Ipswich sidings and spurs

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Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby BostonUrbEx » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:14 pm

This is about 3 different sidings and spurs here...

1. Were those concrete pilings/supports for an elevated spur that went into a warehouse? The pilings can be seen as being in somebody's yard today: https://www.google.com/maps?ll=42.67503 ... 2&t=h&z=20

2. Where the line is double tracked south of the station, there is also a 3rd track which ends abruptly at a private crossing on a street marked as "Yogi's Way". The street is blocked by a gate which is locked, and "No Trespassing" signs are all over. Yogi's Way is absent from any maps, but you can see the crossing here: https://www.google.com/maps?ll=42.67021 ... 2&t=h&z=20 Does anyone know why this siding was built, and why it exists today? Is it used?

3. Also, between the old warehouse and platform, although not visible on the map ( it would be here: https://www.google.com/maps?ll=42.67566 ... 2&t=h&z=20 ), there are some partially uncovered tracks and rails. It appears they simply poured dirt over the old tracks and then raised the mainline and platform on top. However, the old track is still fairly far from the old warehouse. Was that track actually a siding for the warehouse, or was that the old mainline track?
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby jaymac » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:00 pm

Usually, but not exclusively, ramps were intended for coal yards so gravity could do the serious work and either brute strength or conveyors at ground level could load trucks for distribution to residences and businesses.
At least on this topo, Ipswich seemed a busy place:

http://docs.unh.edu/MA/ipsw51sw.jpg

Field-reporting inaccuracies are not unknown on USGS maps of any era, so they should be taken with some skepticism, but the topo does show double track plus sidings. If you haven't already tried there, mebbe the B&MRRHS Forum can provide a more detailed and complete response.
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby MBTA F40PH-2C 1050 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 5:08 pm

The answer to your 2nd question is this was the location of the former MBTA layover facility before service was extended to Newburyport, and the factility was moved North
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:01 am

When was the layover facility moved?
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby MBTA3247 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:46 am

1996 IIRC, when the extension to Newburyport opened.
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby jbvb » Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:48 am

Post-1939 the Eastern route was double track Northey Point - Newburyport. Ipswich had two long outside sidings running from about the west end of the present platform to just short of the Ipswich River bridge. When it was single tracked from Newburyport West (present layover yard) to North Beverly, the westward main was retained as a CTC siding (still in place) and the westerly siding was left intact, with several industrial spurs off it. I think the last to have freight traffic was a lumber yard towards the west end. I first looked closely at Ipswich around 1970, and I don't think there were any active spurs in the area around that warehouse, or the coal trestle whose piers remain. B22 never had any work there when I was aboard.

There were switches into lumber yards on each side of the main east of Washington St. One lumber yard was opposite the old station (present Institution for Savings branch), the other was, IIRC, between Brown Sq. and the tracks.

I don't recall exactly when the layover facility was built, probably circa 1984 after freight traffic was embargoed due to the Beverly draw fire, but it used the CTC siding and the unsignaled siding. At that time, both were connected to the main at both ends. I think the unsignaled siding's west end was removed ~10 years ago, after the Newburyport extension opened in October 1998.

I believe the current main line is located exactly as the B&M's old eastbound track from Kent's Island (south of the switch at Hay St., Newbury) to the curve west of the Ipswich River bridge, where it crosses from the easterly alignment to the westerly. I believe this was done in the original single tracking in order to retain the platform track more convenient to the Ipswich and Hamilton/Wenham stations. Rowley's platform was extended with gravel on the old westbound alignment.
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby theseaandalifesaver » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:38 am

Why did the MBTA decide to keep the line to Newburyport a single track instead of keeping it double tracked?

Does the ROW still exist beyond the current Newburyport station?
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby TomNelligan » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:59 am

With respect to the questions above...

1. Presumably not enough anticipated traffic to justify the added cost of restoring and maintaining the second track all the way to Newburyport.

2. Yes, it's a rail trail from the current "South Newburyport" station to a point downtown near the traditional station location, just short of the long-dormant Merrimac River bridge.
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby The EGE » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:32 pm

On the other side of the river, the right-of-way still exists almost completely intact all the way to Portsmouth where a short section is used for freight purposes. Passenger service over the bridge and on to Portsmouth was discontinued effective Monday, January 4, 1965; the last trains ran on Friday.
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby F-line to Dudley via Park » Tue Jul 31, 2012 12:48 pm

The EGE wrote:On the other side of the river, the right-of-way still exists almost completely intact all the way to Portsmouth where a short section is used for freight purposes. Passenger service over the bridge and on to Portsmouth was discontinued effective Monday, January 4, 1965; the last trains ran on Friday.


It's that well-preserved because the same high-tension power lines that line the ROW from Revere keep going all the way north to Route 101 in Hampton, with the railbed used as a makeshift utility service road. PAR hasn't worked out a sale agreement with state of NH on the Hampton Branch, so the abandonment filing from last year for the line north of 101 to Portsmouth is still in-process and may take the rest of the year or more to grind along to completion.

As I understand it the Newburyport trail doesn't constrain the ROW from future reactivation and thus isn't a total NIMBY booby trap. But it probably does mean it would have to be a tight single-track squeeze up to the bridge. It goes through so much marsh and forest in NH that would be a really easy rail+trail if they desired commuter rail (which they do in the Quasi-independent Breakaway Republic of Seacoastia, relative to the transit cro-magnons in the rest of the state).
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Re: Ipswich sidings and spurs

Postby jbvb » Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:30 pm

The Newburyport extension has unused capacity, in that I don't think the double track from Newburyport to Hay St. in Newbury (~2 mi.) has ever been used in regular operations. The existing layout north of Beverly could accomodate 3 round trips an hour, but you'd have to staff the whole operation with Japanese to achieve it.

The Newburyport and Salisbury rail trails were built with no consideration for sharing the RoW, so nothing will survive a rail restoration. There would be a couple hundred unhappy people between High St. and the river in Newburyport, but it's pretty wild east of the river. In NH, the RoW crosses the secure area of the Seabrook nuke. I haven't noticed any interest in trail use of the NH segment, and the Salisbury trail ends W. of MA 110, well before the NH border.

IIRC the only power line using the RoW is Swampscott - Beverly, but it's been years since I rode in standing up looking out the center window in the cab car.
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