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Salem, MA Details

The southernmost end of the lower level starts in Salem, MA.  Salem had two ladders, effectively forming two yards. One was along the route to Boston.  The other was headed northwest towards Lawrence and Haverhill.  While the Lawrence branch had closed well before the 1950s, I am modelling it as still active.  This allows me to run interchange activity between the two branches in addition to using the second ladder as a form of on-layout staging.

The yard then extends towards Boston which is represented as a visible “off-layout” area that provides a place for passenger trains to head off to as well as a way of turning freights around or even staging a freight off-layout to head into Salem yard from Boston.

Here is the track arrangement for my version of Salem, MA with the extension towards Boston:

Size of the yard is 14′ long by 28″ deep.

My track plan for Salem differs significantly from the prototype by necessity.  Features that are similar are:

  • The separation of the two ladders with minimal connections between the two branches
  • Turntable between the two yards accessible off the Lawrence branch side.
  • Passenger station on the Boston side.

Some differences:

  • Yards are flipped.  Coming south from NH, the Boston side would be to the left (back of the benchwork), but here it is the front so that the Lawrence branch can head to the helix to the right.
  • I have the passenger station south of the yard, but it would actually have been on the north end of the yard.  This was a choice so there would be some distance to travel from the station in Salem to the depot in Seabrook.
  • The ladders themselves are not a match to the specific configuration of the ladders in Salem.  This is because I wanted this to serve as effective on layout staging rather than really trying to more faithfully model Salem, MA.  That is in stark contrast to the rest of the railroad.
  • The back ladder representing the interchange to Lawrence is also reversed.  Lawrence is to the right up the helix rather than being at the far end away from the trackage into NH.

There will be several local industries to serve here as well, so the operator for this yard will have some local industry work to cover in addition to breaking down and making up trains. Those industries have not yet been chosen.  While this location may seem like it would be the busiest on the level, the intent is not to operate it as very busy, so a single operator should suffice.