Salem Action Alert

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.

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Salem Action Alert

Postby FatNoah » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:07 pm

PAR #373 cruised through Sullivan Station with four cars heading north towards Salem at 6:16pm.
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:30 pm

Where do they go once they're in Salem? Down that branch near the station? Where does that lead. I've tried to follow it in a car, but lost it.

Is that track still used?
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby jbvb » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:06 am

The track along the river from Northey Point (the interlocking where double track towards Beverly starts) goes to Peabody Sq. There it used to split into: (rightmost) the line to Danvers, (middle) the line to South Middleton (formerly the Salem & Lowell) and (leftmost) the South Reading branch (formerly to Wakefield). From what I read these days, the South Reading branch is active to the Eastman Gelatin plant, but only barely. In the 1960s there were two daily jobs working to Peabody & beyond, one time I rode an SW-8 or SW-9 around the tunnel wye and out to Eastman...
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:26 pm

So that tunnel was a wye at one point. Why did they take it apart? Was that the MBTA's doing?

How often is that track in Salem used?

and while we're on the topic, sort of, does anyone have any pictures of the old Salem station that I always when I take the train from Newburyport?
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby csrrfan86 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 8:07 pm

Pics of LA-2 today

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... 231201.jpg

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... 131172.jpg

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... 731144.jpg

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... 031112.jpg

This branch sees action at least once or twice a week. Since BO-1 is no longer, LA-2 usually ties down at Allens Lane in Peabody and heads back the next day. Crew goes on duty between 12 and 1PM.

The old MBTA station used to be in the tunnel near the Police station. Where the current station is located used to be a layover yard for B&M power on trains EDSA and SAED as well as the many locals that USED to run in the area. If you go to http://photos.nerail.org , click "search" and type "Salem" a bunch of pics will come up. Theres pics of Salem years ago scattered in the search results.

Heres a few (not my pictures so please give credit to the photographer Dave Hutchinson)

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?20070 ... 628206.jpg

http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?20070 ... 193578.jpg

It was MUCH better in the old days.
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby slashmaster » Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:58 am

This is very interesting, a lot like the Grafton and Upton. How long is the active portion of this line and how long is the rest of it? Does it just dead end or does it go to another active railroad? Is that salt they are carrying?
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby csrrfan86 » Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:54 pm

It is very interesting and is 10 minutes from my house! The active portion of the line to Allens Lane in Peabody is a few miles long. Years ago I guess it went to South Reading and joined with the MBTA mainline. Now it ends at Second Ave. where Liberty Carton company used to be. Eastman Kodak receives covered hoppers of crushed animal bones from slaughter houses in the midwest. Its used to make gelatin. They used to receive 20K tank cars of hydrochloric acid but that now gets delivered by truck.

Check out this page: http://www.oldrr.com/sreading/peabody/peabody.html
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby slashmaster » Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:40 pm

csrrfan86 wrote:It is very interesting and is 10 minutes from my house! The active portion of the line to Allens Lane in Peabody is a few miles long. Years ago I guess it went to South Reading and joined with the MBTA mainline. Now it ends at Second Ave. where Liberty Carton company used to be. Eastman Kodak receives covered hoppers of crushed animal bones from slaughter houses in the midwest. Its used to make gelatin. They used to receive 20K tank cars of hydrochloric acid but that now gets delivered by truck.

Check out this page: http://www.oldrr.com/sreading/peabody/peabody.html
Thanks, I see. So I guess this is because everybody abandond movies and went to video in the 80's and 90's and everybody is abandoning 35 mm cameras and going to digital now? Guess it is only going to get much worse then.
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby csrrfan86 » Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:59 pm

They also make gelatin for pharmaceutical and food uses. Check out http://eastmangelatine.com/ if you are interesting in learning more. Their website is definitely worth a look. Eastman Gelatine seems to receive less than 10 carloads a week.
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby slashmaster » Sun Aug 03, 2008 4:59 pm

Oh, thanks. I'll take a look at that. I guess if that's the case then things can only get much better!
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby jbvb » Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:11 pm

The belowground Salem station was built 1954-58 as part of making the ~1840 Salem Tunnel bigger and eliminating the grade crossings at either end of it. The wye to Peabody was at the exit of the 1840 tunnel, and the Salem roundhouse was inside the wye. When the Bridge St. overpass was built, it was appropriate to put the wye switch in the tunnel, because there were still passenger trains to Danvers as well as considerable freight traffic.

Operationally, the belowground station worked well (double track, central location in Salem), but the Disabilities Act and poor access from Rt. 114 doomed it. Nobody wanted to build or maintain two elevators, and while parking could have gone in the industrial (former yard) area off Margin St., it was 10 slow blocks from the bridge to Peabody (of course, this could have been addressed by running trains to Peabody, but that wasn't in the vocabulary at that time).

So they built the new station on the roundhouse site. Single track choke point, but a cheap way to get the parking and conform to the ADA. The wye wasn't needed as much as parking spaces, and its tunnel entrance was partly filled in to make it easier to keep storm surges out of the tunnel. I suppose it's also easier to run buses to than the old location.
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby highrail » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:21 am

The station at the other end of the tunnel, that was built in the 50's and was below grade may have been functional for trains, but not people. It never gained acceptance as a good station. It was dirty, unsafe, and generally not user friendly. It was typical of the low priority thinking of mass transit in those days. People would avoid waiting downstairs at the platform if at all possible. When the waiting room was open upstairs it would be crowded with passengers waiting for the trains. A bell would ring signaling an arriving train and we would all rush to the platform. There was a freight elevator, which is still there on the south side of the station. The station is now some sort of business.

25 years ago, when the new, current, station was planned, they had planned to include a multilevel parking garage...they are still talking about it, and parking is still terrible.

Several years ago, when the Beverly Bridge burned, the wye was still intact and was used extensively for the service that terminated at salem. In fact one of the sidings in the yard along Bridge Street was re-built to accommodate passenger car sets that needed to lay over. As I recall the neighbors were not happy with constantly running engines, so I am not sure how long that lasted.


I was standing on the platform once in the late 70's when a derailing freight coming out of the tunnel scared the heck out of all of us as it ripped up rails and ties and finally stopped abou 100' inside the station area. Even less people waited on the platform after that.

Another bit of trivia...during a water break, probably again in the 70's, the station filled up with water right to the top of the tunnel. There is probably a photo around somewhere. It was quite a sight.


Steve
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby outinindiana » Thu Aug 07, 2008 11:28 am

The depot previous to the 1950s"trough" was built in the 1840s and, as a previous poster noted, was the granite castle station (Rockport granite, perhaps?). The ERR president at the time, David Neal if memory serves, had visited the UK (Wales, I think) and was so impressed with the castles he saw, he had the ERR replicate one as the Salem Depot. It was also ERR headquarters for a time. The castle depot was a big tourist attraction too, and befit the entry point for visitors to the Witch City. Hawthorne refers to it in "House of the Seven Gables" (1851).

But the castle depot had problems. The south end of the tunnel emerged at a grade crossing before plunging into the mouthed arch of the depot, meaning that dozens of times a day, grade crossing attendants had to flag traffic. City and railroad officials thought it was a real safety hazard. Pigeons also loved the old depot and pelted waiting passengers. I talked with some older Salemites about 20 years ago, and they remembered that the place was caked in pigeon droppings by the 1930s & 1940s. The railroad tried to demolish the place for a while, but not until the 1950s did it finally come to pass in a classic "urban renewal" program. The tunnel was lowered and slightly extended, I think (wasn't there a "high car job" freight previous to the mid-1950s because of the tunnel height?), the Riley plaza rotary was created on the site of the old depot, and the trough station built. I've seen a photo somewhere, probably an old Bulletin, showing a smiling Pat McGinnis opening up the new station via an RDC.

I did some research on the old depot when I was in high school back in the mid-1980s, and have it somewhere...

Here's a recent Salem Evening News article about it: http://www.salemnews.com/permalink/loca ... 04011.html

Here's old postcard view here: http://www.oldpostcards.com/d/dep-MA008.html
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby csrrfan86 » Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:16 pm

LA-2 #371 brought in 2 loads for Eastman today. Looks like they will be spending the night at Allens Lane in Peabody.
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Re: Salem Action Alert

Postby BM4-4-2 » Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:21 am

The Walker Transportation Collection at the Beverly (Mass.) Historical Society & Museum has dozens of images of the Salem area, including all the stations. Plus... a magnificent set of color slides of the entire 1949-1958 tunnel project which fills 3 carousels! Copies of all images can be obtained for a reasonable fee. All are available for viewing during their regular Wednesday night opening hours of 7 to 10, or Tuesdays from 10 to 4. They are located at 117 Cabot Street, Beverly.
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