Bay Coast Railroad

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Bay Coast Railroad
Reporting mark BCR
Locale Norfolk, Virginia to Pocomoke City, Maryland
Dates of operation 2006–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length 70 miles (110 km)[1]
Headquarters Cape Charles, Virginia

The Bay Coast Railroad (reporting mark BCR) operates the former Eastern Shore Railroad line from Pocomoke City, Maryland, to Norfolk, Virginia. The Bay Coast Railroad interchanges with the Norfolk Southern Railway at Norfolk, Virginia and the Delmarva Central Railroad at Pocomoke City, Maryland.[2]


LLPX 2014 is leased to Bay Coast Railroad at the ferry terminal in Little Creek, Virginia.

Construction of a rail line from Pocomoke City to Cape Charles was completed on October 25, 1884, and operated as the New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk Railroad (NYP&N). Its founder, Alexander Johnston Cassatt (1906-1939), designed a barge large enough to carry 18 railcars. His barges provided the new railroad with its connection across the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk by April 1885. The railroad's co-founder, coal magnate William Lawrence Scott, financed construction of the new town of Cape Charles in 1884 at the point where the railroad's northern section met the Chesapeake Bay. From its inception, the NYP&R operated profitably and contributed to an economic boom on the Delmarva peninsula that continued until the Great Depression.[3][4]

After World War II, railroad passenger use declined in favor of the automobile. Passenger service on the NYP&N ended on January 12, 1958.[3]

In an effort to preserve freight rail service on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, Northampton and Accomack counties formed the Accomack-Northampton Transportation District Commission. The commission purchased the rail line in 1976 and selected Virginia and Maryland Railroad Company as its operator. Eastern Shore Railroad, Inc. replaced Virginia and Maryland as the operator in 1981. In 2005, Cassatt Management, LLC was selected as operator and the railroad acquired its current name.[3][5]

Current operations[edit]

BCR has three distinct operating areas. The 64.1-mile (103.2 km) northern portion of its rail system connects with the Delmarva Central Railroad in Pocomoke City (north) and the system's car float in Cape Charles, Virginia. A car float, crossing 26 miles (42 km) of the Chesapeake Bay from Cape Charles to Norfolk, comprises the middle portion. The southern end of the system is a terminal track around Little Creek, Virginia, connecting with Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX Transportation, and the Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad.[6]

Chesapeake Bay car float[edit]

BCR uses two tug boat-guided railroad car floats of 25 and 15 car capacity to link the 26-mile (42 km) water route across the Chesapeake Bay between Cape Charles and Norfolk — using the north and south terminals of the now defunct Little Creek-Cape Charles Ferry. This car float operation has been in continuous service since April 1885, and is one of only two remaining in the United States, the other being New York New Jersey Rail, LLC.[7] In late March 2014 VP for operations Larry LeMond stated the railroad has not run the barge for more than a year and a half and has no intention to resume the service. He also stated that all of the railroad's traffic comes into Pocomoke City to the north and the company operates every other day.

Bay Creek Railway[edit]

In 2007, Bay Creek Railway began operating a self-propelled dining car along BCR track, making one to two hour round trips from Cape Charles. This passenger excursion service uses a restored interurban railcar, built in 1913 by St. Louis Car Company. It originally served the former Texas Electric Railway in Dallas, Texas as car number 316. When Texas Electric ceased operating in 1948, its fleet of interurban railcars was sold for salvage. Car number 316 was used as a cabin at a ranch in Fort Worth, Texas until its recent restoration for the Bay Creek Railway.[3] By December 21, 2011 the car was listed for sale on the Ozark Mountain Railcar equipment broker website. The initial asking price was $260,000, later reduced to $205,000.[8] The dining car has been sold. It was loaded onto a flat bed trailer and left Cape Charles on March 11, 2014.

Engine roster[9][edit]

Model Type Propulsion Manufacturer
400 EMD GP15-1 Four-axle road switcher Diesel GM Electro-Motive Division
2000 EMD GP10 Four-axle road switcher Diesel-electric GM Electro-Motive Division
2001 EMD GP10 Four-axle road switcher Diesel-electric GM Electro-Motive Division
2014 EMD GP38 Four-axle road switcher Diesel GM Electro-Motive Division
2085 ALCO MRS-1 Military road switcher Diesel-electric American Locomotive Company
2090 ALCO MRS-1 Military road switcher Diesel-electric American Locomotive Company

Note: Both MRS1 locomotives, out of service for many years, were scrapped on site in 2011.

Note: Both GP10 2000 and 2001 are out of service. 2000 had a set of trucks swapped with GP38 2014 in August 2013 and appears to be missing a compressor. 2001 is missing a set of trucks.


  1. ^ Facts & Stats: Freight Rail. Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. Retrieved 2010-06-22.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Bay Creek Railway history. Retrieved 2010-07-15
  4. ^ Bay Coast Railroad
  5. ^ Corporate charter records filed with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation Archived May 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. by Cassatt Management, LLC in 2005 identify the company as the new operator of the former Eastern Shore Railroad.
  6. ^ Welcome to the Bay Coast Railroad Info Page Archived February 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. Delmarva Railfan Guide. Retrieved 2010-07-15
  7. ^ Newman, Barry (2012-05-20). "New York's Last Cross-Harbor Railway Chugs On as Alternative to Trucks -". Retrieved 2013-01-02. 
  8. ^ "Diesel Powered Interurban Dining/Parlor Car # 316". Ozark Mountain Rail Car. Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  9. ^ Bay Coast Railroad Motive Power Archived February 1, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. The Diesel Shop (October 27, 2006). Retrieved 2010-07-15

See also[edit]