Pacific Northwest Lumber Traffic


greg kennelly
 

Doug Polinder writes:

"My observations of Pacific Northwest lumber traffic agree with Chuck
Soule's sightings in Tacoma. GN received interchange cars from CN at New
Westminster BC, and I believe CN forwarded cars from PGE to GN.”

Except, possibly, in the later years of the era covered by this list, Pacific Great Eastern (PGE) cars would be very unlikely to be seen in the U.S. The PGE had a “Freight Connection” with the Great Northern at Vancouver, BC (via C.P.R as a result of barging traffic from Squamish, BC, to the C.P. slip in Vancouver) from at least 1930 (Apr. 1930 ORER) to late 1956. Following the opening of the North Vancouver - Squamish section of the railway in 1956, the G.N. connection was at North Vancouver (via either C.N. or C.P. (C.P. had running rights over C.N. from Vancouver to North Vancouver)).

Early sighting of PGE cars in the U.S. is unlikely as the July 1935 ORER carried the notation, “Freight Cars owned are not employed in Interstate Commerce”, and from at least April 1940 - January 1953 the ORERs stated that “Freight Cars owned are used only in Switching Service with direct connections”. I do not have any ORERs from the later 1950s to see how late this notation was included. It is interesting to note that, during most of the era of this list the G.N. connection did not involve C.N. but from 1930 - 1953, the Freight Connection with Canadian National did involve G.N. as it was at Vancouver, BC (via C.P. & G.N.). There was, in fact, a direct connection with C.N. established at Prince George, BC in 1952 but it was not listed in the ORER until after January 1953.

According to a map issued by the PGE circa 1958, following the opening of the Howe Sound portion of the line there were Freight Connections at Squamish, BC with Milwaukee Road (via Foss Launch & Tug Co. to Seattle, Wa), and with Union Pacific (via Island Tug & Barge Ltd. to Seattle Wa.). In the later years of this list’s era, there was a “preferential routing” agreement between the PGE and the Milwaukee Road which, of course, would be superceded by any contrary instructions from the shipper.

Cheers,
Greg Kennelly


Dave Nelson
 

Don't overlook the fact that substantial amounts of lumber moved south by ship, at least before WWII. Labor costs after the war increased sharply and hurt break-bulk shipping all over North America.

Speaking of shipping, there is a book called The Box, which I've read and enjoyed (the wife can tell tales). It is about the invention and rise of containerization (largely by the force of will of one man), how the railroads fought it and on losing were finally smart enough to jump on board wholeheartedly, and how it changed cities all over the world. Some portions are mid 1950's so it's ok to mention on this list. An interesting read.

Dave Nelson


Tim O'Connor
 

Greg Kennelly wrote

Except, possibly, in the later years of the era covered by this list,
Pacific Great Eastern (PGE) cars would be very unlikely to be seen in
the U.S. .... Following the opening of the North Vancouver - Squamish
section of the railway in 1956, the G.N. connection was at North
Vancouver (via either C.N. or C.P. (C.P. had running rights over C.N.
from Vancouver to North Vancouver)).

There's a late 1950's shot of PGE 4220 (NSC built 40 foot box) in the
Los Angeles area in the Jim Gerstley slide collection. The car has a built
date of 1-1958. Also in the same collection is a shot of a brand new Alaska
Railroad 3-bay offset side hopper, dated 3-1958 -- photo location is SP's
Taylor Yard in Los Angeles. If anyone has an explanation for that, I'd
love to hear it ! :-)

Tim O'Connor


Bill Keene <wakeene@...>
 

I remember seeing PGE box cars in the future of the list while living in Kansas City area. I see no reason why such a car could not be in Los Angeles. As for the ARR hopper, perhaps it was routed from the builder to the Port of Los Angeles for shipment to the Alaskan railroad. Just a thought.

Cheers,
Bill Keene
Irvine, CA


On Sep 1, 2015, at 8:04 PM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

Greg Kennelly wrote

>Except, possibly, in the later years of the era covered by this list, 
>Pacific Great Eastern (PGE) cars would be very unlikely to be seen in 
>the U.S. .... Following the opening of the North Vancouver - Squamish 
>section of the railway in 1956, the G.N. connection was at North 
>Vancouver (via either C.N. or C.P. (C.P. had running rights over C.N. 
>from Vancouver to North Vancouver)).

There's a late 1950's shot of PGE 4220 (NSC built 40 foot box) in the
Los Angeles area in the Jim Gerstley slide collection. The car has a built
date of 1-1958. Also in the same collection is a shot of a brand new Alaska
Railroad 3-bay offset side hopper, dated 3-1958 -- photo location is SP's
Taylor Yard in Los Angeles. If anyone has an explanation for that, I'd
love to hear it ! :-)

Tim O'Connor



Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Doug, Greg and Friends,

The PG&E page of my 1958 ORER still says "Freight cars owned are used only in switching services with direct connections."

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff


On 9/1/15 10:43 PM, Greg Kennelly greg_kennelly@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

Doug Polinder writes:

. . . Early sighting of PGE cars in the U.S. is unlikely as the July 1935 ORER
carried the notation, “Freight Cars owned are not employed in Interstate
Commerce”, and from at least April 1940 - January 1953 the ORERs stated
that “Freight Cars owned are used only in Switching Service with direct
connections”. I do not have any ORERs from the later 1950s to see how
late this notation was included. It is interesting to note that, during
most of the era of this list the G.N. connection did not involve C.N.
but from 1930 - 1953, the Freight Connection with Canadian National did
involve G.N. as it was at Vancouver, BC (via C.P. & G.N.). There was,
in fact, a direct connection with C.N. established at Prince George, BC
in 1952 but it was not listed in the ORER until after January 1953.


Cheers,
Greg Kennelly



Tim O'Connor
 


Says that in 1959 as well ... but if you really think about that statement,
wouldn't it be TRUE for almost all railroads? I mean, could you have freight
cars used in switching services only with INDIRECT connections? Could you
have freight cars NOT used in switching services at all? If so, how would you
move them -- teleportation? What about leased cars?

The line is gone by 1963, if not earlier.

Tim O'Connor




Doug, Greg and Friends,

The PG&E page of my 1958 ORER still says "Freight cars owned are used only in switching services with direct connections."

Garth Groff


Dennis Storzek
 




---In STMFC@..., <timboconnor@...> wrote :


Says that in 1959 as well ... but if you really think about that statement,
wouldn't it be TRUE for almost all railroads? I mean, could you have freight
cars used in switching services only with INDIRECT connections?...
====================

I think that is the equivalent of other roads statements that "Cars of this road are not used in interchange service." Because one end of the PGE was the CP ferry slip, they had an agreement with CP to handle their non-interchange compliant cars locally in Vancouver - but no further. That avoided refusals where the cars would be inspected at interchange with the US roads.

When the PGE bought some new cars and came into the modern world, that note went away.

Dennis Storzek


Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Tim,

I'm thinking that the phrase means that PGE cars were to be routed to direct connections and no further. If so, you would be unlikely to see a PGE car in California during our era. Instead, the PGE would likely have provided their shipper a car from a connecting Canadian road.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff

On 9/2/15 7:28 AM, Tim O'Connor timboconnor@... [STMFC] wrote:
 


Says that in 1959 as well ... but if you really think about that statement,
wouldn't it be TRUE for almost all railroads? I mean, could you have freight
cars used in switching services only with INDIRECT connections? Could you
have freight cars NOT used in switching services at all? If so, how would you
move them -- teleportation? What about leased cars?

The line is gone by 1963, if not earlier.

Tim O'Connor




Doug, Greg and Friends,

The PG&E page of my 1958 ORER still says "Freight cars owned are used only in switching services with direct connections."

Garth Groff




railsnw@...
 

I know the PGE bought a large amount of ex-Central of New Jersey 40' steel boxcars but I don't know if these were for online use or for interchange.

I wonder if the PGE began sending more cars south after the connection was made between North Vancouver and Squamish. Prior to that cars were unloaded at a barge slip in Squamish and I have photos of a barge being unloaded and besides CP & CN cars it did have some US cars.

Rich


Tim O'Connor
 


That may be so Garth, but once a PGE car went to, say, the Canadian National, it
might end up in Portland Maine on the Grand Trunk, or any number of other places.
It's highly doubtful that other railroads would pay special attention to a very
ordinary PGE box car. The cars wore standard stencils, which were only required
for cars in unrestricted interchange.

Without a doubt the box cars were rare -- there were just over a couple hundred in
1959 versus what, nearly a MILLION North American box cars in the late 1950's.

Tim



I'm thinking that the phrase means that PGE cars were to be routed to direct connections and no further. If so, you would be unlikely to see a PGE car in California during our era. Instead, the PGE would likely have provided their shipper a car from a connecting Canadian road.

Yours Aye,
Garth Groff


Mark Hemphill
 

It would have to be some very special lumber to compete on cost including transportation, for PGE-originated lumber in distant markets.  It would not be a framing grade of Western Hemlock or Douglas-fir or some Spruce-Pine-Fir grade unless the mill was just giving it away; the rail transportation costs in the Steam Era made it rare to be able to rail lumber from the PNW beyond Chicago and compete effectively with Southern Yellow Pine.  And in the 1930s, Weyerhaeuser developed its own giant lumber warehouse, distribution, planing, and millwork centers in Baltimore and Newark using its own coast-wise shipping line that avoided the whole cost-of-rail problem completely, competing effectively with all-rail Southern Yellow Pine from the Southeast. See this for a capsule history: http://www.wsl.com/WestwoodShipping_History.aspx  So yes, you could find a lot of Douglas-fir being used in the Northeast in construction, but it didn't get there very often by rail.

 

It would possibly be some fancy grade quarter-sawn clear Douglas-fir veneer or long boards. But there was plenty of that lumber in Washington and Oregon, so a carload from B.C. would have to leapfrog over them. (To add some detail to what Dave Nelson said earlier, a lot of lumber moved via coast-wise shipping from every port in Oregon, Washington and northern California to every port from San Francisco southward at lower-than-rail cost. After WWII, the whole cost-of-ocean shipping equation was upended, and the coast-wise lumber business declined rapidly.  There's an excellent history of this in The Rise and Decline of U.S. Merchant Shipping in the 20th Century, Rene De La Pedraja http://www.amazon.com/Merchant-Shipping-Twentieth-Evolution-Business/dp/0805798269)

  

However, there are some unusual species/grades that do come out of BC, for special applications.  Yellow Cedar, for instance, virtually only comes from B.C.'s coastal range in commercial quantities in large, clear, book-matched veneer. I saw a carload of that in the mid-1980s for paneling for a university recital hall. It went all the way to Philadelphia to a specialty paneling and door manufacturer.  Then all the way back to Alaska, in containers, for a University of Alaska recital hall.  Kind of expensive, but it was really pretty.

How do we know the PGE car we see at a distant location was loaded on PGE?  I have plenty of examples from my own career where we have borrowed foreign cars, loaded them on our line, and sent them in the wrong direction away from the owning road. We've done this by calling the owning road and horse-trading with them, or sometimes we just ignored the car-service rules and ignored the fine that might result because we were desperate for empties, and sometimes just in error because a trainmaster or conductor wasn't paying attention and just grabbed the nearest empty car.

I've also seen lumber brokers get the market wrong and redirect a car they thought would, say, find a market in Denver to a market in Pittsburgh.  And take a huge bath on it. They don't do that very often and stay in business, though.  That could also explain an unusual car that is a long, long, away from home. 

Almost anything in railroading is done once.  

Mark Hemphill


greg kennelly
 

Garth,

I would support your interpretation. According to a number of CPR historians here in the Vancouver, BC area, the CP would routinely send empty US road cars up to Squamish on the barge (Car Service Rule 4 notwithstanding) to be loaded with lumber from mills on the PGE for delivery to US consignees.

Economically, this makes sense for the CPR. Instead of shoving the car onto the GN interchange track, they put it on the barge (i.e on the PGE); PGE gets stuck with the per diem charges while it transports the car up to Squamish then hauls it up the line to the mill to be loaded, moves it back to Squamish, and back to the CPR via the barge. CPR unloads the barge, moves the car to the GN before midnight (thus avoiding the per diem charge), and the car is then on its way with a shipment that takes it in the general direction of its home road, earning money for everyone that handles it while it is loaded. If the load happens to be destined for somwhere further East, then the CPR benefits even more as they can increase their portion of the total mileage.

Cheers,
Greg Kennelly




Garth Groff wrote:

"I'm thinking that the phrase means that PGE cars were to be routed to
direct connections and no further. If so, you would be unlikely to see a
PGE car in California during our era. Instead, the PGE would likely have
provided their shipper a car from a connecting Canadian road."


lstt100
 

Car Service Rules did allow the backhauling of empties providing there was an order on hand with the agent at the loading location specifying a routing to, via, or in the direction of the owner.

Dan Holbrook


Greg Martin
 

Mark Hemphill writes: 

"It would have to be some very special lumber to compete on cost including transportation, for PGE-originated lumber in distant markets.  It would not be a framing grade of Western Hemlock or Douglas-fir or some Spruce-Pine-Fir grade unless the mill was just giving it away; the rail transportation costs in the Steam Era made it rare to be able to rail lumber from the PNW beyond Chicago and compete effectively with Southern Yellow Pine.  And in the 1930s, Weyerhaeuser developed its own giant lumber warehouse, distribution, planing, and millwork centers in Baltimore and Newark using its own coast-wise shipping line that avoided the whole cost-of-rail problem completely, competing effectively with all-rail Southern Yellow Pine from the Southeast. See this for a capsule history: http://www.wsl.com/WestwoodShipping_History.aspx  So yes, you could find a lot of Douglas-fir being used in the Northeast in construction, but it didn't get there very often by rail."

 

"It would possibly be some fancy grade quarter-sawn clear Douglas-fir veneer or long boards. But there was plenty of that lumber in Washington and Oregon, so a carload from B.C. would have to leapfrog over them. (To add some detail to what Dave Nelson said earlier, a lot of lumber moved via coast-wise shipping from every port in Oregon, Washington and northern California to every port from San Francisco southward at lower-than-rail cost. After WWII, the whole cost-of-ocean shipping equation was upended, and the coast-wise lumber business declined rapidly.  There's an excellent history of this in The Rise and Decline of U.S. Merchant Shipping in the 20th Century, Rene De La Pedraja http ://www.amazon.com/Merchant-Shipping-Twentieth-Evolution-Business/dp/0805798269)"

  

"However, there are some unusual species/grades that do come out of BC, for special applications.  Yellow Cedar, for instance, virtually only comes from B.C.'s coastal range in commercial quantities in large, clear, book-matched veneer. I saw a carload of that in the mid-1980s for paneling for a university recital hall. It went all the way to Philadelphia to a specialty paneling and door manufacturer.  Then all the way back to Alaska, in containers, for a University of Alaska recital hall.  Kind of expensive, but it was really pretty."

"How do we know the PGE car we see at a distant location was loaded on PGE? &nb sp;I have plenty of examples from my own career where we have borrowed foreign cars, loaded them on our line, and sent them in the wrong direction away from the owning road. We've done this by calling the owning road and horse-trading with them, or sometimes we just ignored the car-service rules and ignored the fine that might result because we were desperate for empties, and sometimes just in error because a trainmaster or conductor wasn't paying attention and just grabbed the nearest empty car."

I've also seen lumber brokers get the market wrong and redirect a car they thought would, say, find a market in Denver to a market in Pittsburgh.  And take a huge bath on it. They don't do that very often and stay in business, though.  That could also explain an unusual car that is a long, long, away from home. 

Almost anything in railroading is done once.  

Mark Hemphill"
 
My only comment to Mark's message would be that the lumber futures on the Chicago Mercantile was based on FOB mill price plus Chicago rail freight regardless of specie. 
 
The vast majority of lumber on the west coast was shipped over Chicago to the markets on the eastern seaboard.  Some species like Southern Yellow Pine and Eastern Green Spruce had reputation issues that took years to overcome for framing lumber. Remember to find a mill that cut lumber longer than twenty feet (in the scope of this list) you had to come to the west coast.
 
Specialty species like Alaskan Yellow Cedar or Coastal BC Yellow Cedar were much like that of Redwood and Port Oford Cedar and were just that expensive and specialty. To see them used in the east was to find them in the finest institutions and businesses.
 
Barge freight to the east coast was an option if you didn't mind paying for an item (ADI ADF) you wouldn't mind seeing for two months. That tied up a lot of capitol and inventory for sometime, but it was and still is done. Missed markets with this kind of inventory could ruin your P&L for the quarter.
 
Just remember as one of the early founders of the Forest City Companies told me, "if there was no market we would often roll cars on Monday and create a market by Friday."  Speculation was all part of the game and as they will tell you. "your first loss is your best loss..."  Hopefully that doesn't happen often at all.
 
Rail cars of lumber over the Rockies and the great plains is a pleasant site. Many of the cars traveled on slow freights that allowed the consignees to get off their position in route to Chicago.
 
Greg Martin  


Dennis Storzek
 




---In STMFC@..., <timboconnor@...> wrote :


That may be so Garth, but once a PGE car went to, say, the Canadian National, it
might end up in Portland Maine on the Grand Trunk, or any number of other places.
It's highly doubtful that other railroads would pay special attention to a very
ordinary PGE box car. The cars wore standard stencils, which were only required
for cars in unrestricted interchange.
========================

I think you guys are missing the point, as I read it, that statement in the ORER was equivalent to "on line only," except the PGE had made a separate agreement with CP for "switching" (read: local delivery) service in the Vancouver area. I don't think the CP wanted the cars on their greater system, either. My guess, and it's just a guess, is the issue was brakes, and possibly trucks. I don't think the PGE ever spent the money to upgrade their older cars to AB brake. Perhaps there's a PGE historian on the list who can add more.

My impression of the PGE in the WWII era is that they were exceedingly "frugal". As cheap as the Duluth South Shore & Atlantic was, when they finally retired their wooden sleepers in the mid thirties, one of the cars went up north for further service on the FGE.

Dennis Storzek


Ian Cranstone
 

On 2015-09-02, at 4:29 PM, railsnw@... [STMFC] wrote:
 

I know the PGE bought a large amount of ex-Central of New Jersey 40' steel boxcars but I don't know if these were for online use or for interchange.

I'm assuming for interchange, given that these cars were numbered PGER 3045-3099 & PGER 20500-24499 (PGER reporting marks were for international use), but these cars weren't acquired until 1974.


devansprr
 

Greg,

Something must have changed after the era of this list. (Sorry for the out of era content.)

I bought a Lindal Cedar home kit in 1990, and the plan review and building inspectors in Fairfax County, VA were totally freaked out by the use of SPF framing lumber - all they knew was southern yellow pine. I had to educate them on SPF ratings, which if I recall were slightly lower than SYP. IIRC it delayed my plan approvals by a month. Fairfax county is one of the east coast's most heavily suburban counties - with lots of residential construction - so the plan reviewers were seeing a lot of plans come through - but apparently all SYP.

Kit came by Piggy-back from Washington state to Alexandria, VA. I would note that the building inspectors, outside of the SPF stamp, were very impressed with the quality of the lumber - better than most of the SYP they encountered.

For STMFC content, a 1942 ICC traffic summary shows the Southern district loading 417k carloads of "Lumber, shingles, and lath", while the western district loaded 573k carloads. The eastern district terminated 439k carloads, but only originated 79k carloads, so clearly there was lumber traffic into the east from the south.

But the US as a whole originated 1,068k carloads, yet terminated 1,243k carloads, so one would guess that around 170k carloads a year were imported from Canada (assuming Mexico was not a source of lumber.) Perhaps mostly into the east?

That is because the termination by district data suggest a WWII modeler may have very different traffic flows than a post WWII modeler - in 1942 the western district terminated almost as many loads of lumber (537k) as it originated.  During WWII the southern district was the major net exporter of lumber (more than Canadian imports) - but that makes sense because lumber was being used for war-time construction - not residential construction, so it was headed in different directions. I wonder how many carloads went into each blimp hanger on the west coast (still two beautiful examples at Moffett field in the Bay area).

So all of that EB lumber traffic on Mike Brock's layout may not be appropriate for WWII era traffic.

Illustrates an interesting point that post-war wheel reports and conductor books may be way off for WWII modeling, and vice-versa. Oil was obvious, but now it looks like lumber traffic flows were also very different.

Dave Evans

---In STMFC@..., <tgregmrtn@...> wrote :


My only comment to Mark's message would be that the lumber futures on the Chicago Mercantile was based on FOB mill price plus Chicago rail freight regardless of specie. 
 
The vast majority of lumber on the west coast was shipped over Chicago to the markets on the eastern seaboard.  Some species like Southern Yellow Pine and Eastern Green Spruce had reputation issues that took years to overcome for framing lumber. Remember to find a mill that cut lumber longer than twenty feet (in the scope of this list) you had to come to the west coast.
 
Specialty species like Alaskan Yellow Cedar or Coastal BC Yellow Cedar were much like that of Redwood and Port Oford Cedar and were just that expensive and specialty. To see them used in the east was to find them in the finest institutions and businesses.
 
Barge freight to the east coast was an option if you didn't mind paying for an item (ADI ADF) you wouldn't mind seeing for two months. That tied up a lot of capitol and inventory for sometime, but it was and still is done. Missed markets with this kind of inventory could ruin your P&L for the quarter.
 
Just remember as one of the early founders of the Forest City Companies told me, "if there was no market we would often roll cars on Monday and create a market by Friday."  Speculation was all part of the game and as they will tell you. "your first loss is your best loss..."  Hopefully that doesn't happen often at all.
 
Rail cars of lumber over the Rockies and the great plains is a pleasant site. Many of the cars traveled on slow freights that allowed the consignees to get off their position in route to Chicago.
 
Greg Martin  </ div>


Mikebrock
 

Dave Evans, apparently dreaming about the future, says:

"Something must have changed after the era of this list. (Sorry for the out of era content.)

"I bought a Lindal Cedar home kit in 1990, and the plan review and building inspectors in Fairfax County, VA were totally freaked out by the use of SPF framing lumber - all they knew was southern yellow pine. I had to educate them on SPF ratings, which if I recall were slightly lower than SYP. IIRC it delayed my plan approvals by a month. Fairfax county is one of the east coast's most heavily suburban counties - with lots of residential construction - so the plan reviewers were seeing a lot of plans come through - but apparently all SYP."

"For STMFC content, a 1942 ICC traffic summary shows the Southern district loading 417k carloads of "Lumber, shingles, and lath", while the western district loaded 573k carloads. The eastern district terminated 439k carloads, but only originated 79k carloads, so clearly there was lumber traffic into the east from the south."

"That is because the termination by district data suggest a WWII modeler may have very different traffic flows than a post WWII modeler - in 1942 the western district terminated almost as many loads of lumber (537k) as it originated. During WWII the southern district was the major net exporter of lumber (more than Canadian imports) - but that makes sense because lumber was being used for war-time construction - not residential construction, so it was headed in different directions."

Well, I would suggest that different yrs during WW2 might have generated different traffic patterns as well. Consider the example of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. During 1941 it was not there. The only lumber present was growing on trees. By the end of 1943 about 75,000 people lived there [ including...uh...me ]. The city, itself, was built in about 2 yrs including residential by the feds consuming an area of the same size as Memphis. This city was spread all over a geographical entity known as Black Oak Ridge. Amazingly, a wooden boardwalk, including bridges when needed, was built behind the houses instead of in front next to the streets. Add to that the three enormous nuclear plans also built in about a yr. The L&N served the city and I think 2 plants...X-10 and Y-12...while Southern served the huge K-25 facility. Anything that this operation [The Manhattan Project ] needed, they got. To emphasize the consumption of stuff...certainly lumber...people working there would note that a lot of stuff went there but nothing ever came out.

Surely there were other examples of the needs of the military during its expansion from a third world sized force to the world's largest [ including its supporting facilities...like Oak Ridge ]. So, yes, WW2 would have had some impact on traffic patterns...certainly it did in east Tennessee.

"So all of that EB lumber traffic on Mike Brock's layout may not be appropriate for WWII era traffic."

Well, it might well be that east bound lumber may have been shipped a bit further south.

Mike Brock


John Barry
 

During the war, ODT and the military worked closely with the AAR and the railroads to alleviate port congestion and keep the entire rail network fluid.  They re-routed cars and established embargos to make that happen.  The inside gateway and SP's Valley lines saw in increase of through traffic to avoid the Bay area choke points.  If traffic were headed east of the Rockies, they made a concerted effort to make sure it was routed around, not through California.  I have to find my California RR commission reports for the war years.  I know I have the ATSF and SP.  I just don't recall if I pulled the GN and WP.  
 
John Barry 
 ATSF North Bay Lines 
 Golden Gates & Fast Freights 

 707-490-9696 

 PO Box 44736 Washington, DC 20026-4736



From: "'Mike Brock' brockm@... [STMFC]"
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Thursday, September 3, 2015 12:03 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Pacific Northwest Lumber Traffic

 
Dave Evans, apparently dreaming about the future, says:

"Something must have changed after the era of this list. (Sorry for the out
of era content.)

"I bought a Lindal Cedar home kit in 1990, and the plan review and building
inspectors in Fairfax County, VA were totally freaked out by the use of SPF
framing lumber - all they knew was southern yellow pine. I had to educate
them on SPF ratings, which if I recall were slightly lower than SYP. IIRC it
delayed my plan approvals by a month. Fairfax county is one of the east
coast's most heavily suburban counties - with lots of residential
construction - so the plan reviewers were seeing a lot of plans come
through - but apparently all SYP."

"For STMFC content, a 1942 ICC traffic summary shows the Southern district
loading 417k carloads of "Lumber, shingles, and lath", while the western
district loaded 573k carloads. The eastern district terminated 439k
carloads, but only originated 79k carloads, so clearly there was lumber
traffic into the east from the south."

"That is because the termination by district data suggest a WWII modeler may
have very different traffic flows than a post WWII modeler - in 1942 the
western district terminated almost as many loads of lumber (537k) as it
originated. During WWII the southern district was the major net exporter of
lumber (more than Canadian imports) - but that makes sense because lumber
was being used for war-time construction - not residential construction, so
it was headed in different directions."

Well, I would suggest that different yrs during WW2 might have generated
different traffic patterns as well. Consider the example of Oak Ridge,
Tennessee. During 1941 it was not there. The only lumber present was growing
on trees. By the end of 1943 about 75,000 people lived there [
including...uh...me ]. The city, itself, was built in about 2 yrs including
residential by the feds consuming an area of the same size as Memphis. This
city was spread all over a geographical entity known as Black Oak Ridge.
Amazingly, a wooden boardwalk, including bridges when needed, was built
behind the houses instead of in front next to the streets. Add to that the
three enormous nuclear plans also built in about a yr. The L&N served the
city and I think 2 plants...X-10 and Y-12...while Southern served the huge
K-25 facility. Anything that this operation [The Manhattan Project ] needed,
they got. To emphasize the consumption of stuff...certainly lumber...people
working there would note that a lot of stuff went there but nothing ever
came out.

Surely there were other examples of the needs of the military during its
expansion from a third world sized force to the world's largest [ including
its supporting facilities...like Oak Ridge ]. So, yes, WW2 would have had
some impact on traffic patterns...certainly it did in east Tennessee.

"So all of that EB lumber traffic on Mike Brock's layout may not be
appropriate for WWII era traffic."

Well, it might well be that east bound lumber may have been shipped a bit
further south.

Mike Brock




Chuck Soule
 

< Mark Hemphill wrote:

< And in the 1930s, Weyerhaeuser developed its own giant lumber warehouse, distribution, < planing, and millwork centers in Baltimore and Newark using its own coast-wise shipping < line that avoided the whole cost-of-rail problem completely, competing effectively with       < all-rail Southern Yellow Pine from the Southeast. See this for a capsule history: History

 

I followed the link to look at the time line. Lo and behold, it shows, in 1942, the sinking of the SS Heffron by a U-boat or mines.  My first grade teacher's husband was the captain.  He survived - miraculously, given that it was off Iceland.

Back to something closer to topic - Many of the people on this list are probably familiar to some degree with the steam schooner traffic that ran up and down the West Coast carrying lumber, and provided substantial competition to the rail traffic.  One of the larger steamers in coastal service was the SS Lake Frances, a "Laker" built during WW 1.  It sailed between Washington and California between 1926 and 1946. I understand from a friend of my parents that it frequently called at the Dickman Lumber Co. in Tacoma.

For those who are looking for ship models to add to the layout, Sylvan Scale Models makes a model of a Laker in HO and N - 1082

 


It is smaller than many steel steamships, although it will still be 36 inches in HO -  just about as long as a sailing ship model like the Cutty Sark.

Chuck Soule