• Portsmouth Branch Activity

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

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  by Jeff Smith
 
While it may or may not be an open secret, or no secret at all, just to be safe, let's keep specific operational details out of this. I.e. no how much, when, where, type of car, procedures, interchange points, schedules, etc.

Thanks for your understanding.
  by ereuter
 
I'm new to the board. My office is about 2 blocks from the yard in Portsmouth, and I keep an eye on activity here.

As referenced in a couple of other threads, there has been a steady stream of scrap metal going to Grimmel's operation at the state pier all summer. They spot three cars at a time on the track that leads to the Sarah Long Bridge, and unload them onto the pier.

Between the empties from Grimmel, Boise and Highliner, and the regular LPG tanks (not clear if they loaded or unloaded in Newington), the crew was in Portsmouth/Newington for over 8 hours last Thursday. They left with 14 cars, which is the most I've seen on one train in Portsmouth since I was a kid. Here's a video:

http://youtu.be/WFNCaGmeyYA

Also some photos of the switcher pulling scrap metal hoppers out of the yard, down to Boise to grab a box and center beam, up to Newington to run around them, back to the pier, and spotting the hoppers on the spur for unloading.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] ... 464427432/
  by MEC407
 
Welcome aboard, ereuter, and thanks for the Portsmouth report!
  by consist
 
Yes, welcome. I like your style of shooting video: no camera movement, just a basic view of the train passing. I always get irritated at videographers who completely ignore the consist of the train and fixate on the locos at any cost.
  by ereuter
 
consist wrote:Yes, welcome. I like your style of shooting video: no camera movement, just a basic view of the train passing. I always get irritated at videographers who completely ignore the consist of the train and fixate on the locos at any cost.
Thanks. I seldom take videos, but wanted to capture the whole of this unusually long train. I keep a simple tripod in my car, but it doesn't have panning capabilities anyway.

A covered hopper came in this week, destined for Newington. Not sure which customer that would be for.

Eric
  by ereuter
 
Two interesting things to report on the Portsmouth branch. Not sure what either means.

1. A small truckload of ties has been dropped in Kittery, in the open area just outside the shipyard access road (across from St. Raphael's church). The line has also been cleared of brush. This section of track is already in better condition than most of the rest of the Portsmouth branch. Strange that they'd be doing MOW work here for what amounts to about 1 freight movement a year. There is already a siding, so I doubt it's for new track. And if they were destined for the shipyard, they'd just truck them in.

2. In Newington, brush has been cleared from the end of what is currently in use (at 43.107602,-70.803432 ) to some distance northwest of Patterson Ln. There are 1" diameter weeds in the gauge, so it hasn't seen a train for a while. I wonder if this is in preparation for a new customer, or if they are planning to pull up the track?

Eric
  by Bulkheadflat
 
Nice footage, thank you ! I remember back in the mid-late 90's when the lumberyard in Hampton would have a nice variety of west coast boxcars at their siding, the plant up the track would have a healthy cut of covered hoppers at their siding, and the yard in Portsmouth would always have lines of extra hoppers in storage waiting to transfer for unloading in Hampton, good old days. One time we checked out Rockingham Jct in Newfields and there was a lengthy line stored there which had numerous insulated boxes (mr, hs, lnac from what I recall) in the consist, which I assumed were canned goods destined for the Shaw's distribution center in Wells.
  by roberttosh
 
Speaking of Shaws at Wells Beach, do they still get cars? I also heard someone may have moved into the Spencer Press building at Wells too.
  by MEC407
 
I've been wondering about Wells myself, so I started a thread for that topic here.
  by jlarose
 
With regards to the work in Kittery: I don't know for certain if this is the case in this specific instance, but I do know that the Shipyard specifically works with PanAm to keep the Kittery side of the line in reasonable condition, despite only a single move per year. That is not from any desire on the part of PanAm; I'm sure if it were up to them, they would have filed for abandonment of that segment long ago. However, it is important to the Navy and their facilities division that rail service is maintained to the Shipyard. So, don't be too surprised when you see work ongoing there while other branches and spurs with similar frequency decay.

As for Newington beyond Patterson Way, that is fascinating.

I'm also consistently surprised that the docks at which ships are unloaded don't make better use of freight rail. As has been noted, scrap metal traffic has resurfaced recently. However,recently several ships were getting salt or sand unloaded and then dump trucks would shuttle it just down the street basically to the cemetery next to the Portsmouth yard. The track is still in place to the dock where the sand is unloaded from the ships. It's hard to imagine those tracks couldn't be used again, but of course I'm not a track engineer nor am I privy to their business decisions.
  by rb
 
Does anyone know what's in the tank cars that go to (or come from) Newington? I've seen US Customs reports that show LPG coming in by ship and tallow going out, but I'm not sure if trains handle either commodity.
  by Dick H
 
It is my understanding that PAR receives a yearly payment from the
Department of Defense to keep the line to the Navy Yard in service.
About 10 years ago, the figure of $28,000 was being mentioned, but
I never saw any confirmation of that amount. If there is an inflation
clause in the agreement, it would be quite a bit more now.
  by ereuter
 
rb wrote:Does anyone know what's in the tank cars that go to (or come from) Newington? I've seen US Customs reports that show LPG coming in by ship and tallow going out, but I'm not sure if trains handle either commodity.
The tank cars contain LPG. I've never been sure if it was coming or going. They are loaded (or unloaded) here: 43.106384,-70.80063 (Just Google the coordinates.)

I've never gone down there to watch, but the closest siding is at Schiller Station, a mile east, so they must have to back all the way in.
  by ereuter
 
jlarose wrote:With regards to the work in Kittery: I don't know for certain if this is the case in this specific instance, but I do know that the Shipyard specifically works with PanAm to keep the Kittery side of the line in reasonable condition, despite only a single move per year.
I figured that might be the case. It just cracks me up because there are several ties on the way out of downtown Portsmouth that are barely attached to the rail, and they get used twice a week.
  by drcrf93
 
Bulkheadflat wrote:Nice footage, thank you ! I remember back in the mid-late 90's when the lumberyard in Hampton would have a nice variety of west coast boxcars at their siding, the plant up the track would have a healthy cut of covered hoppers at their siding, and the yard in Portsmouth would always have lines of extra hoppers in storage waiting to transfer for unloading in Hampton, good old days. One time we checked out Rockingham Jct in Newfields and there was a lengthy line stored there which had numerous insulated boxes (mr, hs, lnac from what I recall) in the consist, which I assumed were canned goods destined for the Shaw's distribution center in Wells.
Yeah up until around 2000 they used to come down to Hampton about twice a week it seems, sometimes even leave the engine near the Lumber Yard. Even up until 2004 when I moved from Hampton they were still going at least once a week.

Just wondering, has anyone seen any GDJX cars going west out of Portsmouth in the last few weeks? Grimmel's in Topsham has not been switched since August 19.

Thanks
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