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Portsmouth Details

Portsmouth is the main operational hub of the lower level of the layout.

All local freight pickup and deliveries for the NH seacoast were handled through Portsmouth.  This will therefore be true for all of the traffic to and from the NH towns all the way down to Seabrook.  In addition to through freights to and from Boston being handled out of Portsmouth, the locals will all originate from and return to this yard.  The passenger station was heavily used on the eastern route between Boston and Portlnd, Maine.  Portsmouth is also the end of the line on the layout and the last lower level NH area that I have begun to construct.

At this time, all of the track for Portsmouth is complete except for the tracks off the turntable into and adjacent to the future partial model of the roundhouse that I will build.

Here is the diagram of the current track arrangements at Portsmouth.

All of the businesses represented on the plan are historically accurate other than one or two having been in slightly different but very nearby locations on tracks not present on the layout. While simplified for modelling purposes, Portsmouth Yard can be thought of as having several key areas:

  • Various industries along the back (south) side of the yard that were directly or indirectly served from the yard. One major industry that is outside of the modelled area was the Frank Jones Brewing Company.  V2 of the layout was going to model that complex, but the configuration of V3 makes that impossible. The spur shown angling up and to the right next to the Bottling Works headed further into Portsmouth to that major industry and the fascinating track arrangements there that served it.
  • The Yard itself consisting of the mainline, arrival/departure tracks, classification tracks for breaking down and assembling trains, the turntable and engine servicing facilities including the roundhouse, and caboose track. One thing to notice is that there are two Arrival/Departure (A/D) tracks modelled.  A/D 1 is in front of the mainline and is the primary arrival and departure track with easy access to the classification tracks.  A/D 2 is behind the mainline and will primarily be used as a track to service the industries along the yard.  But it will also serve as a second A/D track in case of congestion.
  • The passenger station track.
  • West yard which is only represented on the layout as tracks that head off-layout to the front right of the diagram.  West yard had many additional tracks as well as some additional industries served, the only one of which I include being Ricci Supply.
  • The sidings to the upper right to the Morley Button factory and to Fibertex.  Those were on a siding off the mainline on the south side of th tracks across from West Yard, but were not within the yard itself.  By the 1950s, Morley Button had reduced its operation considerably and Fibertex had taken over the westernmost end of that factory complex.

There is one egregious mistake operationally in this track plan that I will be planning to correct.  As currently shown, it will be very difficult to get cars in and out of the siding for Gale Shoe.  This will be corrected by shortening the siding to Gale Shoe and moving it to the right providing room for an additional crossover to A/D 2 as shown below.

One of the side benefits of documenting the layout here is the potential to spot mistakes such as these that would be problematic later.  Of course, it would have been found quickly once I start organized operations, but easier to fix by finding it now before I had glued down that area of track and put in buildings and other scenic elements.

Here are a few shots of the trackwork in place for Portsmouth.

It is easy to spot the problem area in the photo here.  From the long siding on the right coming back towards the camera, there is no good route back to the yard.  But by moving the turnout to that siding towards the camera a bit over a foot and shortening the siding a bit, there will be room for the additional crossover to A/D 2.

Here a a few looks at the Portsmouth yard with and without trains.