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Eastern Railroad Discussion > Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve


Date: 03/09/19 04:46
Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: JPB

Pan Am Southern freights climb a bit over a 1% grade heading west from Fitchburg to E Gardner MA on the ex-B&M Fitchburg Line. The route features a horseshoe curve at South Ashburnham, known locally as "South Ash curve", that is well hidden by a forest. The curve used to be double tracked and the Cheshire Branch to Bellows Falls connected at this location until the last surviving section of track to Winchendon was abandoned in 1984. Not a great place to take pictures/videos of trains as one must shoot into the sun from the only cleared vantage point. But westbounds make a good noise heading upgrade at 25mph or so. The attached video of Friday 3/8/19 captures westbound Portland to E Deerfield (aka POED) led by a pair of faux-CSX GEs (C40-8W & C40-8) pulling a long train of mostly empty cars (centerbeams, cement covered hoppers, calcium carbonate tanks) with perhaps a few box cars loaded with paper ahead of the EOT.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/19 07:55 by JPB.

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Date: 03/09/19 04:54
Re: Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: PRR_4859

Is this part of the trackage jointly owned by Norfolk Southern?

By the way, great pictures and video.

Thank you in advance.



Date: 03/09/19 05:21
Re: Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: sums007

Yes, west of Ayer, it's Pan Am Southern [and this location is west of Ayer].



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/19 05:22 by sums007.



Date: 03/09/19 06:42
Re: Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: bluesboyst

Never realized there was a horseshoe curve there.  I went on fan trips in 74, 82 and 86 over that line.....Thanks for the info JPB....



Date: 03/09/19 08:29
Re: Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: CPR_4000

Where did the Cheshire split off? Looks like maybe at the right-hand end of the line you've used to show the horseshoe, and heads west by the D in Dunkin?



Date: 03/09/19 08:48
Re: Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: JPB

CPR_4000 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Where did the Cheshire split off? Looks like maybe
> at the right-hand end of the line you've used to
> show the horseshoe, and heads west by the D in
> Dunkin?

You are correct! Attached is a snip-it of a 1946 topo map of S Ashburnham.




Date: 03/09/19 09:09
Re: Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: E25

That's a nice, steady and smooth video rig you are using.

Greg Stadter
Phoenix, AZ



Date: 03/09/19 11:08
Re: Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: warren1977

JPB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> CPR_4000 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Where did the Cheshire split off? Looks like
> maybe
> > at the right-hand end of the line you've used
> to
> > show the horseshoe, and heads west by the D in
> > Dunkin?
>
> You are correct! Attached is a snip-it of a 1946
> topo map of S Ashburnham.

Love all the history here, if you look at the grade crossing in South Ashburnham on the Cheshire branch, there is another short spur curving northeast across a pond.
In pre WWII maps, this was a short branch to the town of Ashburnham.
Somebody had to get photos here in the steam era, this would have been a fascinating place to railfan.



Date: 03/11/19 15:42
Re: Pan Am Southern's Unremarked Horseshoe Curve
Author: elueck

Based on your Google Earth snap, it looks like about a 7.5 degree curve. 
 



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