L&N Woodracks -- 1

Bob Chapman

In childhood trips to Pensacola, I was fascinated by L&N's woodracks, seemingly as populous as boxcars on the line through town, ferrying pulpwood from the piney forests of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia to the large St. Regis paper mill just north of town. Even at a young age, I noticed that not all woodracks were alike, and later learned that L&N fielded six different styles circa-1950, mostly rebuilds -- hence a modeling project. Here's a look at variation #1 of the six.   
In 1940, L&N rebuilt its first 100 woodracks (#20000-20099) from 1921-vintage coke cars; the sides were easily pulled off, and original ends were lowered 18” to match load height with the car's capacity. The model is built around the Tichy flatcar (a near-exact match to the L&N prototype), and the ends scratchbuilt from brass shapes, styrene strips, and stripwood. Detailing includes ladders, grabs, brakestaff, brake system, uncoupling levers, and diagonal stay rods. Used rails along the edges of the floor tilted the load.
Re the load -- I had wanted to use natural materials, and every time I saw a post with a great-looking pulpwood load, I would ask “how did you do it”? The typical answer was something like “I clipped the logs off a bush in the back yard”. Here on the high plains our backyard sagebrush and tumbleweeds don’t make convincing pulpwood, so the solution here was a cast plaster load from an eBay seller, trimmed to length and height, hollowed, painted, and weathered.     
Bob Chapman

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