From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of np328
Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 3:54 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] MILW & NP log trains
as an NP researcher of about four decades now this is the best advice I can give you: Join the io NP Modelers list and the io Telltale, the io Milwaukee list also and repost your query there. People who model the log service seem to be a specific grouping, just as Narrow Gauge Modelers are. (Caps out of respect.) And hope for the best.
Old gons were used, as were old boxcars stripped of about everything above the underframe till only the skeleton remained. What boxcars were chosen for this task? Boxcars that would otherwise have been scrapped. Boxcars from the 1900s to the 1930s. Needless to say, there is not a lot of paperwork found in records I have seen. These would have been decisions made by shops very local to the area. And shop foremen local to the area.
From what records I have found, series of (very old) cars would be marked for dismantling. From that group, some would be partially dismantled to be log cars. Again, these were local decisions and would be spot decisions. Records would have been kept in the NP Tacoma offices.
Of the little paperwork that I have found, it would read from corporate that from old cars to be retired/dismantled at South Tacoma Car shops, local officers should request what they feel are numbers sufficient to handled next years projected needs. And that would be it for a paper trail, at least here in Minnesota at the MNHS regarding corporate records.
Log cars are best described as the equivalent of hide cars, just in different service. And just like hide cars, a half-life existence where equipment goes to eventually die having cheated death once.
Of modeling, you would need gondolas from the above mentioned dates, perhaps like the class of 1923 59000 series. None of any of these earlier gons I am aware are being produced other than (possibly) resin. And resin would not be too bad as you could warm the resin sides to where the side panels are bulging rather greatly.
GS gons like Red Caboose or Detail Associates are not completely accurate for NP however are available at Flea markets and other events. And then again, beat the heck out of those modeling wise. Otherwise Accurail gons. Compromises all.
Of skeleton cars, good luck. I and (good friend) the late Ed Ursem spent weeks going through files at the MHS as Ed wanted to model the NP's Raymond branch and we found precious little on skeleton flats or disconnects other than some sketches. Certainly nothing that could be turned over to a model mfgr and expect to see a tangible model appear.
Of photos, there was (available through the nprha company store) a couple of Mainstreeter magazines that may have photos that covered the area of your interest. The Vol 33-4 issue might have some, there was another issue on the branch that ran out to Raymond, WA however I don't readily recall that issue. Museum of the Rockies has the Ron Nixon collection on-line and that is searchable. http://www.morphotoarchive.org/rvndb/ Plenty of photos. You could look there.
Best of luck, Jim Dick - St. Paul