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PORTSMOUTH MARINE RAILWAY Funding for this historic marker was provided by the City of Portsmouth, 2015. www.cityofportsmouth.com A “CAREENED” SHIP Before the invention of the marine railway, ships were “careened” (beached on their sides) in order to provide access to their hulls. This was done by attaching lines to their masts and rolling the vessels onto one side so that the opposite was accessible for work at low tide. Lemuel D. Eldred, Hove Down, 1914, etching, 23½ x 35¾". Courtesy New Bedford Whaling Museum. IN 1833 A GROUP OF PROMINENT Portsmouth merchants organized The Marine Railway Company and installed a set of tracks from the water to the brick machine house still standing today near this site. When coupled with two horses, the machinery could, as the owners proclaimed, “draw vessels of 500 tons and upwards, entirely out of water, placing them in a situation where any part of their hulls can be inspected or repaired with great dispatch.” The Portsmouth Marine Railway Company continued to operate until the mid-1850s. Thereafter the wealthy merchant Leonard Cotton bought it and ran it as a private venture. The railway ceased operations sometime around 1875, though the tracks remained in place well into the 1980s