• Mystery Rail Depot near Rt 4 Newark, DE

  • 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 iridia
Hi, all.

My boyfriend and I both like hiking on old rail lines and he came across this on historic aerials. It's in between Old Baltimore Pike and Rt 4 in Delaware:


A lot of the land has since been redeveloped, but there are still two of the main spurs visible on current aerial photos. It was only in use from some time after 1937 until pre-50s, so I assume something WWII-related, but the fact I can't find anything bugs me because it looks like the project cost a lot to complete. (I mean, it's over 100 acres)

Any information regarding this or WWII rail projects in general would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
  by delawarefan54
Your question struck a bell with me when you mentioned the proximity to Del 4. When my kids were playing Little League, some of the games were played at a field adjacent to Cobbs-Gauger School, right off Rt4. Next to the field, there was a large burm, which has since been removed. I learned at some point that there had been a munitions depot in the area, hence the need for the burm and rail access.

I just did a quick Google this morning and came up with this:

http://www.pencaderheritage.org/main/ph ... ingup.html

I will see if I can find any more info
  by iridia
Thank you for finding that information! Geez, that's even bigger than I realized.

There was a munitions factory in Elkton, MD not far from there with rail access. My boyfriend actually works near the industrial park where it was located, though the rail lines are long since gone. :)
  by NY&LB*66
This area near Newark was used by the Chrysler plant in Newark as a tank trial area during the Second World War. Chrysler made tanks at the local plant and used this area as a trial or testing area. It was abandoned sometime after the War but was relatively undisturbed until the late 1960's when houses were build on a portion of the site. The area itself had lots of bunkers and hills and was directly adjacent to Interstate 95.
  by RailVet
The site, once known as the Newark Holding Yard, is mentioned in “Delaware’s Role in World War II” by William Conner and Leon deValinger, Jr., Delaware State Archives 1955, page 70 :

“ARMY SUPPLY DEPOT. In April of 1944, the Army Service Forces established the Newark Holding Yard near Cooch’s Bridge, just south of Newark, a 605 acre area that served as an ammunition dump or storage yard for the New York Port of Debarkation. Here trains loaded with ammunition for the European front waited for admittance to the port of New York. The area duly fenced in, contained more than ten miles of railroad track, and had floodlight equipment, guardhouses, a watchtower and other items.”
  by delawarefan54

Not sure where you got your information, but the Chrysler Plant in Newark didn't open until 1951. The area we are talking about may have been used for tank trials, but not during WWII.