Topics

Oregon lumber traffic


Tony Thompson
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:

 

SP got the lion's share of lumber traffic to California -- the Inside Gateway
was never as heavily trafficked as SP's two mainlines. 


     Exactly right, Tim. The "Inside Gateway" carried 10 percent or less, compared to the volume of SP's traffic between Oregon and California, most years below 10 percent. But for some reason Santa Fe, WP and GN modelers seem very excited about it .

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





Chuck Soule
 

Lumber traffic from the NW to California also included a lot of Canadian Pacific and Canadian National traffic. I remember seeing many Canadian cars pass through Tacoma in the 50s and 60s.  I remember asking my father why some cars were lettered Canadien National and others for Canadian National (I was too young to figure out it was one way on one side of the car, and the other on the opposite side).

I don't know percentages, but many CP, CN and PGE cars went to California, often in blocks within a train.  The NP received Canadian loads at Sumas, WA and usually delivered them to the SP in Portland.  The GN received Canadian loads in Vancouver, BC and, in most circumstances, sent them south via the Inside Gateway.

Chuck Soule


Bill Decker
 

Thanks Tony for augmenting my observations.  Your statements likely are based more in actual documents.  In my defense guys, the basic premise is basic economics.  I already noted the way the Bay Area was served by more local moves, including the NWP.  For the LA area and further around the "Golden Crescent," Oregon is simply closer to market.  In the ICC era of this list, mileage alone was enough to drive the transportation economics.  Once loaded into/onto steam era freight cars ;-))  , it was fairly economical to get it down to Southern California and beyond.  The Washington timber harvesters needed to get past the prolific Oregon mills to engage in that traffic.  

Still, there was traffic from Washington state.  NP was a friendly connection at Portland and that continued into the "green" era well past this list.  Also past this list was a run-through agreement that deposited a full train at Eugene from Seattle and Tacoma.  I can see that traffic developing in steam era photos on the Cascade Line just by the many NP cars entrained.  By personal observation, SP&S' Oregon Electric traffic out of the Willamette Valley tended to go north and then east from Vancouver, WA.  Some joined the "GWS" stream down the Inside Gateway, but much went east.  Once again, look at the transportation economics.  As long as SP provided adequate service, the competitors were at a transportation cost disadvantage.

Bill Decker


Allen Rueter
 

The Bieber Yard (interchange) book, does not call out commodities , but does show that the GN had a base of two South bound trains, three trains happened several times a week, four trains a day happened several times a month.
 
--
Allen Rueter
StLouis MO


Fred Jansz
 

Just curious. Since there came a LOT of lumber out of Oregon, just how many carloads per week would this 'only 10% over the Inside Gateway' have been?
Fred Jansz


Tim O'Connor
 

I don't know but wasn't there someone on STMFC a while ago who had
a bunch conductor's reports at Klamath Falls for the GN ? That might
provide some hard data.

Tim O'

Just curious. Since there came a LOT of lumber out of Oregon, just how many carloads per week would this 'only 10% over the Inside Gateway' have been?
Fred Jansz


Aley, Jeff A
 

Fred,

 

               In short, the total OR – CA shipment of “Products of Forests” is 49,400 carloads for the year 1950.

 

               See http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015019920837?urlappend=%3Bseq=287 .  Please note that these statistics are from the 1% waybill sample, so the real numbers are 100X bigger (that’s how I got 49,400 carloads from the “494” carloads in the table).  I do not know the effect of “roller lumber” on this data; perhaps it is mentioned in the text at the beginning of the section.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff

 

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2015 11:10 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Oregon lumber traffic

 

 

Just curious. Since there came a LOT of lumber out of Oregon, just how many carloads per week would this 'only 10% over the Inside Gateway' have been?
Fred Jansz


Tim O'Connor
 

Jeff Aley wrote

 > In short, the total OR � CA shipment of Products of Forests is 49,400 carloads
 > for the year 1950. See

   http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015019920837?urlappend=%3Bseq=287

 > Please note that these statistics are from the 1% waybill sample, so the real numbers
 > are 100X bigger (that's how I got 49,400 carloads from the 494 carloads in the table).

That sounds about right -- the bulk of the traffic via this route would have been
forest products and other non-time-sensitive traffic. While the SP lines probably
didn't get 10x this amount of forest products (more likely 5x-6x) they would have
had far more perishables, merchandise and especially LCL traffic. Before 1950 LCL
was a still a sizable percentage of box car loadings.

Don't forget UP's contribution -- the UP interchanged with CP (via Spokane International)
and had plenty of forest products coming down from Idaho & Washington on its own lines.
I suspect almost all of that going to northern California markets would go via Portland
and the SP, while they'd probably try to route southern California traffic via LA&SL.

Tim O'Connor





railsnw@...
 

As to Oregon Electric traffic heading North and East, some of this would have been handed over to the Great Northern in the Portland/Vancouver area than it headed East to Wishram on the SP&S than South on the Oregon Trunk to Bend and than to Klamath Falls before heading to Beiber and the hand off to the Western Pacific.Also a fair bit of lumber traffic would have been picked up at Bend by the GN and headed South.

Richard Wilkens


Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Tim,

The WP/GN did handle quite a bit of perishable traffic as well as lumber. I have no figures, but many of my WP photo books show refrigerators running at the front of consist in the 1950s and 60s on the inside gateway, and there was an ice dock at Bieber (IIRC). It isn't clear which direction the trains are going in most photos though. I suggest Washington apples and cherries went southbound in season, with California peaches and plums, plus truck crops, going north.

The WP also handled a LOT of canned goods, and were pioneers in using 50' RBLs for that traffic beginning in 1955 with their first order of insulated, "compartmentizer-equipped" plug door PS-1s. Some of their northbound traffic had to have been canned goods.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


On 9/1/15 1:09 PM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

Jeff Aley wrote

 > In short, the total OR – CA shipment of Products of Forests is 49,400 carloads
 > for the year 1950. See

   http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015019920837?urlappend=%3Bseq=287

 > Please note that these statistics are from the 1% waybill sample, so the real numbers
 > are 100X bigger (that's how I got 49,400 carloads from the 494 carloads in the table).

That sounds about right -- the bulk of the traffic via this route would have been
forest products and other non-time-sensitive traffic. While the SP lines probably
didn't get 10x this amount of forest products (more likely 5x-6x) they would have
had far more perishables, merchandise and especially LCL traffic. Before 1950 LCL
was a still a sizable percentage of box car loadings.

Don't forget UP's contribution -- the UP interchanged with CP (via Spokane International)
and had plenty of forest products coming down from Idaho & Washington on its own lines.
I suspect almost all of that going to northern California markets would go via Portland
and the SP, while they'd probably try to route southern California traffic via LA&SL.

Tim O'Connor






Aley, Jeff A
 

Of course, a more thorough analysis would consider lumber from other states (e.g. Washington: 7,700 cars in 1950) that would have entered California via Oregon.

 

Those, like Mike Brock, who want to delve even deeper, can look at the sub-categories of “Products of Forests” to paint a more detailed picture.  For example, there were 80,700 carloads of “Logs Butts Bolts” shipped from Oregon to Oregon (i.e. to mills within the state).  There were no inter-state shipments, except for 400 cars that went to Washington.

 

There were a few “Posts Poles Wooden” that probably went by flatcar or gon over Sherman Hill, but not very many.

There was a huge amount of “Lumber Shingles Lath” shipped over The Hill, but it’s hard to know if any of it was rough lumber (on flats) versus finished lumber (in house cars).  Probably most was the latter, and Mike will (!) analyze the conductor’s books to let us know.

 

All this can be learned by going to the link http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015019920837?urlappend=%3Bseq=287 and scrolling down a few pages.

 

The same link will also (eventually) lead you to products of agriculture, if you want to know how many carloads of apples were shipped to CA from OR.  But it won’t tell you which RR’s hauled the cars.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff

 

 

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Tuesday, September 01, 2015 9:15 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Oregon lumber traffic

 

 

Fred,

 

               In short, the total OR – CA shipment of “Products of Forests” is 49,400 carloads for the year 1950.

 

               See http://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015019920837?urlappend=%3Bseq=287 .  Please note that these statistics are from the 1% waybill sample, so the real numbers are 100X bigger (that’s how I got 49,400 carloads from the “494” carloads in the table).  I do not know the effect of “roller lumber” on this data; perhaps it is mentioned in the text at the beginning of the section.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff

 

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Monday, August 31, 2015 11:10 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Oregon lumber traffic

 

 

Just curious. Since there came a LOT of lumber out of Oregon, just how many carloads per week would this 'only 10% over the Inside Gateway' have been?
Fred Jansz


Fred Jansz
 

Thank you Jeff.
So 10% of that would mean ca. 4940 cars per year rolled over WP's inside gateway from Bieber to Keddie vv. That's 412 cars a month, 103 a week and 15 a day. Probably mostly GN, WP, SP&S, RG and SF cars.
In the very early 1900's WP handled a lot of lumber from the many mills along their lines. In the late 1900's that would deminish to a handfull along the Highline itself and of course the Quincy and Feather Falls mills (untill 1965). In fact UP still picks up the Quincy milled lumber at former Quincy Junction as far as I know.
To return to the topic: in the many books I have on WP I spotted only 1 wooden NP boxcar on the Highline. Guess I'll have to score 1 Rapido NP boxcar for my WP collection... (I model 1949).
best regards, Fred Jansz


Aley, Jeff A
 

Fred,

 

               You’re welcome!

 

I hesitated to do that math (4940 cars per year, divided by 365 days per year = 13.5 cars per day).  I don’t know if finished lumber is shipped seasonally or if it is shipped uniformly throughout the year.  I’m willing to bet that others (Greg Martin) know the answer.

               I suppose it doesn’t matter much.  The number of cars is far less than a prototype train.  So one can model it as a single block of lumber cars per day, or perhaps a couple of smaller blocks.  Obviously, the number of cars in a “block” on most model RR’s is far fewer than on the prototype.

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff

 

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 12:02 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Oregon lumber traffic

 

 

Thank you Jeff.
So 10% of that would mean ca. 4940 cars per year rolled over WP's inside gateway from Bieber to Keddie vv. That's 412 cars a month, 103 a week and 15 a day. Probably mostly GN, WP, SP&S, RG and SF cars.
In the very early 1900's WP handled a lot of lumber from the many mills along their lines. In the late 1900's that would deminish to a handfull along the Highline itself and of course the Quincy and Feather Falls mills (untill 1965). In fact UP still picks up the Quincy milled lumber at former Quincy Junction as far as I know.
To return to the topic: in the many books I have on WP I spotted only 1 wooden NP boxcar on the Highline. Guess I'll have to score 1 Rapido NP boxcar for my WP collection... (I model 1949).
best regards, Fred Jansz


Ken Roth
 

Here's one more data point on Lumber traffic originating on SP in Southern Oregon at Ashland.  I have two wheel reports from 1949 and 1950 showing mostly lumber loads headed out of Ashland for points east and south (CA).  The 1949 train has 31 lumber loads headed to points in the midwest and east coast, and only 3 loads headed for California. 5 of the cars headed for the midwest and east coast are SP cars. The 1950 train contains 18 cars headed to midwest and east coast, and 13 loads (mostly SP cars) headed for points in California. Of course this is only two trains, but does show that not all lumber from Oregon went to California, and that SP cars loaded with lumber could easily end up on the East Coast. Geographic eastbound traffic off the Siskiyou Line in Southern Oregon was routed through Klamath Falls to the SP's Modoc Line which joined the SP mainline to Ogden in Nevada.

Ken Roth


Dave Nelson
 

Post WWII the ICC slowly changed rates for lumber moving to the east coast.  Before the war rates were such that west coast lumber was rather hard to sell along the Great Lakes to the Atlantic coast as southern lumber was much less expensive, largely because of a rate-mileage advantage.  That slowly changed and west coast lumber reached equality of price in spite of the much greater distance it travelled.  IIRC it changed a bit more (in favor of the west) and the Lake front cities and upper Atlantic coast markets sold mostly western lumber.

 

Dave Nelson

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Wednesday, September 02, 2015 9:21 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: RE: [STMFC] Re: Oregon lumber traffic


Here's one more data point on Lumber traffic originating on SP in Southern Oregon at Ashland.  I have two wheel reports from 1949 and 1950 showing mostly lumber loads headed out of Ashland for points east and south (CA).  The 1949 train has 31 lumber loads headed to points in the midwest and east coast, and only 3 loads headed for California. 5 of the cars headed for the midwest and east coast are SP cars. The 1950 train contains 18 cars headed to midwest and east coast, and 13 loads (mostly SP cars) headed for points in California. Of course this is only two trains, but does show that not all lumber from Oregon went to California, and that SP cars loaded with lumber could easily end up on the East Coast. Geographic eastbound traffic off the Siskiyou Line in Southern Oregon was routed through Klamath Falls to the SP's Modoc Line which joined the SP mainline to Ogden in Nevada.

Ken Roth

 


Greg Martin
 

Jeff answers:

"Fred,

You're welcome!

I hesitated to do that math (4940 cars per year, divided by 365 days per year = 13.5 cars per day).  I don’t know if finished lumber is shipped seasonally or if it is shipped uniformly throughout the year.  I'm willing to bet that others (Greg Martin) know the answer.

I suppose it doesn't matter much.  The number of cars is far less than a prototype train.  So one can model it as a single block of lumber cars per day, or perhaps a couple of smaller blocks.  Obviously, the number of cars in a “block” on most model RR’s is far fewer than on the prototype.

Regards,

-Jeff"

Fred, Jeff and all,

Lumber was bought,  sold and shipped every day to some degree. It was a commodity market product and being so the price was either up or down everyday just as you would expect of any commodity.  As you would expect there were certain times of the year that the market would go up due to supply/demand issues.

Here is what trends I can recall and I believe are still common today, the buyers would come to play in late February considering the transit time the material would arrive in early March and to the jobsite by months end. The market would climb through the last week in April and first week of May. June was a month of tapering, Fourth of July "shut-downs" would help hold the market up and August and September were down months. Somewhere about the 10th of October the market would get a kick start again and if the market took "baby steps" it could hold through Thanksgiving week "shut-downs" then the mills would have a good Christmas. There were always some market runs for various fabricated reasons, so lumber was always moving.

So I guess if you are modeling the spring months you would see the largest groups of cars headed south to Californian and also east towards Chicago.

Remember eighty percent of all commodities in a common house are plate stock, studs and roof sheathing. So think surfaced dimensional 2"x 4" with a dab of 2"x 6" (plumbing walls) 2"x 4" P.E.T. studs, and 1"x 6" (or wider) solid or skip sheathing.  The balance was surfaced floor joists, rafters, and header material as well as floor sheathing. Heavy un-dress timber was a small commodity where as 4"x and 6"x dressed timber was common for headers for the walls and timbers for the floors.

 

Greg Martin

 

Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it.
Norman Maclean


Larry Rice
 

Greetings,

Freight traffic to, from, and via the SP&S and especially its Oregon Electric Willamette Valley lines has been an intense interest of mine for over 15 years. I offer the following information for those who are interested in lumber and plywood shipments originating in the Willamette Valley. Carloads of lumber and plywood originating on Oregon Electric served Willamette Valley points during 1960 and 1961 with general routings and regional destinations are shown below. The information comes from SP&S Traffic Department monthly and annual traffic reports owned by the SP&S Historical Society and housed at the Pacific Northwest Railroad Archives.


For the Oregon Electric excluding the Forest Grove branch during 1960…
Total lumber carloads originating - 10,932.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S and the Pasco NP, Scribner/Yardley NP, or Spokane GN gateways - 7,993.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S GN WP route – 600.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and GN – 81.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and NP – 63.
Carloads interchanged to the SP at Lebanon or Eugene – 134.
Calif., Ariz., Nevada, and Utah destinations via SP&S GN WP – 848.
Northwest destinations via the SP&S – 843.
Northwest destinations via the GN – 191.
Northwest destinations via the NP – 179.


For the Oregon Electric excluding the Forest Grove branch during 1961…
Total lumber carloads originating – 11,160.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S and the Pasco NP, Scribner/Yardley NP, or Spokane GN gateways – 7,596.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S GN WP route – 773.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and GN – 102.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and NP – 93.
Carloads interchanged to the SP at Lebanon or Eugene – 269.
Calif., Ariz., Nevada, and Utah destinations via SP&S GN WP – 1,153.
Northwest destinations via the SP&S – 775.
Northwest destinations via the GN – 211.
Northwest destinations via the NP – 188.


For the Oregon Electric excluding the Forest Grove branch during 1961…
Total Plywood carloads originating – 11,847.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S and the Pasco NP, Scribner/Yardley NP, or Spokane GN gateways – 9,603.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S GN WP route – 224.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and GN – 49.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and NP – 107.
Carloads interchanged to the SP at Lebanon or Eugene – 33.
Calif., Ariz., Nevada, and Utah destinations via SP&S GN WP – 415.
Northwest destinations via the SP&S – 438.
Northwest destinations via the GN – 251.
Northwest destinations via the NP – 727.

The same information is available for each station on the Oregon Electric, an example is provided below…

For all mills in Eugene for 1960…
Total lumber carloads originating – 3,526.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S and the Pasco NP, Scribner/Yardley NP, or Spokane GN gateways – 2,283. 
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S GN WP route – 255.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and GN – 11.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and NP – 6.
Carloads interchanged to the SP at Lebanon or Eugene – 1.
Calif., Ariz., Nevada, and Utah destinations via SP&S GN WP – 286.
Northwest destinations via the SP&S – 514.
Northwest destinations via the GN – 76.
Northwest destinations via the NP – 94.

The same information is available for each mill on the OE, a pair of examples are included below…

For Cuddeback Lumber Co. in Eugene for 1961…
Total lumber carloads originating – 579.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S and the Pasco NP, Scribner/Yardley NP, or Spokane GN gateways – 241. 
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S GN WP route – 109.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and GN – 0.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and NP – 2.
Carloads interchanged to the SP at Lebanon or Eugene – 0.
Calif., Ariz., Nevada, and Utah destinations via SP&S GN WP – 112.
Northwest destinations via the SP&S – 82.
Northwest destinations via the GN – 20.
Northwest destinations via the NP – 13.

For Bauman Lumber Co. in Waterloo Oregon (Santiam branch) for 1961…
Total lumber carloads originating – 1857.
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S and the Pasco NP, Scribner/Yardley NP, or Spokane GN gateways – 1380. 
Transcontinental destinations via SP&S GN WP route – 52.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and GN – 38.
Transcontinental destinations via Portland and NP – 11.
Carloads interchanged to the SP at Lebanon or Eugene – 33.
Calif., Ariz., Nevada, and Utah destinations via SP&S GN WP – 267.
Northwest destinations via the SP&S – 39.
Northwest destinations via the GN – 32.
Northwest destinations via the NP – 5.

------
A few notes… The total lumber or plywood carloads from the OE in the Willamette Valley routed via the inside gateway would be the total of the third and seventh lines in the examples above. Northwest destinations are defined in this data as points in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho, extreme western Montana and southwestern Alberta. Transcontinental destinations are all points east of the identified Northwest destinations but DO NOT include points in California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah. Cars interchanged to the SP at Lebanon or Eugene are traveling on OE waybills, thus the count DOES NOT include the large numbers of cars loaded for and interchanged to the SP per the open reciprocal agreements and therefore moving on SP waybills as originating carrier. Similar information is available for the OE for most of the fifties, but it will require a return to the PNRA to pull the appropriate SP&S/OE file.


Larry Rice
Port Townsend  WA