Tuesday, December 31, 2002

VIENNA, Md. (AP) Two railroad enthusiasts looking to run a tourist train between Hurlock and Vienna have lined up the passenger cars and local support but are still seeking funding and permission to use the track.
David Owens and Scott Freeman want to repair 10 miles of track between the two small Dorchester County towns to attract more tourism to the area. The strip has not been used since the early 1970s.
From 1890 to the mid-1950s, the tracks were part of the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railroad, which ran from Claiborne to Ocean City. For decades, the track was used to ship coal, said Mr. Owens, the curator of the Vienna Heritage Museum.
Mr. Freeman said it would cost as much as $100,000 a mile to fix the tracks, which are owned by Conectiv.
“Once we get permission and establish ourselves as a nonprofit organization, we can begin thinking about equipment,” he said.
Organizers hope to begin fund raising by summer. However, train tours could be a decade away, depending on how quickly the money is collected.
The engine is likely to be diesel-powered and would cost about $35,000. That’s cheaper and more cost-effective than a steam engine, which Mr. Owens wants to use.
The tours would begin and end in Vienna, and mostly travel along Route 50. Rides would cost about $15 to cover operating costs, such as fuel and maintenance.
“There are great places to visit in both towns,” Mr. Owens said. “Vienna was the first town in the state to have a customs house and post office. We have a museum and a beautiful river walk. This is going to be something that helps businesses and will be an all-around boost to the economy.”
Hurlock Mayor Don Bradley said the Town Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of the proposal and has offered the use of two passenger cars.
“This is a vision plan that isn’t going to happen next week, but it has real potential and is definitely something to be looked at,” Mr. Bradley said. “It’s going to have to involve state and federal money because we’re not talking about a small amount of change here to get this thing going, but it has potential and they have to start from somewhere.”

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