Lumber Loads in the Transition Era


Jim Betz
 

Hi,

I'm getting ready to do several "flat cars with lumber loads on them"
and am having trouble finding images of actual loaded cars taken in
the transition era.
I model primarily "the railroads of the West Coast" - GN, SP&S, ATSF,
SP, etc. and one of the layouts I contribute to has a very nice (contest
winning) mill that ships out loads.

I know that most lumber shipped in the era was done in box/house
cars ... but I also know that during better weather months there were
loads of lumber shipped on flat cars - and I want to do a few of those.
I also understand that the preponderance of lumber shipped on flat
cars was for the larger dimensions.
I've found sites that either have a lot of pics of -models- of flat cars
with lumber loads (thanks for those, Tony!) ... or ... just a few pics of
actual prototype loads. (There are many more pictures available for
the later decades - but I'm finding very few for the transition era.)

I want to "get it right" (correct/believable). So my questions are:

1) Can you point me to pictures of actual loaded flat cars (Transition
Era prototypes please!)? My google searches didn't seem to yield
what I was looking for ...

2) What products/methods are you using to create your lumber
loads?
- Jim B.


Tony Thompson
 

Jim Betz wrote:

1) Can you point me to pictures of actual loaded flat cars (Transition
Era prototypes please!)? My google searches didn't seem to yield
what I was looking for ...


   There are quite a few of SP cars in my Volume 3 in the series, Southern Pacific Freight Cars.

2) What products/methods are you using to create your lumber
loads?


      I really like the Owl Mountain load kit. I reviewed it and showed an application in my blog: 


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





Allen Montgomery <sandbear75@...>
 

The first place I would go to is Owl Mountain Models. Jason has done a terrific job with trans era lumber loads. I have four of the kits and want to buy more.
My favorite pic is on page 90 of Tony Thompsons SP official color photography book Vol 1. There a thousand words in that shot, I can tell you.
Allen



On Friday, December 18, 2015 10:11 AM, "jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
Hi,

I'm getting ready to do several "flat cars with lumber loads on them"
and am having trouble finding images of actual loaded cars taken in
the transition era.
I model primarily "the railroads of the West Coast" - GN, SP&S, ATSF,
SP, etc. and one of the layouts I contribute to has a very nice (contest
winning) mill that ships out loads.

I know that most lumber shipped in the era was done in box/house
cars ... but I also know that during better weather months there were
loads of lumber shipped on flat cars - and I want to do a few of those.
I also understand that the preponderance of lumber shipped on flat
cars was for the larger dimensions.
I've found sites that either have a lot of pics of -models- of flat cars
with lumber loads (thanks for those, Tony!) ... or ... just a few pics of
actual prototype loads. (There are many more pictures available for
the later decades - but I'm finding very few for the transition era.)

I want to "get it right" (correct/believable). So my questions are:

1) Can you point me to pictures of actual loaded flat cars (Transition
Era prototypes please!)? My google searches didn't seem to yield
what I was looking for ...

2) What products/methods are you using to create your lumber
loads?
- Jim B.



Garth Groff <sarahsan@...>
 

Jim,

If you have Tony's SP book volume 3, look on pages 213, 214, 225, and 249 for good shots of lumber loads on flat cars with bracing.

It is my understanding that the best quality lumber went into boxcars. While flat cars would have carried larger sizes, they also were used for lumber that was of lesser sizes but with a lower grade. All of the above photos seem to show this sort of load.

Yours Aye,


Garth Groff

On 12/18/15 1:11 PM, jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC] wrote:

 

Hi,

I'm getting ready to do several "flat cars with lumber loads on them"
and am having trouble finding images of actual loaded cars taken in
the transition era.
I model primarily "the railroads of the West Coast" - GN, SP&S, ATSF,
SP, etc. and one of the layouts I contribute to has a very nice (contest
winning) mill that ships out loads.

I know that most lumber shipped in the era was done in box/house
cars ... but I also know that during better weather months there were
loads of lumber shipped on flat cars - and I want to do a few of those.
I also understand that the preponderance of lumber shipped on flat
cars was for the larger dimensions.
I've found sites that either have a lot of pics of -models- of flat cars
with lumber loads (thanks for those, Tony!) ... or ... just a few pics of
actual prototype loads. (There are many more pictures available for
the later decades - but I'm finding very few for the transition era.)

I want to "get it right" (correct/believable). So my questions are:

1) Can you point me to pictures of actual loaded flat cars (Transition
Era prototypes please!)? My google searches didn't seem to yield
what I was looking for ...

2) What products/methods are you using to create your lumber
loads?
- Jim B.



Tony Thompson
 

Garth Groff wrote:

 

If you have Tony's SP book volume 3, look on pages 213, 214, 225, and 249 for good shots of lumber loads on flat cars with bracing.

It is my understanding that the best quality lumber went into boxcars. While flat cars would have carried larger sizes, they also were used for lumber that was of lesser sizes but with a lower grade. All of the above photos seem to show this sort of load.


   Usually the distinction was "finished" vs "rough" lumber. The latter of course was unmilled and, as someone said, "splintery."

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





Jim Betz
 

Hello my friends,

  FIRST - let me thank all of you who have replied/sent photos/etc.  I
DO appreciate the help.  Many of you have sent emails to me off
list and I want to thank those who have done that as well.

                                    ****

  As is often the case there are some follow up questions/topics for
further discussion ... and all of it revolves around the changes in
how open lumber loads looked as time passed.
  Here are -my- conclusions/observations (for which I'm looking for 
confirmation):
 
 1) In the 40's and even in the early 50's almost all of the loads 
      seem to all be the result of hand stacking.  By that I mean
      that the boards/beams have been put up "one stick at a time"
      rather than being stacked by any machine.  And both ends
      of the stack are "ragged" (not lined up at all). 

  2) In addition to that - the earlier the picture the more likely it is
      that there was a mixture of dimensions all pretty much just
      piled up ... the 4x6s were not stacked with each other etc.
        And some of those ragged end stacks seems to be 
      "intentional" in that we see some pictures that show "every 
      other board" that is stacked longer/shorter and where the
      ones that are short are all lined up with each other (more or
      less).  

  3) In the 50's we start to see more stacks that have just one
      end of each stack that is 'more or less' lined up.  Still obviously
      stacked one board/piece at a time ... but with some semblance
      of one end of the stack looking "square" (but only sort of).

  4) And there are frequent examples of loads in gondolas as
      well as on flat cars.  Also showing the same lack of the
      ends being 'square' earlier and going towards one end being
      more or less square - but still obviously hand stacked.
         But as time passes the use of gondolas for lumber tapers
      off.

  5) Almost all of the cars - both flats and gons have two 
      vertical 4x4s (other sizes?) outside of each stack, and then
      an open space in the middle of the car with two more verticals.
      And finally and the tops of these verticals are tied together with
      cross braces of approximately the same dimension. 

  6) What I also seem to be seeing is that there is a general
      increase of the likelihood that 'finished' lumber was shipped
      in open loads (as time passes).

  7) One last conclusion - it would appear that the lumber was
      also -unloaded- one piece of material at a time and by hand.
      It may have been to/from a truck or the forks of a loader
      but it was stacked onto and off of the RR car one stick at
      a time.  (Essentially similar to how box cars were loaded.)

  8) It is also of interest to me that it appears that the loads
      generated in the West were not significantly different from
      those generated in the East ... and that it didn't really matter
      a whole lot which RR the load was originated on.  The entire
      industry (nation wide) appears to have progressed along the
      same lines and more or less at the same pace.

        I'm going to go past the end date of this list to make some
      further observations - because they are important differences
      in order to distinguish what is 'right'/'wrong' for doing loads
      for cars that ARE correct for our era.
         Please ignore/skip the rest of this if you are so firmly
      locked into the STMFC era that you "don't want to hear it".  *G*
   
  a) In the 60's we start to see some loads that are obviously
      loaded using a fork lift.  Not only are these 'bundled' but
      both ends of the load are square and as we get to the late
      60's the loads tend to be 'all of one (or at most 2 or 3) size
      of lumber.
         In addition we see the introduction of metal banding of
      the sections of the loads.  And as time passes we see the
      use of cardboard to reduce the damage that the metal bands
      can cause at the corners.

  b) In the 70's we start to see loads being covered with tarps, etc.
      And in this same time frame we start to see 'load specific' cars 
      such as the center beams introduced.

  c) In the 80's we start to see what are known as "shed packs"
      where the entire package of the individual parts of the load 
      are wrapped in plastic (think "Jaeger loads").

                                 ****

  Do I have it "mostly right"?  Are there some errors or fine tuning
to the above that you would like to correct/add?

                                  ****

  It is interesting to think about the amount of -labor- involved in
loading and unloading lumber in the STMFC era!  It would appear
that the lumber mills shipped lumber in quantity that was not
sorted by side (the way it came off the line?) and that the lumber
yards would sort the boards when they received them!  That's a
small army of laborers compared to how lumber is shipped today.
It isn't horribly surprising - I said it is "interesting".  
                                                                                   - Jim B.


Tony Thompson
 

Jim Betz wrote:

 
      5) Almost all of the cars - both flats and gons have two 
      vertical 4x4s (other sizes?) outside of each stack, and then
      an open space in the middle of the car with two more verticals.
      And finally and the tops of these verticals are tied together with
      cross braces of approximately the same dimension. 


     Jim, there was an AAR loading diagram, which was regarded as close to mandatory, and it specified three, not two, side stakes per stack. Cross connections could be wire or smaller material than side stakes, and side stakes were sometimes saplings or poles, not dimension lumber.


  8) It is also of interest to me that it appears that the loads
      generated in the West were not significantly different from
      those generated in the East ... and that it didn't really matter
      a whole lot which RR the load was originated on.  The entire
      industry (nation wide) appears to have progressed along the
      same lines and more or less at the same pace.

      See previous comment. The ARA and AAR loading diagrams had been in force for many years prior to the 1950s.

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





Greg Martin
 

Just to clarify this a bit...
 
Generally we call it SURFACED and ROUGH. Finished was a term that was often associated with finished goods such as siding, profiles or mouldings.
 
Surfaced was material that came from the saw mill went through a planner in the planning mill to a nominal size (dressed is a common term) , green or dried (both different dimensions) with a set of specifications that were met and when done correctly it was considered "on grade" and if not they were "off grade". These specifications were standards set by the American Lumber Standards or ALS in the U.S. The standards were very specific in many regards to meet a specific grade of lumber.
 
Rough was a term for dimensionally sawn/milled lumber with a rough or sized texture to a dimension close to full width and thickness. Rough sawn lumber can in all sizes from lath to timber.
 
Greg Martin
 
Eventually all things merge into one and a river runs through it.
Norman Maclean
 
In a message dated 12/18/2015 3:22:56 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, STMFC@... writes:

 

Garth Groff wrote:

 

If you have Tony's SP book volume 3, look on pages 213, 214, 225, and 249 for good shots of lumber loads on flat cars with bracing.

It is my understanding that the best quality lumber went into boxcars. While flat cars would have carried larger sizes, they also were used for lumber that was of lesser sizes but with a lower grade. All of the above photos seem to show this sort of load.


   Usually the distinction was "finished" vs "rough" lumber. The latter of course was unmilled and, as someone said, "splintery."

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





richard haave
 

Seems I recall that Model Railroader had an article by (IIRC) Jack Work around 1959 on making open top lumber loads. 


Dick Haave


Jim Betz
 

Tony,

  Yes, it is/was 3 verticals per stack as you point out.  How easily I
missed that detail!  Our memory is a frustrating thing to loose -
actually this wasn't so much my memory as it was my lack of
-counting- and then when I was typing my post I didn't go check 
what I thought I'd seen.
  Thanks for pointing it out - it's actually something that, if my
memory serves me well, is one of the more common errors when
we are scratch building our loads (from memory).  :-(
                                                                                    - Jim B.


np328
 

 I fully support Tony's statement about the AAR recommendations.


  After reading much source material from the 1930's forward, including reports on wrecks caused by shifting lumber, the AAR recommendations had everything to do with safety and not so much with vandalism.

  Of the comment Jim B made prior about more lumber moving on flats in good weather, there was mention of this in the same AAR records I used for my upcoming Cocoa reefer presentation. However the AAR mention of this seems to be more of a demand driven need of the construction industry, rather than any weather shipping considerations.  

                                                                                                    Jim Dick               Roseville, MN  


caboose9792@...
 

 
 
In a message dated 12/19/2015 12:01:10 P.M. Central Standard Time, STMFC@... writes:
     Jim, there was an AAR loading diagram, which was regarded as c lose to mandatory, and it specified three, not two, side stakes per stack. Cross connections could be wire or smaller material than side stakes, and side stakes were sometimes saplings or poles, not dimension lumber.


  8) It is also of interest to me that it appears that the loads
      generated in the West were not significantly different from
      those generated in the East ... and that it didn't really matter
      a whole lot which RR the load was originated on.  The entire
      industry (nation wide) appears to have progressed along the
      same lines and more or less at the same pace.

      See previous comment. The ARA and AAR loading diagrams had been in force for many years prior to the 1950s.


 
 
Don't forget I currently have some of the diagrams in my collection available for free download. The following link gets the whole booklet:

http://palfan.us/galleryphotos/temp%20pages/AAR%20forest%20products%20open%20top%20cars%20supp1%206-15-54.pdf
 
Mark Rickert


Tony Thompson
 

Mark Rickert wrote:

Don't forget I currently have some of the diagrams in my collection available for free download. The following link gets the whole booklet:

    Thanks for the reminder, Mark. I knew about this resource you make available but forgot to mention it in my post.

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





Tony Thompson
 

Jim Dick wrote:

 
  After reading much source material from the 1930's forward, including reports on wrecks caused by shifting lumber, the AAR recommendations had everything to do with safety and not so much with vandalism.

      The Loading Rules did not start with the AAR, as I am sure Jim knows, but I want to make sure this is clear. I have before me a 1926 edition, from the ARA Mechanical Division. It states that Loading Rules were first adopted by the MCB as Recommended Practice in 1896, and advanced to Standard in 1908. Until the early 1930s (still as ARA), there was a single book of these rules, but then the various kinds of things to be loaded received more and more specialized rules, and there emerged a set of these books (for example, loading forest products), and by the 1950s there were at least seven of them. I have never seen a full list, nor do I know when they all started. But to give one example, Pamphlet MD-7 (suggesting there were at least seven) from the AAR in 1953 covers DoD material on open-top cars. My copy is stamped by the Post Transportation Office at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

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