Railroad Adjusts Service to Provide Shuttle Trains, Avoid 7,500 Truck Movements

To many passersby, the scene likely looked like nothing more than mounds of dirt. But for G&W’s Maryland Midland Railway (MMID), that dirt translated to big business.

In 2017, Carroll County Bureau of Resource Management (CCBRM) approached MMID regarding a project to redirect Little Pipe Creek and create a drainage pond to improve waterflow and reduce downstream flooding in Westminster, Maryland. With the streambed directly adjacent to MMID’s mainline, the county sought shuttle service to haul 70,000 cubic yards of dirt to two locations roughly five miles west in New Windsor, Maryland – a site that was being repurposed into a baseball field and a farm that was undergoing regrading.

CCBRM Bureau Chief Christopher Heyn met with Jonathan Rudman, MMID’s director of sales and marketing, to explain stakeholders’ needs, including a desire to avoid significant truck movements on local roads. 

Rudman collaborated with MMID operations, mechanical and safety representatives to discuss the unique opportunity, which required careful review of customer plans as well as rescheduling regular merchandise and rock trains to night shifts so that dirt movements could occur during the day. MMID also procured 10 gondolas, signed a contractor (Herzog) to unload the dirt at destination points, and hired an additional railroad employee. 

Shuttle service commenced in April 2020. For five days per week over a six-month period, a train crew loaded dirt into railcars over the course of an hour and completed a 20-minute transit to either destination point, where Herzog unloaded for nearly three hours. On many days, MMID was able to accommodate a second roundtrip.

The project was successfully completed with no personal injuries and all dirt (more than 1,800 carloads’ worth) hauled – while avoiding the equivalent of 7,500 truck movements across Westminster and New Windsor roads and neighborhoods.

From the beginning, MMID staff were supportive and accommodating. They were also exceedingly patient as the County struggled through years of permitting and approvals to make the project a reality. Not only was the material moved more efficiently and cost-effectively than over road, doing so by rail saved unquantifiable impacts to the local neighborhood roads. We are appreciative of the professionalism and hard work that MMID contributed to this successful project.

Christopher Heyn, CCBRM bureau chief

MMID spans 81 miles in northern Maryland, transporting primarily chemicals and plastics, lumber and forest products, minerals and stone, and petroleum products.


Truck Movements