Re: Are these cars being loaded with sawdust?

Bill Decker


The original mill at Toledo--at least that which survives--was built by the US Army Spruce Division during WWI.  After the war, those assets were sold off.  In the case of the Toledo mill, it was sold to C.D. Johnson.  C.D. Johnson sold the mill to Georgia-Pacific in the early 1950s.  This was a dynamic time in the forest products industry as the Kraft pulp process was applied to wood chips for paper pulp.  Several large pulp and paper mills were built throughout the Pacific Northwest with many coming on-line toward the end of RR steam operations in the mid 1950s.  

G-P had another mill--not certain where--that they shipped wood chips to in the mid 1950s, per my earlier note concerning an SP GS gondola with chip rack (G-50-20-A) carrying the first such load out in 1957.  In 1958, G-P added a pulp and paper mill at Toledo.  Apparently, wood chips might have gone both ways for a brief time, but by the end of this list's time-frame, its of wood chips began flowing from other sawmill operations out to Toledo.  Yet today, G-P has both a saw mill and a pulp and paper mill at Toledo.  

Co-located saw and pulp mills are a common occurrence for large operations here in Oregon and Washington.  Weyerhaeuser in Springfield, Oregon, is another such mill with a full range of forest products and a co-located pulp mill.  Of course, these were and are rail-served, although (future date for this list) rail transport of wood chips has fallen by the wayside, notwithstanding earnest efforts on the part of the current shoreline operator.  Wood chips often were a loss-leader for the railroads--moved at a loss in the expectation that the finished product would go by rail--hopefully on a long haul.  

Bill Decker
McMinnville, Oregon--home of the Spruce Goose, stuffed and mounted in the Evergreen Air and Space Museum

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