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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Portsmouth Ohio Yard on NS


Date: 04/28/09 12:35
Portsmouth Ohio Yard on NS
Author: ajy6b

What is the story on this yard. I was down there a couple of years back and it was basically a storage yard for coal hoppers. A mere thin shadow of its former self, when it had car shops, paint shops and locomotive shops along with two humps. I know in 1978 after the strike N&W basically downgraded the yard. Under NS in the 90's it was barely more than a fuel stop on the Pokey Division as the old Scioto Division was closed. I have heard rumors just before the economy went south, that NS was going to revive the yard and even bring back some repair shops, but I have not heard anything since. This yard used to be close to 5 miles long, had 120 tracks at its widest point. Any news would be appreciated. I grew up there but have not lived there in over 25 years.

aj



Date: 04/28/09 13:27
Re: Portsmouth Ohio Yard on NS
Author: ts1457

ajy6b Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What is the story on this yard. I was down there
> a couple of years back and it was basically a
> storage yard for coal hoppers. A mere thin shadow
> of its former self, when it had car shops, paint
> shops and locomotive shops along with two humps.
> I know in 1978 after the strike N&W basically
> downgraded the yard. Under NS in the 90's it was
> barely more than a fuel stop on the Pokey Division
> as the old Scioto Division was closed. I have
> heard rumors just before the economy went south,
> that NS was going to revive the yard and even
> bring back some repair shops, but I have not heard
> anything since. This yard used to be close to 5
> miles long, had 120 tracks at its widest point.
> Any news would be appreciated. I grew up there
> but have not lived there in over 25 years.
>
> aj

One thing that hurt Portsmouth volume wise but greatly improved efficiency was when N&W put the weigh-in-motion scales at Pritchard WV back in the seventies, I believe. Before that the river coal that got trans-loaded to barges at Kenova was sent to Portsmouth for weighing and then got back-hauled to Kenova.

Other things affecting volume off of the top of my head, included the closing of the south end of the DT&I, the decline of the steel industry in the Portsmouth/Ironton area, the elimination of Cincinnati/Bellevue traffic after the strike, and just the general decline in small shipments by rail. I imagine the B&O/C&O merger did not help traffic through Portsmouth for connections such as Cincinnati.



Date: 04/28/09 19:15
Re: Portsmouth Ohio Yard on NS
Author: doubleheader

Just to add to the above response, another factor in all this was the acquisition of former Conrail lines such as the one from Columbus to Cincinnati(ex-NYC). This helped the demise of the Peavine as well as perhaps Portsmouth.
If its any consolation I am going to release our "Peavine 1 and 2" programs on DVD this fall. Amazing how things have gone from a vibrant rail line to a puny little local a couple of times a week, on a dead-end railroad. And to think, at one time there were 6 passenger trains per day until 1957!!
Greg Scholl
http://www.gregschollvideo.com



Date: 04/28/09 20:48
Re: Portsmouth Ohio Yard on NS
Author: halfmoonharold

N&W official R.F. Dunlap allegedly vowed to turn Portsmouth into a ghost town because of violence in the area during the clerks' strike of 1978. The construction of the hump yard in Bellevue, Ohio in 1966 made Portsmouth expendable, as Columbus was no longer the end of the line as it had been during Portsmouth's heyday.



Date: 04/29/09 20:19
Re: Portsmouth Ohio Yard on NS
Author: peoriarr1

After Conrail both NS and CSX wished their humps were in operation at Star Yard on NS in Portsmouth and at Russell, KY on CSX. I graduated from Marshall in 03-04.



Date: 04/30/09 18:17
Re: Portsmouth Ohio Yard on NS
Author: ajy6b

halfmoonharold Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> N&W official R.F. Dunlap allegedly vowed to turn
> Portsmouth into a ghost town because of violence
> in the area during the clerks' strike of 1978. The
> construction of the hump yard in Bellevue, Ohio in
> 1966 made Portsmouth expendable, as Columbus was
> no longer the end of the line as it had been
> during Portsmouth's heyday.

I heard that story to from my Dad, who heard from the mother of a high up N&W official. My father owned a small market near the yards, and I believe her name was either Niekirk or Dunlap. The strikers derailed a train at the Waller Street curve and grade crossing. There were a couple of boxcars loaded with beer. The Portsmouth Police Chief "went fishing" the deputy chief told N&W that they would protect the people so they could leave but not protect N&W company. N&W then called in Pinkerton.

aj



Date: 04/30/09 20:22
Re: Portsmouth Ohio Yard on NS
Author: ts1457

ajy6b Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I heard that story to from my Dad, who heard from
> the mother of a high up N&W official. My father
> owned a small market near the yards, and I believe
> her name was either Niekirk or Dunlap. The
> strikers derailed a train at the Waller Street
> curve and grade crossing. There were a couple of
> boxcars loaded with beer. The Portsmouth Police
> Chief "went fishing" the deputy chief told N&W
> that they would protect the people so they could
> leave but not protect N&W company. N&W then
> called in Pinkerton.
>
> aj

Essentially Dunlap said that about Portsmouth. Three engines and six cars left the tracks in the vandalism that took place a day after N&W resumed handling coal. The return of the coal caused distress to the strikers, fearing that they might lose the strike, and they came in from outside Portsmouth in attempt to sever the railroad. The people and railroad employees in Portsmouth did not have the good sense to realize where their self-interested laid. In reality a full scale riot was taking place and Gov. Rhodes of Ohio refused do anything about it. Management personnel that I knew who were working at Portsmouth said that it was like a siege. Dunlap was not a man to mess with. As a Marine during WWII in the Pacific, he took out about 75 Japs in one action with his machine gun. There was no way that he would let Portsmouth's affront to the railroad go unanswered.



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