why did the eastern route fail?

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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sat May 14, 2011 10:27 pm

NH2060 wrote:Just from looking at maps of the ROW this looks like an excellent candidate for high speed rail. The route is, for the most part, essentially a straight line with minimal curves (especially east of Salem). Even if it weren't to be electrified (which would be an obvious advantage) they could still easily hit 125mph with whichever diesel power Amtrak, MBTA or whoever else would operate the service would purchase. And just the list of towns and cities it passes through would justify the expense of rebuilding the line: Revere, Lynn, Salem, Beverly, Ipswich, Newburyport, Salisbury, and Hampton.


I almost asked the same thing yesterday. With a new ROW forged north of Portsmouth (keeping as direct as possible) and connecting with the current mainline somewhere near Wells, I'd see it as the ultimate passenger route for both Portsmouth and Portland. Pending a North-South Rail Link, I could see Acela dashing up to Salem, Portsmouth, and then Portland, and regionals hitting those plus Lynn, Newburyport, Saco/Biddeford, and then the extra jump to either Brunswick or Auburb/Lewiston.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby dcm74 » Sun May 15, 2011 6:30 am

BostonUrbEx wrote:
NH2060 wrote:Just from looking at maps of the ROW this looks like an excellent candidate for high speed rail. The route is, for the most part, essentially a straight line with minimal curves (especially east of Salem). Even if it weren't to be electrified (which would be an obvious advantage) they could still easily hit 125mph with whichever diesel power Amtrak, MBTA or whoever else would operate the service would purchase. And just the list of towns and cities it passes through would justify the expense of rebuilding the line: Revere, Lynn, Salem, Beverly, Ipswich, Newburyport, Salisbury, and Hampton.


I almost asked the same thing yesterday. With a new ROW forged north of Portsmouth (keeping as direct as possible) and connecting with the current mainline somewhere near Wells, I'd see it as the ultimate passenger route for both Portsmouth and Portland. Pending a North-South Rail Link, I could see Acela dashing up to Salem, Portsmouth, and then Portland, and regionals hitting those plus Lynn, Newburyport, Saco/Biddeford, and then the extra jump to either Brunswick or Auburb/Lewiston.


And if we're lucky it will cost only slightly more than the Big Dig.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby oldrr » Tue Jul 19, 2011 12:46 pm

"1. When the Eastern Route continued east of Portsmouth, the US – 1 Bypass did not exist. When it was built, it was after the B&M abandoned the line from Kittery to Portland. The Eastern Route technically ends right at the east end of the bridge, however service on the York Branch (not sure if that is its actual name), to the Portsmouth Naval Ship Yard is still active. Since it's still active across the river the US – 1 Bypass had to be built over the ROW, which resulted in a large amount of fill on the Kittery side and a new bridge to accommodate both highway above and railroad below and its only wide enough for one track. "


When the bypass was built, for some reason they included a tunnel under the bypass for the eastern route tracks, it's still there and you can see it. On the east side of the tunnel you can see in places where the right of way ran as it headed towards what is now route 236.

I don't know if there was industry on the other side of the bypass that needed to be served or what the reason for running under 236 was.

I had previously thought that the track continued straight after it crossed over the bridge into Kittery, however, after surveying the scene it appears that after the bypass was put in the track was routed off to the right at the end of the bridge, around towards the left, then there would be a turnout, left to go under the bypass and continue to Portland and right to go to the shipyard, at the time it would have been left for the Eastern and right for the York Harbor and Beach RR.

The angle of the tunnel is correct but they have filled in quite a bit of land where the Eastern was.

The tunnel can be seen from Old Post Rd, it doesn't appear possible to get to it without trespassing. You can also see it on the other side, I recall being able to get close enough to it to see it on the north side.

The angle is correct for the tracks.

The tunnel is not visible on Bing but if you zoom out a bit you can see the right of way heading away from the bypass and towards 236.

http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=r5fkv2 ... orm=LMLTCC
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby oldrr » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:11 pm

As for the Eastern Route failure....

It appears that one double tracked route from Boston to Portland was adequate to handle the traffic needs.

As time when on passenger service became less and less profitable, thus the only sections that were needed were those that had sufficient customers to justify keeping the track and paying the taxes.

For freight up until 25 years or so ago freight went as far as Newburyport.

I believe Amesbury was last served via Portsmouth and Salisbury. When there was insufficient industry the Amesbury branch went out. The Hampton branch was good to Hampton up until 4 or 5 years ago, serving 2 then 1 customer.

In Maine part of it is still used in Saco as an industrial spur.

As for aerial bombardment, if they could reach the Eastern Route, they could reach the western route.

The WN&P would have been less vulnerable in WWII had it all been around during that war to saboteurs from the sea. The Germans had subs right off the coast during WWII. The Western Route is very close to the ocean in Wells, and the Eastern is very close in Hampton and places in MA. Apparently sabotage wasn't a problem.

In order for rail to regain it's former popularity with freight, I believe that trucks need to pay their fair share of road repairs. It seems to me that if the fuel tax is 10 cents per gallon for a 1 ton car, it should be 50 times that or $5 per gallon for a truck capable of 50 tons. The true cost of maintaining the roads to standards that can handle the heavy trucks needs to be passed onto the trucks instead of being spread around to all users of the road.

The other issue is that if a company wants to build a siding to existing track and operate their own train, with qualified people, they should be able to do it, for a reasonable fee. Company's that are unhappy with Guilford service but are close enough to connect to their track should be able to hire qualified people, buy the proper equipment and run their own train out to where-ever they want to run it. For a fee, that goes towards track maintenance.

I suspect that most railroads would be able to provide faster and cheaper service, but in the case of poorly run railroads if a company wants to buy the equipment and operate it, they should be able to.

In the majority of cases, the right of ways were taken by eminent domain, at least partly, thus they need to be used as effectively as possible. In some cases the owners cannot be trusted to do this, or have proven themselves of being unable or unwilling, in those cases there needs to be an alternative available to those who want to ship by rail.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby trainsinmaine » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:29 pm

If you are interested in finding the old Eastern route in Maine, you're in for a fulfilling experience. Pick up a copy of DeLorme's Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, and trace the ROW from Jewett (south of North Berwick) to South Portland. It's clearly depicted. Get in your car and go up and down the back roads. You'll come to several crossings, highway bridges that are still fully intact (this because a gas line is buried underneath the roadbed), old tell-tales, underpass abutments . . . it's a great way to spend an afternoon. In addition, most of the ROW can be hiked, and a good deal of it is in the process of being turned into a rail trail. In fact, an overpass for the trail is being built over I-95, just north of the Kennebunk rest area.

This is one of the best-preserved abandoned railroads anywhere in the Northeast, which is remarkable given that the section from the North Berwick quarry to South Portland was removed in 1944!
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby MEC407 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:26 pm

oldrr wrote:The Western Route is very close to the ocean in Wells...


And even closer in Old Orchard Beach -- mere footsteps from the sand.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby oldrr » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:55 pm

It turns out that the route 1 bypass was put in around 1940, the year that the present Sarah M. Long bridge was opened.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Mildred_Long_Bridge

The Eastern from N. Berwick to Biddeford was abandoned in 1944. From Kittery to N. Berwick was 1952 according to the latest edition of Lost Railroads of New England. Saco to Rigby was also abandoned also in 1944.



That explains why the need for a tunnel under the bypass was necessary. Passenger service via Portsmouth to Portland would have switched over to the Western Route in N. Berwick from 44 on to the end of passenger service.

Has anyone else seen that tunnel under the bypass. I call it a tunnel, if you said it was a bridge over the right of way, I wouldn't argue with you.

Hampton to Seabrook 1997
Seabrook to Salisbury 1982
Salisbury to Amesbury 1982

The book doesn't show when the line to Newburyport was abandoned because it's been reactivated.

I believe that it's safe to say that the final service to Amesbury was via Rockingham, Portsmouth, Salisbury.


In case any of you are not aware, there have been reports in the press that Guilford has notified the towns that the Hampton Industrial passes through that they plan on filing for abandonment very soon.

It would be nice if the state would buy it. Since the line is double tracked, the present iron could be used in a manner similar to the abandoned Conway branch as well as the abandoned Wolfeboro line and the unused side of the right of way, that has no iron, could be made into a bike trail.

If I run across a link, I'll post it. Seacoast online reported in last week I believe.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby oldrr » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:08 pm

Thank you Trainsinmaine. I have followed it from Kittery, up 236, then drove on the right of way as far as I could go. Seems that some people use it as a driveway. I have also seen it in N. Berwick where the station is. I have not followed it further but I will.

I have the data as to where it is. I haven't noticed if the Tom Tom shows it. A friend of mine sometimes brings her tom tom with us and I was impressed with then number of abandoned right of ways that it shows. We were heading up route 125 in Milton NH and saw a right of way coming up that we were going to cross over. Turns out it was an abandoned spur going into a consignee from the Conway branch. Not bad. I forget thename of the company but it had a concrete trestle to load and unload cars.

I notice in N. Berwick the street that was the former right of way is called Eastern Ave. You can't go down very far in a car but you could bike a ways.
Anyone know if biking or walking that part of the right of way is allowed?

Another right of way that is a challenge to follow is the original Boston and Maine that ran from Cummings over to the Eastern Route in South Berwick.

If you look at mileposts on the B&M, the original ones are etched with mileage to SB or South Berwick.

For those not aware, the B&M originally used the Eastern or I suppose at the time it was the Portsmouth Saco and Portland to complete the run to Portland.
After this arrangement proved to be a very poor one due to the fact that Eastern Route trains wouldn't wait for the B&M trains, the B&M had to make it's own right of way to Portland.

It seems ironic to me that the B&M originally used the Eastern to get to Portland. In the end, the Eastern used the B&M line to get from N Berwick to Portland.

Anyone spend any time following the York Harbor and Beach? A friend of mine and I drove on Railroad ave in York which is on the old right of way. There is a house on that road that looks like an old station. Trolley line station? I had read that the YH&B station had been moved out of town.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby oldrr » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:10 pm

I haven't been up as far as OOB yet, according to the map it looks like it's right across route 9 from the beach.

Next time I'm up that way I'll need to spend some time looking around Biddeford and Saco then head up to OOB.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby oldrr » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:16 pm

Here is a link to the article on the Hampton Industrial.

http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/ ... -107140414
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby Ridgefielder » Tue Jul 19, 2011 8:48 pm

oldrr wrote:As for aerial bombardment, if they could reach the Eastern Route, they could reach the western route.

It was actually *naval* bombardment they were worried about-- i.e. a battleship or even a cruiser steaming a few miles off Plum Island, for instance, and hitting Newburyport and the Merrimack River draw with shells from her main battery guns.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby oldrr » Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:46 pm

Thank you, that makes a lot of sense.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby Manalishi » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:49 pm

oldrr wrote:It turns out that the route 1 bypass was put in around 1940, the year that the present Sarah M. Long bridge was opened.

Has anyone else seen that tunnel under the bypass. I call it a tunnel, if you said it was a bridge over the right of way, I wouldn't argue with you.



I happened to stumble upon this old thread on the Eastern. 'oldrr' asked about the tunnel under the bypass. Here's a couple of shots of it taken in the mid-80s.
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby Manalishi » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:00 pm

And if "they" are going to resurrect the Eastern, they're gonna have to replace the bridge over the Great Works River 'cause that bad boy is long gone.

Chris
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Re: why did the eastern route fail?

Postby Manalishi » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:21 pm

oldrr wrote:I notice in N. Berwick the street that was the former right of way is called Eastern Ave. You can't go down very far in a car but you could bike a ways.
Anyone know if biking or walking that part of the right of way is allowed?


You can drive about a quarter of a mile down Eastern Ave. but eventually you run into "No Trespassing" signs and you can't go any farther. It's some kind of business - public works, perhaps and the "No Trespassing" signs are right before the Great Works River crossing (a different crossing from the one in my previous post. Shame as I wanted to see if there is a bridge or viaduct still in place).

The cool thing is just up-river, the B&M also crosses the Great Works River via a "double-arch" viaduct, still in place. Well, it would have to be or the B&M would never get to Portland!

C
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