Pacific Northwest lumber traffic

Doug Polinder

My observations of Pacific Northwest lumber traffic agree with Chuck Soule's sightings in Tacoma. GN received interchange cars from CN at New Westminster BC, and I believe CN forwarded cars from PGE to GN. In many of the southbound trains through Ferndale WA the majority of the cars were Canadian, the vast majority of them CN. CP tended to interchange with NP at Sumas WA/Huntingdon BC, and CP cars on GN were uncommon. NP had one train a day from the border, while GN usually had three or four.

The Canadian cars flowed south to California. NP moved cars to Portland and handed them off to SP. GN had a longer linehaul since it interchanged with WP at Bieber CA. Very little Canadian traffic moved east on GN or NP, since the Canadian roads did not wish to shorthaul themselves when they could carry their own traffic east to Minneapolis or Chicago (via SOO or other interchange partners).

Former GN employees confirm these observations. I have not yet uncovered any wheel reports or other documentation from the steam era or 1960s; that would be like finding the Holy Grail or Schliemann's Mask of Agamemnon.

Doug Polinder
Grand Rapids MI

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