N&W in 1910--Hump yard

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Fri May 28 22:02:53 EDT 2010

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
December 2, 1910

Tests in East Portsmouth Yard Prove Most Satisfactory
From Portsmouth Times. The so-called Hump at the Norfolk and Western terminals in East Portsmouth was put into actual operation Monday [Nov. 29] and the tests proved most satisfactory.
Where formerly it required an hour to make up a train, one was made up in 20* minutes, thus saving all that is claimed for a gravity yard--a big time saver. The "Hump" is an elevation of about 15 feet and extends from one end of the yard to the other. At its beginning it consists of but two tracks, an east and west bound main track, but as it goes father down branches off into a number of switch tracks. A train is sent over the "Hump" by one car at a time. These weigh themselves automatically as they pass over. The brakeman throws the brake [sic] and is able to send the car into any siding be chooses.
Another improvement that will facilitate the makeup of trains is a trolley line the company proposed to establish. This will consist of a narrow guage [sic] road with trolley overhead and a small car operated by electricity will carry switchmen back to the point of beginning after they have steered a car over the "Hump" so that it will be no longer necessary to walk the long distance. One of the cars is already under course of construction.
Underneath the "Hump" is a walk by which shop and division office people can come and go without having to cross the net-work of tracks.
*Second digit blurred on the microfilm (may have been "6").

[Was the trolley line ever operated in the Portsmouth hump yard? It sounds as though switchmen were riding the cars into the hump yard tracks, meaning that the retarders came later. If this is the same hump that existed into modern times, a track in a tunnel crossing under the hump from one side to the other was added later.]

Gordon Hamilton
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