B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

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B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby NRGeep » Tue Sep 04, 2012 11:47 am

Has it always been totally abandoned or have any shortlines/commuter rail used any parts of it?
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby jbvb » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:00 pm

The Rigby - Saco and Alfred Road - North Berwick segments were abandoned and torn up in 1945. Biddeford - Saco was kept as an industrial spur and may still have customers.

Kittery - North Berwick was abandoned, torn up and (mostly) re-used for Maine Rt. 236 in 1952.

Hampton - Portsmouth remained in use by the B&M and GTI/PanAm until a couple of years ago; abandonment is in process.

Seabrook - Hampton was torn up in the 1980s. The RoW is owned by NH.

Newburyport - Salisbury was embargoed in 1965. Salisbury - Seabrook was embargoed 1968. There was no further use until both were torn up (with the Amesbury Branch) around 1980. The Newburyport - Salisbury RoW is owned by the MBTA, but most is now a rail-trail.

The Somerville - Newburyport segment is not abandoned, though Ipswich - Newburyport was freght-only from 1976 to the Beverly drawbridge fire (1983?), whereafter it sat unused until passenger service resumed in 1998.

There is presently no freight service north of Salem.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby NRGeep » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:28 pm

Thanks jbvb. Were there many branch lines on the Eastern?
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby The EGE » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:54 pm

A fair number. In Massachusetts, there were the Saugus Branch (2 connections), East Boston Branch, Swampscott and Marblehead branches, Salem & Lawrence connection at Salem, freight-only branch at Salem, Gloucester Branch, Essex Branch, Asbury Grove Branch, Newburyport RR and Newburyport City RR connections at Newburyport, and the Amesbury Branch.

The Gloucester Branch is still CR to Rockport, there's minor freight on the S&L, and the East Boston Branch is proposed to be rebuilt for ethanol trains. Otherwise, everything is abandoned.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby markhb » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:30 am

One piece was left out of jbvb's list: the piece from Rigby (west entrance) to Portland Harbor is still in use as the Turner's Island Railroad. Those are the tracks that cross Broadway in South Portland near Evans St.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby MEC407 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:45 pm

Moving this to the B&M forum.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby edbear » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:56 pm

A lengthy section, I believe several miles long was left after the 1952? abandonment to serve Swenson Granite. I believe the B & M continued to own the track and leasd it to Swenson and it was used by Swenson into the 1970s.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby edbear » Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:57 pm

Swenson was locaed near North Berwick.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby Manalishi » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:49 am

If you're interested, there's an old issue of the B&M Bulletin that features a pictorial essay on the last passenger train to travel from N. Berwick to Portsmouth in 1952. The author/photographer was given permission to ride in the last car and take all the photos he wanted.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby jbvb » Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:46 am

1960s ETTs mention an "Old Eastern" track in North Berwick that served "Air Products", which IIRC was towards Biddeford, and crossed Maine Rt. 9. I never saw it.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby idavis2 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:02 am

Are there any copies available of the B&M Bulletin with the article on "Portsmouth-North Berwick"?
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby ThinkNarrow » Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:50 pm

I think I saw evidence of the Route 9 crossing when passing through there 20 or 30 years ago. Reference to http://www.maps.google.com shows evidence of the crossing near the intersection of Route 9 and the eastern-most appearance of Great Works Estates Road, i.e. halfway between Portland Street and the present PAR tracks. From there it can be followed fairly easily all the way to Rigby Yard, as a lot of it is now the Eastern Trail.

It is extremely straight and must have been a real speedway. I believe that the Flying Yankee used to use this route for its return run to Boston.

-John
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby edbear » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:07 pm

The Eastern was the high speed entry to Portland from late 1920s to 1944. In 1927-28, the B & M installed CTC, a traffic control system, on both routes between North Berwick and PT Tower 1. The Western was completely converted; the Eastern got remote interlockings with semaphores left in between iterlockings. A new junction between the Eastern and Western was built at Alfred Road, AR, where the two lines were quite close together. At this time, all passenger facilities on the Eastern between North Berwick and Portland were closed and all through freight was routed over the Wetern Route. Non-stop trains between Portland and North Berwick were usually routed on the Eastern. The North Berwick to PT Tower 1 portion of the Eastern was retired in late 1944 when double tracking of the Western was completed. The only timetable I have around now is 1933 and North Berwick to Kennebunk, about 12 miles was the single track section of the Western. The Eastern from North Berwick to PT Tower 1 was single track. The portion of the Eastern, North Berwick to PT Tower 1, was 85# or 100# rail on mostly gravel ballast; the late 1920s upgrade of the Western saw 130/131# rail with some later changes to 115# or 112# and stone ballast. The CTC system actually began at Dover, NH through to PT Tower 1 on the Western and where there were two main tracks, they were signalled for movements in either direction on either track. At 47 miles on the Western, this was a very long CTC installation only a year of two after the first CTC installation on the NYC out in Ohio.
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby MEC407 » Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:15 pm

Fascinating. Thanks for the history, edbear!
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Re: B&M's Eastern route after abandonment

Postby Manalishi » Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:07 pm

idavis2 wrote:Are there any copies available of the B&M Bulletin with the article on "Portsmouth-North Berwick"?

Try ebay. There are usually many back issues available there. According to the article very little time was wasted removing the tracks. The last train was in September and by December 1952 tracks and ties were gone. The route is intact from Conway Jct. to N. Berwick although a little swampy in many places. It's a nice hike, especially in the fall as it traverses woods and farms and over the Great Works river with granite bridge supports still in place. There's also one river crossing that uses a stone culvert with, I believe, '1872' incised on top.

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