Lumber Loading


cinderandeight@...
 

Guys,
As long as we are kicking around lumber cars, and lumber yards I'd
like to relate a yard near my childhood home. Many model railroads probably
have a lumber yard as an industry, but the one near me on the PRR's West
Detroit branch line besides taking lots of cars of lumber also had contracts
to overhaul box cars. New linings, new floors. As such it was not an
uncommon sight for a string of ten or more identical box cars (often in
different lettering schemes) to roll into the yard at a time for the crews to
rebuild their interiors. I recall that the Reading had many of their 40' box
cars cycle through this lumber yard.
What does this type operation do to the "freight car distribution"
topic? Any freight car rebuilding or scrapping operation is an excuse to have
a ton of the same type cars from a given road appear on a railroad. Not
that I'd suggest you build a dozen box cars to then scrap them(?)
Rich Burg


thomas christensen
 

--- On Tue, 4/13/10, soolinehistory <destorzek@mchsi.com> wrote:

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups. com, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@ ...> wrote:


Naturally double door cars were desirable for lumber, but
lots of lumber was shipped in ordinary 40' single door cars
too. In the 1960's I enjoyed watching a crew of young guys
struggling to unload a 40' car load of "random" lumber (it
looked like an exploded pick-up-stix game). Those "lumber
doors" in 40' box cars weren't there for decoration -- when
the shipper couldn't get any more pieces through the doorway
he threw them in through the door in the end of the car! And
the unloading crew got to untangle the mess.
Tim,

I'm going to theorize that the "pick-up-stix" mess was caused by the rambunctious and inexperienced unloading crew, not the mill. If they left it that way overnight and all those boards developed a crook, they were likely looking for new jobs the next day.

Dad was a carpenter who augmented his income by doing a heck of a lot of weekend and evening "side jobs" when I was a kid, and I spent a lot of time in lumber yards during the fifties and sixties. Unlike the big box home centers of today, lumber was a commodity that was treated with respect, to preserve its value, none of that just throw it in the bin business. Lumber was moved by hand, several sticks at a time, from the boxcar to a truck; from the truck to a neat stack in the shed; from the stack onto the truck for delivery. If someone went to the lumber yard to pick up their own order, the "yard man" picked the order and wheeled it up front, or had the customer spot his truck and loaded it. Having "pickin' privileges" was an honor not to be abused, since it could save maybe maybe 7 - 8% of the cost of the material on a job. Leave the man's stacks jumbled, and you didn't get pickin' privileges again. Lumber yards managed their stock; when the yard man
had nothing else to do he gathered up the "crooks", took them to the saw shed, and made them into something salable, like pre-cut concrete stakes.

Speaking of lumber -- anyone know when the first "wrapped"
lumber loads began? I mean the neat stacks of same-length
pieces, all nicely wrapped up. I'm guessing it was sometime
in the 1950's, since that's when wrapped drywall loads on
flats appeared.
I still remember lumber in boxcars in 1959 or '60, maybe a couple years later. Drywall also originally was shipped in boxcars, which must have been an absolutely miserable job to unload. Drywall lent itself to shipping on bulkhead flats, since it was large flat sheets and it didn't have to be piled very high to max out the car's capacity. Lumber was a different story; while large timbers could and were shipped on flatcars, the pile of dimensional lumber got awfully high and tippy before the car's load limit was reached. Greg Martin could likely tell us more, but I don't think dimensional lumber was ever shipped on standard flats, remember that the transitional car was the "Thrall-door" boxcar, which was introduced when, mid sixties? Those cars had a central structure, since they didn't have any sides, and it was only a short leap to the early center beam flats, but all this happened well after 1960.

Dennis

Guys,
 Although it's past the time frame of this group, I worked in a wholesale lumber yard on Florida's west coast during the early to mid 1970's. I'll relate some of my experiences based on the type lumber. First a few givens. The interior width and length of box cars, the IW is about 9-2 and the IL is about 40-6/50-6, plus or minus a few inches. Random length lumber was not loaded randomly. It was loaded to fill the width and length of the car, but there were still a few inches of space for things to move. At this time 1x2's and 1x3's were bundled 8 or 10 pieces with string or tape. 1x12's would layer 9 wide, 1x10's would layer 11 wide, and so forth for the other widths. Lengthwise in a 40 foot car there would be 2 16's and an 8, or 2 12's and a 16, or 2 14's and a 12, or whatever combination equaled the IL. The "pick-up-stick mess"  was generally the  top layers getting thrown around by heavy coupling or slack action.  The end "lumber doors" were for
lengths longer than 1/2 the IL plus 1/2 the door width.
1x and 2x Spruce/Pine - We unloaded 3 or 4  40 foot CP boxcars of this a week. They would  be loaded to about 14 to 18 inches below the top of the door. Us "young skinny guys" would have the pleasure crawling in on top the lumber to begin the unloading, just make sure you didn't touch the inside of the roof during the summer. A 3 or 4 man crew would take about a day and a half to complete the unloading.
1x and 2x Redwood - This was usually in a 50 foot double door SP car, about 1 car every 2 weeks. These were loaded to be unloaded by forklift, but there was some hand work to clear out for the forklift. In good car, 2 men and a forklift could be done in about 1/2 a day. If  the banding had broken or the load shifted it became a hand unloading job.
3x and larger Timbers - Most of the time these were 50 foot double door SP cars set for forklift unloading. Unloading was similar to the redwood cars. One memorable load was 1/3 a car of special order 6x12's 24 feet long that was a hand job.
A few other observations:
 We received flat car loads of just about everything (wrapped and unwrapped) - 1x and 2x spruce/pine, timbers, scaffold planking.
 Between the different lumber, moldings, and other items, 6-7 cars a week  were normal.
 Occasionally while unloading a car you would come to a layer of craft paper, at which point you would close the door and reseal it. Or you would open one up and there would be a partial load with the paper on top - LCL.
 The "Thrall-door" boxcar was basically a bulkhead flat car with a roof and doors.
 When moving cars, take some of the slack up on the hand brake beforehand or you will not stop before the derail.
 You can punch a hole in a car or knock the door off when trying to open/close it with a forklift.
 
Tom Christensen
  
 
 













[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Greg Martin
 

Tom wrote:

Guys,
Although it's past the time frame of this group, I worked in a wholesale lumber yard on Florida's west coast during the early to mid 1970's. I'll relate some of my experiences based on the type lumber. First a few givens. The interior width and length of box cars, the IW is about 9-2 and the IL is about 40-6/50-6, plus or minus a few inches. Random length lumber was not loaded randomly. It was loaded to fill the width and length of the car, but there were still a few inches of space for things to move. At this time 1x2's and 1x3's were bundled 8 or 10 pieces with string or tape. 1x12's would layer 9 wide, 1x10's would layer 11 wide, and so forth for the other widths. Lengthwise in a 40 foot car there would be 2 16's and an 8, or 2 12's and a 16, or 2 14's and a 12, or whatever combination equaled the IL. The "pick-up-stick mess" was generally the top layers getting thrown around by heavy coupling or slack action. The end "lumber doors" were for lengths longer than 1/2 the IL plus 1/2 the door width.
1x and 2x Spruce/Pine - We unloaded 3 or 4 40 foot CP boxcars of this a week. They would be loaded to about 14 to 18 inches below the top of the door. Us "young skinny guys" would have the pleasure crawling in on top the lumber to begin the unloading, just make sure you didn't touch the inside of the roof during the summer. A 3 or 4 man crew would take about a day and a half to complete the unloading.
1x and 2x Redwood - This was usually in a 50 foot double door SP car, about 1 car every 2 weeks. These were loaded to be unloaded by forklift, but there was some hand work to clear out for the forklift. In good car, 2 men and a forklift could be done in about 1/2 a day. If the banding had broken or the load shifted it became a hand unloading job.
3x and larger Timbers - Most of the time these were 50 foot double door SP cars set for forklift unloading. Unloading was similar to the redwood cars. One memorable load was 1/3 a car of special order 6x12's 24 feet long that was a hand job.
A few other observations:
We received flat car loads of just about everything (wrapped and unwrapped) - 1x and 2x spruce/pine, timbers, scaffold planking.
Between the different lumber, moldings, and other items, 6-7 cars a week were normal.
Occasionally while unloading a car you would come to a layer of craft paper, at which point you would close the door and reseal it. Or you would open one up and there would be a partial load with the paper on top - LCL.
The "Thrall-door" boxcar was basically a bulkhead flat car with a roof and doors.
When moving cars, take some of the slack up on the hand brake beforehand or you will not stop before the derail.
You can punch a hole in a car or knock the door off when trying to open/close it with a forklift.

Tom Christensen






I find Tom's message amusing as he sounds like he started in the business about the same time as mine as I was a junior in High School when I started in the business.

I have an old promo booklet somewhere that was put together by Weyerhaeuser circa 1964 announcing "YARD PACK" which was showing that they were standardizing at least their packaging and the use of paper wrap for Kiln Dried Lumber. It does go beyond the scope of this list so I won't go into detail, just a note as to perhaps the very beginnings of the paper wrap era, not to say they were the first by any means. Paper wrap in my recollection was reserved for higher quality lumber what we called "uppers" i.e. clears, and common boards in all species.

I actually have a photo of a double door 50-foot GTW box I will share with Tim, Dennis and Tom showing the unloading of dimension lumber by hand and it dates in the late 40s, perhaps early 50s. I have a couple of other shots I will share with them as well.

Tom your notes of the "young Skinny" guys getting the duties of unloading the top layers of the car remind me of my first lumber Boss (when I got to be an "office guy" and no longer a "yard dog") Del Windisch who was hired on at the old Barr Lumber facility in the Wilmington/Long Beach area after arriving in the LA area in 1934 and he had the same duty "top loader/unloaders" as he was smallish at the time he hired on.

Dennis is correct for the most part that most dimensional lumber ended up in boxcars if for no other reason than its marketability. Timbers seemed to be reserved for flats but gondolas as well . Jim Singer made me a photo copy of a PRR gondola being loaded with timbers at Simpson's Shelton, WA facility (as best I can tell) with a gantry crane on piece at a time, one layer at a time. It was a promo photo from the WCLIB.

I suppose I was lucky as the lumber yard I worked for did most of the unloading with forklifts, and I was the chosen one to get the duty of running the "boxcar special moving the lumber through the car and handing it off to a forklift on the ground as we never had a loading dock, clear the door, lift the forklift into the car open both doors so you maneuver in the car and pray you didn't go out the backside. Broken bands, well we were union and the re stacking was done by the Lumber Handlers not the forklift drivers on the ground, their time was too valuable. I wished I had a buck a thoughts for ever car I had to hand stack and re band. If you wanted ot claim the SP for the damage, the agent would come out and say."improper bracing and blocking, call the mill guy..." In other words your screwed...

The early 70s were transition years for open top loading rules, and only a few cars still had the "stacks with saplings and wire" the new rule was interlaced bands and stacked layers... again that goes beyond the scope of this list.

Tom, did you ever get carloads of 1x4 and 1x6x6' fence boards of California Incense Cedar in a box? I can still smell those SP boxes with the "pencil cedar" smell. And the Redwood, well by the end of the day your hands were stained blue after handling the green stock.

By the late 70s the Thrall Door Boxes were somewhat common but again for Redwood (LP cars)"uppers" or KD Fir/Larch out of Bennett Lumber a rare sight on the SP in Southern California. Centerbeam cars, well the first one I ever saw was unloaded at Randle Lumber behind us in Huntington Beach and by gosh it went over when they unloaded the wood all off one side without unloading the other and of course what was painted on the inside of the bulkhead a huge note saying, "unload material evenly from both sides at the same time..." Oops!

Greg Martin


Dennis Storzek
 

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, tgregmrtn@... wrote:


Dennis is correct for the most part that most dimensional lumber ended up in boxcars if for no other reason than its marketability. Timbers seemed to be reserved for flats but gondolas as well . Jim Singer made me a photo copy of a PRR gondola being loaded with timbers at Simpson's Shelton, WA facility (as best I can tell) with a gantry crane one piece at a time, one layer at a time. It was a promo photo from the WCLIB.

Yeah, That's what I'm thinking. I haven't seen Ron's photo yet, but I'll bet it was rough-sawn plank, either hardwood or softwood for scaffold plank or excavation sheathing. Seasoned lumber, whether kiln dried or air dried, wasn't shipped exposed to the weather, or its value would degrade.

I think we've substantiated here that both the all door cars and center beam cars (and paper wrapping, for that matter) post date the cut-off for this list.


Tom Christensen said:
When moving cars, take some of the slack up on the hand brake beforehand or you will not stop before the derail.
You can punch a hole in a car or knock the door off when trying to open/close it with a forklift.

Getting back to the steam ear, before WWII, when Dad quit school, he worked as one of the "yard dogs" as Gregg put it. His recollection on freeing stuck doors was they'd take a chain with flat hooks and jam them in behind the edges of the door as best they could, hook it to the truck, and drive straight away from the car. When the slack ran out of the chain, the door would buckle outward in the middle, and pop right off the car. They'd throw it back inside when they'd finished unloading.

Dennis


Jim Hayes
 

Greg said
Tom, did you ever get carloads of 1x4 and 1x6x6' fence boards of California
Incense Cedar in a box? I can still smell those SP boxes with the "pencil
cedar" smell.

Which brings back memories of boxcar smells. In the Summer of 1959 (whew,
just under the wire) I worked for a vinegar company in St. Paul, Minnesota.
One method of shipping vinegar was in cleaned (my job) used whiskey barrels
which arrived by boxcar. It was mid-Summer and hot and we had a boxcar to
unload. Wow what a smell. By the time we finished we were high just on the
fumes.

Jim Hayes
Portland Oregon
www.sunshinekits.com

On Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 7:27 PM, <tgregmrtn@aol.com> wrote:



Tom wrote:

Guys,
Although it's past the time frame of this group, I worked in a wholesale
lumber yard on Florida's west coast during the early to mid 1970's. I'll
relate some of my experiences based on the type lumber. First a few givens.
The interior width and length of box cars, the IW is about 9-2 and the IL is
about 40-6/50-6, plus or minus a few inches. Random length lumber was not
loaded randomly. It was loaded to fill the width and length of the car, but
there were still a few inches of space for things to move. At this time
1x2's and 1x3's were bundled 8 or 10 pieces with string or tape. 1x12's
would layer 9 wide, 1x10's would layer 11 wide, and so forth for the other
widths. Lengthwise in a 40 foot car there would be 2 16's and an 8, or 2
12's and a 16, or 2 14's and a 12, or whatever combination equaled the IL.
The "pick-up-stick mess" was generally the top layers getting thrown around
by heavy coupling or slack action. The end "lumber doors" were for lengths
longer than 1/2 the IL plus 1/2 the door width.
1x and 2x Spruce/Pine - We unloaded 3 or 4 40 foot CP boxcars of this a
week. They would be loaded to about 14 to 18 inches below the top of the
door. Us "young skinny guys" would have the pleasure crawling in on top the
lumber to begin the unloading, just make sure you didn't touch the inside of
the roof during the summer. A 3 or 4 man crew would take about a day and a
half to complete the unloading.
1x and 2x Redwood - This was usually in a 50 foot double door SP car, about
1 car every 2 weeks. These were loaded to be unloaded by forklift, but there
was some hand work to clear out for the forklift. In good car, 2 men and a
forklift could be done in about 1/2 a day. If the banding had broken or the
load shifted it became a hand unloading job.
3x and larger Timbers - Most of the time these were 50 foot double door SP
cars set for forklift unloading. Unloading was similar to the redwood cars.
One memorable load was 1/3 a car of special order 6x12's 24 feet long that
was a hand job.
A few other observations:
We received flat car loads of just about everything (wrapped and unwrapped)
- 1x and 2x spruce/pine, timbers, scaffold planking.
Between the different lumber, moldings, and other items, 6-7 cars a week
were normal.
Occasionally while unloading a car you would come to a layer of craft
paper, at which point you would close the door and reseal it. Or you would
open one up and there would be a partial load with the paper on top - LCL.
The "Thrall-door" boxcar was basically a bulkhead flat car with a roof and
doors.
When moving cars, take some of the slack up on the hand brake beforehand or
you will not stop before the derail.
You can punch a hole in a car or knock the door off when trying to
open/close it with a forklift.

Tom Christensen


I find Tom's message amusing as he sounds like he started in the business
about the same time as mine as I was a junior in High School when I started
in the business.

I have an old promo booklet somewhere that was put together by Weyerhaeuser
circa 1964 announcing "YARD PACK" which was showing that they were
standardizing at least their packaging and the use of paper wrap for Kiln
Dried Lumber. It does go beyond the scope of this list so I won't go into
detail, just a note as to perhaps the very beginnings of the paper wrap era,
not to say they were the first by any means. Paper wrap in my recollection
was reserved for higher quality lumber what we called "uppers" i.e. clears,
and common boards in all species.

I actually have a photo of a double door 50-foot GTW box I will share with
Tim, Dennis and Tom showing the unloading of dimension lumber by hand and it
dates in the late 40s, perhaps early 50s. I have a couple of other shots I
will share with them as well.

Tom your notes of the "young Skinny" guys getting the duties of unloading
the top layers of the car remind me of my first lumber Boss (when I got to
be an "office guy" and no longer a "yard dog") Del Windisch who was hired on
at the old Barr Lumber facility in the Wilmington/Long Beach area after
arriving in the LA area in 1934 and he had the same duty "top
loader/unloaders" as he was smallish at the time he hired on.

Dennis is correct for the most part that most dimensional lumber ended up
in boxcars if for no other reason than its marketability. Timbers seemed to
be reserved for flats but gondolas as well . Jim Singer made me a photo copy
of a PRR gondola being loaded with timbers at Simpson's Shelton, WA facility
(as best I can tell) with a gantry crane on piece at a time, one layer at a
time. It was a promo photo from the WCLIB.

I suppose I was lucky as the lumber yard I worked for did most of the
unloading with forklifts, and I was the chosen one to get the duty of
running the "boxcar special moving the lumber through the car and handing it
off to a forklift on the ground as we never had a loading dock, clear the
door, lift the forklift into the car open both doors so you maneuver in the
car and pray you didn't go out the backside. Broken bands, well we were
union and the re stacking was done by the Lumber Handlers not the forklift
drivers on the ground, their time was too valuable. I wished I had a buck a
thoughts for ever car I had to hand stack and re band. If you wanted ot
claim the SP for the damage, the agent would come out and say."improper
bracing and blocking, call the mill guy..." In other words your screwed...

The early 70s were transition years for open top loading rules, and only a
few cars still had the "stacks with saplings and wire" the new rule was
interlaced bands and stacked layers... again that goes beyond the scope of
this list.

Tom, did you ever get carloads of 1x4 and 1x6x6' fence boards of California
Incense Cedar in a box? I can still smell those SP boxes with the "pencil
cedar" smell. And the Redwood, well by the end of the day your hands were
stained blue after handling the green stock.

By the late 70s the Thrall Door Boxes were somewhat common but again for
Redwood (LP cars)"uppers" or KD Fir/Larch out of Bennett Lumber a rare sight
on the SP in Southern California. Centerbeam cars, well the first one I ever
saw was unloaded at Randle Lumber behind us in Huntington Beach and by gosh
it went over when they unloaded the wood all off one side without unloading
the other and of course what was painted on the inside of the bulkhead a
huge note saying, "unload material evenly from both sides at the same
time..." Oops!

Greg Martin

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



Rich C
 

I am planning on modeling some Rock Island "hide loading" box cars, maybe by summer,lol! I can just imagine the smell of these cars in the hot summer!!

Rich Christie

--- On Tue, 4/13/10, Jim Hayes <jimhayes97225@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Jim Hayes <jimhayes97225@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Lumber Loading
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Date: Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 11:06 PM
Greg said
Tom, did you ever get carloads of 1x4 and 1x6x6' fence
boards of California
Incense Cedar in a box? I can still smell those SP boxes
with the "pencil
cedar" smell.

Which brings back memories of boxcar smells. In the Summer
of 1959 (whew,
just under the wire) I worked for a vinegar company in St.
Paul, Minnesota.
One method of shipping vinegar was in cleaned (my job) used
whiskey barrels
which arrived by boxcar. It was mid-Summer and hot and we
had a boxcar to
unload. Wow what a smell. By the time we finished we were
high just on the
fumes.

Jim Hayes
Portland Oregon
www.sunshinekits.com

On Tue, Apr 13, 2010 at 7:27 PM, <tgregmrtn@aol.com>
wrote:



Tom wrote:

Guys,
Although it's past the time frame of this group, I
worked in a wholesale
lumber yard on Florida's west coast during the early
to mid 1970's. I'll
relate some of my experiences based on the type
lumber. First a few givens.
The interior width and length of box cars, the IW is
about 9-2 and the IL is
about 40-6/50-6, plus or minus a few inches. Random
length lumber was not
loaded randomly. It was loaded to fill the width and
length of the car, but
there were still a few inches of space for things to
move. At this time
1x2's and 1x3's were bundled 8 or 10 pieces with
string or tape. 1x12's
would layer 9 wide, 1x10's would layer 11 wide, and so
forth for the other
widths. Lengthwise in a 40 foot car there would be 2
16's and an 8, or 2
12's and a 16, or 2 14's and a 12, or whatever
combination equaled the IL.
The "pick-up-stick mess" was generally the top layers
getting thrown around
by heavy coupling or slack action. The end "lumber
doors" were for lengths
longer than 1/2 the IL plus 1/2 the door width.
1x and 2x Spruce/Pine - We unloaded 3 or 4 40 foot CP
boxcars of this a
week. They would be loaded to about 14 to 18 inches
below the top of the
door. Us "young skinny guys" would have the pleasure
crawling in on top the
lumber to begin the unloading, just make sure you
didn't touch the inside of
the roof during the summer. A 3 or 4 man crew would
take about a day and a
half to complete the unloading.
1x and 2x Redwood - This was usually in a 50 foot
double door SP car, about
1 car every 2 weeks. These were loaded to be unloaded
by forklift, but there
was some hand work to clear out for the forklift. In
good car, 2 men and a
forklift could be done in about 1/2 a day. If the
banding had broken or the
load shifted it became a hand unloading job.
3x and larger Timbers - Most of the time these were 50
foot double door SP
cars set for forklift unloading. Unloading was similar
to the redwood cars.
One memorable load was 1/3 a car of special order
6x12's 24 feet long that
was a hand job.
A few other observations:
We received flat car loads of just about everything
(wrapped and unwrapped)
- 1x and 2x spruce/pine, timbers, scaffold planking.
Between the different lumber, moldings, and other
items, 6-7 cars a week
were normal.
Occasionally while unloading a car you would come to a
layer of craft
paper, at which point you would close the door and
reseal it. Or you would
open one up and there would be a partial load with the
paper on top - LCL.
The "Thrall-door" boxcar was basically a bulkhead flat
car with a roof and
doors.
When moving cars, take some of the slack up on the
hand brake beforehand or
you will not stop before the derail.
You can punch a hole in a car or knock the door off
when trying to
open/close it with a forklift.

Tom Christensen


I find Tom's message amusing as he sounds like he
started in the business
about the same time as mine as I was a junior in High
School when I started
in the business.

I have an old promo booklet somewhere that was put
together by Weyerhaeuser
circa 1964 announcing "YARD PACK" which was showing
that they were
standardizing at least their packaging and the use of
paper wrap for Kiln
Dried Lumber. It does go beyond the scope of this list
so I won't go into
detail, just a note as to perhaps the very beginnings
of the paper wrap era,
not to say they were the first by any means. Paper
wrap in my recollection
was reserved for higher quality lumber what we called
"uppers" i.e. clears,
and common boards in all species.

I actually have a photo of a double door 50-foot GTW
box I will share with
Tim, Dennis and Tom showing the unloading of dimension
lumber by hand and it
dates in the late 40s, perhaps early 50s. I have a
couple of other shots I
will share with them as well.

Tom your notes of the "young Skinny" guys getting the
duties of unloading
the top layers of the car remind me of my first lumber
Boss (when I got to
be an "office guy" and no longer a "yard dog") Del
Windisch who was hired on
at the old Barr Lumber facility in the Wilmington/Long
Beach area after
arriving in the LA area in 1934 and he had the same
duty "top
loader/unloaders" as he was smallish at the time he
hired on.

Dennis is correct for the most part that most
dimensional lumber ended up
in boxcars if for no other reason than its
marketability. Timbers seemed to
be reserved for flats but gondolas as well . Jim
Singer made me a photo copy
of a PRR gondola being loaded with timbers at
Simpson's Shelton, WA facility
(as best I can tell) with a gantry crane on piece at a
time, one layer at a
time. It was a promo photo from the WCLIB.

I suppose I was lucky as the lumber yard I worked for
did most of the
unloading with forklifts, and I was the chosen one to
get the duty of
running the "boxcar special moving the lumber through
the car and handing it
off to a forklift on the ground as we never had a
loading dock, clear the
door, lift the forklift into the car open both doors
so you maneuver in the
car and pray you didn't go out the backside. Broken
bands, well we were
union and the re stacking was done by the Lumber
Handlers not the forklift
drivers on the ground, their time was too valuable. I
wished I had a buck a
thoughts for ever car I had to hand stack and re band.
If you wanted ot
claim the SP for the damage, the agent would come out
and say."improper
bracing and blocking, call the mill guy..." In other
words your screwed...

The early 70s were transition years for open top
loading rules, and only a
few cars still had the "stacks with saplings and wire"
the new rule was
interlaced bands and stacked layers... again that goes
beyond the scope of
this list.

Tom, did you ever get carloads of 1x4 and 1x6x6' fence
boards of California
Incense Cedar in a box? I can still smell those SP
boxes with the "pencil
cedar" smell. And the Redwood, well by the end of the
day your hands were
stained blue after handling the green stock.

By the late 70s the Thrall Door Boxes were somewhat
common but again for
Redwood (LP cars)"uppers" or KD Fir/Larch out of
Bennett Lumber a rare sight
on the SP in Southern California. Centerbeam cars,
well the first one I ever
saw was unloaded at Randle Lumber behind us in
Huntington Beach and by gosh
it went over when they unloaded the wood all off one
side without unloading
the other and of course what was painted on the inside
of the bulkhead a
huge note saying, "unload material evenly from both
sides at the same
time..." Oops!

Greg Martin

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Aley, Jeff A
 

First of all, "THANKS" to Tim, Tom, and Dennis for describing how lumberyards worked back in the 1950's.

Second of all, a quick perusal of several UP Frt Conductor's books showed something surprising:

There was PLENTY of lumber shipped in box cars, especially in SP cars (no surprise there).
But there were ZERO flat cars of lumber in the Traud 1951 book. We're talking about 35 trains and 2400 total cars here!

Then I looked at the other UP books (spreadsheets) that I have. ALL of the other books do show lumber on flat cars, in years both earlier and later (1941 Nelson, 1947 Fraley(?), and 1956 Novi).

I'm stumped. Why would there be no lumber on flat cars in Oct-Dec of 1951? Was this the time period after the Streamliner accident (a piece of lumber shifted on a flat car, and broke the windows of a passing Streamliner, showering the passengers with broken glass) ??

Regards,

-Jeff


From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of thomas christensen
Sent: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 6:25 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [STMFC] Lumber Loading




--- On Tue, 4/13/10, soolinehistory <destorzek@mchsi.com<mailto:destorzek%40mchsi.com>> wrote:


Speaking of lumber -- anyone know when the first "wrapped"
lumber loads began? I mean the neat stacks of same-length
pieces, all nicely wrapped up. I'm guessing it was sometime
in the 1950's, since that's when wrapped drywall loads on
flats appeared.
I still remember lumber in boxcars in 1959 or '60, maybe a couple years later. Drywall also originally was shipped in boxcars, which must have been an absolutely miserable job to unload. Drywall lent itself to shipping on bulkhead flats, since it was large flat sheets and it didn't have to be piled very high to max out the car's capacity. Lumber was a different story; while large timbers could and were shipped on flatcars, the pile of dimensional lumber got awfully high and tippy before the car's load limit was reached.

---

We received flat car loads of just about everything (wrapped and unwrapped) - 1x and 2x spruce/pine, timbers, scaffold planking.
Between the different lumber, moldings, and other items, 6-7 cars a week were normal.


Greg Martin
 

I'm stumped. Why would there be no lumber on flat cars in Oct-Dec of 1951? Was this the time period after the Streamliner accident (a piece of lumber shifted on a flat car, and broke the windows of a passing Streamliner, showering the passengers with broken glass) ??

Regards,

-Jeff






Jeff,

You have to look at what generally shipped on flatcars during this era and understand the commodity as well as the industry. In all freight movements there is a correlation to the commodities. As Dennis said (and I agree and I am sure Tony will as well) that most cars loaded with dimensional lumber moved in boxcars (think weather protect and the weather of your snapshot period). The rule is timber moves on flatcars. Historically in the lumber business timber doesn't move much at all during late fall and winter, the inventory is run down to nearly nothing at the lumber yards, timber doesn't yard well. But if you were to move your snapshot forward the lumber industry does move in much higher volumes starting in late January through the last week of May, then it cycles down through the end of August, September is flat to down with a slight pick up about the 10th of October and if the market is good as well as the weather the market runs until the first week in December and then goes quiet. If the storms of November come early the market dies until late January again.

If the national economy has a recession as it did in the mid 50s all bets are off.

Greg Martin


Clark Propst
 

One of the older local modelers told me about working Saturdays while still in school unloading box cars. Again, being thin he was put in the car to hand out the first pieces. He said sometimes he'd have to work for a 1/2 hr of longer to get the first piece out. He also said he really enjoyed the smell of the fresh wood.

NP 26619 LUMBER 119 ALBERT LEA BACK HAUL

The car listed above was in an M&StL Minneapolis to Peoria time freight. This car must be ping-ponging across the railroad waiting for a buyer?

Clark Propst


np328
 

I'm stumped. Why would there be no lumber on flat cars in Oct-Dec of 1951? Was this the time period after the Streamliner accident (a piece of lumber shifted on a flat car, and broke the windows of a passing Streamliner, showering the passengers with broken glass) ?
Regards, -Jeff

I cannot speak for other railroads however on the NP, after lumber on an open car shifted and took down a signal, lumber loads on open cars both flats and gons, were handled on a separate train east. Traveling at a 35 mph restriction until diesels took over and then it was granted a 50 mph speed limit. I want to say it was the J manifest. And yes, oscillations caused by the steam locomotives carried through the train were thought to be the cause.
So if you looked at NP trains headed east, you would find the same phenomenon, flats vs XM's carrying lumber.
Jim Dick


Tim O'Connor
 

Jeff

First of all, you have a small sample. It's 2400 cars, but it's also
only from a small number of trains on any given day, over 90 days.

Second, it's possible that in late fall-winter months less lumber was
shipped. Since shippers may prefer box cars, the seasonal slow down may
have meant there were enough box cars to cover the traffic. Even though
fall is big for grain, double door cars were not suitable for grain --
but that's what the lumber shippers liked.

SP added 1,500 50' double door box cars in 1950-1951 (A-50-17). They
didn't buy any more until 1955. But then they also added more than
2,000 53'6" 70 ton flat cars in 1949-1950, and nearly a thousand more
in 1953-1954. So I'm thinking it's a combination of small data sample,
and slow season for lumber.

Tim O'Connor

I'm stumped. Why would there be no lumber on flat cars in Oct-Dec of 1951? Was this the time period after the Streamliner accident (a piece of lumber shifted on a flat car, and broke the windows of a passing Streamliner, showering the passengers with broken glass) ??
Regards,
-Jeff


Tim O'Connor
 

Clark I don't understand -- what does ALBERT LEA BACK HAUL mean?

Lumber definitely could be diverted before it reached its final
destination. And diversions could go in any direction, as long as
someone paid for it (the diversion, that is).

Tim O'Connor

NP 26619 LUMBER 119 ALBERT LEA BACK HAUL

The car listed above was in an M&StL Minneapolis to Peoria time freight. This car must be ping-ponging across the railroad waiting for a buyer?
Clark Propst


Clark Propst
 

Just pointing out that the car has been moved on the railroad before.

I assume the car was dropped at Albert Lea MN by a westbound and now was on an east bound?
Clark Propst

--- In STMFC@yahoogroups.com, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:


Clark I don't understand -- what does ALBERT LEA BACK HAUL mean?

Lumber definitely could be diverted before it reached its final
destination. And diversions could go in any direction, as long as
someone paid for it (the diversion, that is).

Tim O'Connor



NP 26619 LUMBER 119 ALBERT LEA BACK HAUL

The car listed above was in an M&StL Minneapolis to Peoria time freight. This car must be ping-ponging across the railroad waiting for a buyer?
Clark Propst