Blue Diamond railroad lasts only six months

February 7, 2023

A Cape Gazette subscriber recently shared this historical item showing a train schedule effective July 1, 1965.

On that date, the Blue Diamond took its maiden voyage on the Pennsylvania Railroad from Delmar north to Wilmington. The two-car train was pulled by a Baldwin diesel electric locomotive engineered by Chester L. Nibblett of Laurel. The train left Delmar at 5:56 a.m. and arrived in Wilmington by 8:20 a.m. Stops were made in Laurel, Seaford, Bridgeville, Harrington, Dover, Clayton and Middletown. At 5:20 p.m., the Blue Diamond returned on the same route, arriving in Delmar at 7:44 p.m.

According to the July 1, 1965, edition of The Evening Journal the inaugural run to Wilmington drew only 16 passengers. That was an unfortunate sign of things to come, as the southern Delaware run didn’t continue past its initial six-month trial period. By July 16, The Morning News opinion columnist Bill Frank had already deemed the Blue Diamond a failure. The public at large never embraced the return of the railroad and it was shut down Dec. 31, 1965. 

The Blue Diamond got its name from 11-year-old Thomas W. Murray III of Cheswold, who won a naming contest in an effort to promote the new run. Although Murray did not ride the train on its inaugural run, he was invited to breakfast in a train car with Gov. Charles L. Terry Jr. and other dignitaries. 

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