frozen the swing bridge might have gotten.

  by Legio X
Ahh, yes, the swing bridge in Lewes. One of the spots I try to visit, along with SPI-Pharma, when I'm down at the beach in Delaware each July. I've caught DCL's T-6 and RS-18 there a couple of times. Definitely a great picture location, especially from up on the Rte. 9 bridge.

  by Legio X
I'll be going back down to the beach this year in a few weeks. I hope to catch DCL in Lewes. Is SPI still a Tuesday or Thursday job, powered by the T-6?

  by nysw3636
I plan to be in the Rehoboth Beach area July 29-August 3. Any updated info on the DCL would be greatly appreciated...


  by Legio X
How dis Sussex County and the DCL fare during the snowstorm of this past weekend? DCL operating normally now?
  by skeeda
Down here in Lewes we received maybe 2-3 inches, which were gone the next day. At last glance, service was still every other week, often on Thurs. Incidentally, the Lewes Historical Society (www.historiclewes.org)has re-issued volume one of their publication which has several interesting articles (including a map) dealing with the town's railroad history. Unfortunately, nothing on the Fort Miles trackage, though.
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