Proposed line would offer businesses rail connections to the northern U.S.


Carroll County businesses should benefit from a proposed 14-mile Maryland Midland Railway line from Taneytown to Hanover, Pa., company President Paul Denton said yesterday.

The Union Bridge-based rail line has been working on the project for about a year and Mr. Denton hopes to have freight trains running on the new tracks by early 1996, he said. Company representatives approached town officials in Littlestown, Pa., about obtaining rights-of-way during a council meeting last week.

"This would benefit Maryland Midland and our customers, in particular in Carroll County, tremendously," Mr. Denton said. "This has substantial traffic potential to grow our little company. It's just a win-win situation for so many."

But Maryland Midland officials are concerned recent publicity about the proposed track will delay the project, he said.

"With everybody alerted, especially those who might not want a rail, who knows when we'll be done?" Mr. Denton said. "But we're still pressing ahead with all the vigor a little company can muster. This is a very, very large project for a company as small as we are."

Maryland Midland operates 67 miles of track in Carroll, Baltimore, Frederick and Washington counties and Franklin County, Pa.

Cars carried by the company have grown from about 2,000 per year when it began in 1980 to more than 6,000 last year.

Current plans call for upgrading existing abandoned lines and laying new tracks from Ferrellgas, north of Taneytown, to the end of the former Maryland and Pennsylvania rail line southwest of Hanover, Mr. Denton said.

He declined to say how much the project would cost.

el,.5l "The only way you'd find it [the existing line] is if you were hiking through the woods and fell over it," he said. "There are trees growing through it and brush over it. It hasn't operated in 10 years or more."

The new line would allow Maryland Midland to provide service through Conrail to Canada and the northeastern United States, Mr. Denton said. Maryland Midland now connects only with CSX lines, which don't run to the north.

"I can truthfully say everyone stands to gain substantially by this," Mr. Denton said.

Mr. Denton noted that 30 of the company's 32 customers are in Carroll County and many of them have indicated they would use the proposed northern rail service.

"A lot of these companies have business or want to have business in those areas," he said. "A great deal of paper and newsprint, wallboard and plywood come from eastern Canada, the northeast and New England."

Mr. Denton said the new line also could help Carroll meet air pollution reduction standards under the federal Clean Air Act.

"This would allow us to have much more competitive transportation packages and really address the overcrowding of highways," he said. "We could take thousands of trucks off the highways with this.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for Carroll County, the state of Maryland and the state of Pennsylvania to join hands and accomplish something that will mean a lot to people like your children and my children."

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