Railway Preservation News

Logging Railroad Track
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Author:  G. W. Laepple [ Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Logging Railroad Track

There are several books and at least one video that include scenes of track-building on logging outfits in West Virginia in the 1950's. One scene that sticks in my mind is men laying rail on adze-flattened logs in the bed of a stream! Another includes a Shay running through water so deep the rails and ties are not visible from above. Just try that with a diesel. Speaking of which, I believe Meadow River lumber Co. in WVa had two custom-built 70-ton GE's with the traction motors mounted higher than usual to allow the engines to "tiptoe" across low-water crossings on their woods railroad.

Author:  JDLX [ Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Logging Railroad Track

To ted66: The last private logging railroad in the U.S. shut down a couple years ago now, the Simpson Timber Company in Shelton, Washington, but it was a shadow of its former self by that point. The vast majority of logging railroads vanished by the late 1940s, usually due to some combination of losing out to log trucks or to the operating company running out of timber to cut. Those operations that survived past that point so did usually because they had enough logs coming from a single geographic area headed to a single sawmill so as to maintain some advantages over trucks, but even most of those vanished by the middle 1970s. There were a small handful that lasted into the 1980s, and beyond Simpson really one two- Weyerhaeuser's operations east of Klamath Falls and south and east of Tacoma- that made 1990 before closing. Simpson's end left only one Canadian operation on the continent, the old Canadian Forest Products on the north end of Vancouver Island, but they suffered a tragic loss of a couple people on their track crew due to some runaway log cars earlier this year and at least report were still shut down. That being said, there are still several examples of logs moving over common carrier rails, one of the best is the combination of the Portland & Western and Albany & Eastern Railroads in Oregon's Willamette Valley, both of which carry log loads from various points in the southern end of the valley north to the Columbia River.

At the risk of linking to another forum, I put together much earlier this year a list of diesels working on logging railroads, it can be found here:


I also on the same board assembled some thoughts on the last decades of railroad logging, including a list of some of the last loggers, it is here:


Jeff Moore
Elko, NV

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