Utah Coal Route steel gons in log service


Claus Schlund \(HGM\)
 


David Soderblom
 

A lovely image with so much going on:

- Such skinny logs for that long ago; not old-growth at all, and with tangled branches.  Not worth harvesting for many outfits at that time.
- A recently constructed mill: the paint and roof lines are so tidy.  What’s the long diagonal building extension going to in the background?  It looks like a factory building with its windows on lower storeys, so many uses for the sawdust or scrap?
- Note how the top logs in the foreground car extend over the car end, coupler, and to the next car.  Not kosher, unless the cars were intended to be a single shipment unit.
- The steam crane at the far end: for unloading the cars?  Most sawmills had better means than that, although those were specifically for log cars, as opposed to gons, where the logs have ti lifted over the sides.  Was this a highly unusual movement, justifying the photo?
- Steam everywhere.  Talk about the steam era.  1930s, to judge by the cars to the right.

And the obvious question:  Why UCR cars?  Logs from Utah?!


David Soderblom
Baltimore MD


Todd Sullivan
 

The data about the photo that Bob pointed out says 1946 or 1947. 

I wondered about the use of the UCR gon in log service.  It probably came from the Salt Lake City area to the smelter in Tacoma with copper ore or concentrate, and was released empty.  An enterprising yardmaster needed one more gondola for a log loading on a branch his trains serviced, so he grabbed it and sent it there.  It came back with these skinny sticks for this mill.  Notice that the nice brake wheel is slightly dished the wrong way. 

I'm just finishing one of these UCR gondolas from Cory Bonsall, and needed a photo of the B end to see how the cutting levers were positioned.  Voila!  The photo Bob provided is perfect.  I have another much older photo that shows the A end.   Model photos in a few days.

Todd Sullivan 


Doug Paasch
 

Thanks Claus!  Awesome picture, and with the unloading crane with tongs, too.  I will be modeling log dumps on my layout and this photo will be a great reference on how log loads were secured in gondolas and type of crane used to unload them.

Doug Paasch


On Apr 11, 2020 1:59 PM, "Claus Schlund &#92;(HGM&#92;)" <claus@...> wrote:


Tim O'Connor
 


They look like Lodgepole pine logs. The Lodgepole grows like a weed in the northwestern
states and forms dense stands. It's not a Douglas Fir or one of the mighty Spruce trees
from the Olympic Peninsula (that grew well over 300 feet tall) or even Ponderosa pine,
but not all lumber needs to be high quality. :-)

Iron ore, coal, copper ore all came from Utah, and Rio Grande GS gondolas were often seen
in the PNW.

Also, logs and even wood chips can be economically moved from Wyoming to Portand and
Seattle. Lots of Lodgepole forest in Wyoming.



On 4/11/2020 8:06 PM, David Soderblom wrote:
A lovely image with so much going on:

- Such skinny logs for that long ago; not old-growth at all, and with tangled branches.  Not worth harvesting for many outfits at that time.
- A recently constructed mill: the paint and roof lines are so tidy.  What’s the long diagonal building extension going to in the background?  It looks like a factory building with its windows on lower storeys, so many uses for the sawdust or scrap?
- Note how the top logs in the foreground car extend over the car end, coupler, and to the next car.  Not kosher, unless the cars were intended to be a single shipment unit.
- The steam crane at the far end: for unloading the cars?  Most sawmills had better means than that, although those were specifically for log cars, as opposed to gons, where the logs have ti lifted over the sides.  Was this a highly unusual movement, justifying the photo?
- Steam everywhere.  Talk about the steam era.  1930s, to judge by the cars to the right.

And the obvious question:  Why UCR cars?  Logs from Utah?!


David Soderblom


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Bruce Smith
 

Dumb question... how does that "unloading crane" get to the closer cars? It would seem highly inefficient for the crane to unload a car, shunt that car somewhere, unload the next, etc... Now, the crane is most likely self propelled so it could do that... but it sure isn't efficient.

Regards,
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL


From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of Doug Paasch <drpaasch@...>
Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2020 9:39 PM
To: main@realstmfc.groups.io <main@realstmfc.groups.io>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Utah Coal Route steel gons in log service
 

Thanks Claus!  Awesome picture, and with the unloading crane with tongs, too.  I will be modeling log dumps on my layout and this photo will be a great reference on how log loads were secured in gondolas and type of crane used to unload them.

Doug Paasch


On Apr 11, 2020 1:59 PM, "Claus Schlund &#92;(HGM&#92;)" <claus@...> wrote:
Hi List Members,
 
A nice view of Utah Coal Route steel gons in log service...
 
 
Additional image data can be found at the link below...
 
 
Enjoy
 
Claus Schlund
 


Tony Thompson
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:


They look like Lodgepole pine logs. The Lodgepole grows like a weed in the northwestern
states and forms dense stands. It's not a Douglas Fir or one of the mighty Spruce trees
from the Olympic Peninsula (that grew well over 300 feet tall) or even Ponderosa pine,
but not all lumber needs to be high quality. :-)

      Tim has (probably unintentionally) garbled his statement a little. The 300-ft. trees on the Olympic Peninsula are Douglas fir, not spruce (for record spruce trees, visit Vancouver Island). Lodgepoles 100 feet tall would be a VERY tall tree of that species. As I said, this doesn't CONTRADICT what Tim said, hopefully clarifies it.

Tony Thompson




Richard Townsend
 

I’ve got to disagree with Tony here. The old growth Sitka spruce trees were absolutely huge. Both tall and thick. 


On Apr 12, 2020, at 11:19 AM, Tony Thompson <tony@...> wrote:


Tim O'Connor wrote:


They look like Lodgepole pine logs. The Lodgepole grows like a weed in the northwestern
states and forms dense stands. It's not a Douglas Fir or one of the mighty Spruce trees
from the Olympic Peninsula (that grew well over 300 feet tall) or even Ponderosa pine,
but not all lumber needs to be high quality. :-)

      Tim has (probably unintentionally) garbled his statement a little. The 300-ft. trees on the Olympic Peninsula are Douglas fir, not spruce (for record spruce trees, visit Vancouver Island). Lodgepoles 100 feet tall would be a VERY tall tree of that species. As I said, this doesn't CONTRADICT what Tim said, hopefully clarifies it.

Tony Thompson




Tony Thompson
 

Richard Townsend wrote:

I’ve got to disagree with Tony here. The old growth Sitka spruce trees were absolutely huge. Both tall and thick. 

         But the really tall ones were not on the Olympic Peninsula. BTW, Richard is right to mention how thick they were in old age. Some were 60 feet or more in circumference.

Tony Thompson




Todd Sullivan
 

What's interesting to me is that most of the logs in the log pond appear to be similar in size to the loads in these gons.  Perhaps the mill was using them for lumber, but maybe for chips or pulp for paper?  And there's that interesting tall building in the background which almost looks like it is connected to the log pond operation by a conveyor.

Also a thought about the crane at the far end of the gons.  It certainly looks like it is unloading the logs into the pond (notice the man on the log load dealing with the steel strapping).  If it is self-propelled, it could simply switch each empty gon out of the way and work on the next.  This was 1946 when processes like this were not always efficient as in later years.  On a model railroad, this could add some interesting activity!

Todd Sullivan


Dick Harley
 

Todd mentioned earlier about possibly a yardmaster snagging a single UCR car, but all four of those cars look very similar to me.  And I'd say that three of them are clearly lettered Utah Coal Route.

Cheers,
Dick Harley
Laguna Beach,  CA


espee4441
 

Most likely for paper and pulp as you mention. The "Aroma of Tacoma" mainly is no longer evident due to the major cessation of the mills. 

Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula has one too and they're on the last days of doing business if not outright closed. These mills always carry the distinctive smell and PT still has it. The MILW ran into and by this operation on its way to Port Angeles. As for logging the peninsula certain sections like the Duckabush must have been exceedingly challenging. I mtn bike the old roads and hillsides are incredibly steep. 

Tony Pawley


Tim O'Connor
 


Someone may have corrected you already Tony.

This is my daughter in 2011 in front of a 300+ foot tall Sitka Spruce, not very far from Forks, WA.


On 4/12/2020 2:19 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:
Tim O'Connor wrote:


They look like Lodgepole pine logs. The Lodgepole grows like a weed in the northwestern
states and forms dense stands. It's not a Douglas Fir or one of the mighty Spruce trees
from the Olympic Peninsula (that grew well over 300 feet tall) or even Ponderosa pine,
but not all lumber needs to be high quality. :-)

      Tim has (probably unintentionally) garbled his statement a little. The 300-ft. trees on the Olympic Peninsula are Douglas fir, not spruce (for record spruce trees, visit Vancouver Island). Lodgepoles 100 feet tall would be a VERY tall tree of that species. As I said, this doesn't CONTRADICT what Tim said, hopefully clarifies it.

Tony Thompson


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts


Tim O'Connor
 

When I drove down the Olympic Peninsula in 2011 we stopped in Astoria OR. There was a
large freighter (ocean vessel) being loaded with thousands of logs just about the same
size seen in the photo of the UCR gondolas. Even by the 1940's I suspect a high percentage
of the really giant stuff that was easily accessible to logging railroads had already been
harvested. Of course we didn't know then that cutting down so many would ruin the moist
cool microclimate of those coastal forests, and now they'll never grow back.

Tim O'Connor

On 4/12/2020 5:04 PM, Todd Sullivan via groups.io wrote:
What's interesting to me is that most of the logs in the log pond appear to be similar in size to the loads in these gons. Perhaps the mill was using them for lumber, but maybe for chips or pulp for paper?  And there's that interesting tall building in the background which almost looks like it is connected to the log pond operation by a conveyor.

Also a thought about the crane at the far end of the gons.  It certainly looks like it is unloading the logs into the pond (notice the man on the log load dealing with the steel strapping).  If it is self-propelled, it could simply switch each empty gon out of the way and work on the next.  This was 1946 when processes like this were not always efficient as in later years.  On a model railroad, this could add some interesting activity!

Todd Sullivan
--
*Tim O'Connor*
*Sterling, Massachusetts*


Tim O'Connor
 

Tony

Is the odor because of the sulfuric acid used in the production of kraft (brown) paper?
Or from some other chemicals, perhaps?

Tim O'Connor

On 4/12/2020 7:04 PM, espee4441 wrote:
Most likely for paper and pulp as you mention. The "Aroma of Tacoma" mainly is no longer evident due to the major cessation of the mills.

Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula has one too and they're on the last days of doing business if not outright closed. These mills always carry the distinctive smell and PT still has it. The MILW ran into and by this operation on its way to Port Angeles. As for logging the peninsula certain sections like the Duckabush must have been exceedingly challenging. I mtn bike the old roads and hillsides are incredibly steep.

Tony Pawley
--
*Tim O'Connor*
*Sterling, Massachusetts*


erieblt2
 

Logging continues, sometimes illegally. For example, stolen logs caused a landslide that destroyed a bridge on the former Milwaukee Main line (now a wonderful trail-with now a gap). I feel for the loggers. There is a sustainable lumber industry. It helps fund education in Washington State. Need to help those families, but there is no way to support modern mechanized lumbering. Trees can’t grow that fast. The old lumber railroads are fantastic. Be safe All Bill S.


On Apr 13, 2020, at 8:50 AM, Tim O'Connor <timboconnor@...> wrote:



Someone may have corrected you already Tony.

This is my daughter in 2011 in front of a 300+ foot tall Sitka Spruce, not very far from Forks, WA.


On 4/12/2020 2:19 PM, Tony Thompson wrote:

Tim O'Connor wrote:


They look like Lodgepole pine logs. The Lodgepole grows like a weed in the northwestern
states and forms dense stands. It's not a Douglas Fir or one of the mighty Spruce trees
from the Olympic Peninsula (that grew well over 300 feet tall) or even Ponderosa pine,
but not all lumber needs to be high quality. :-)

      Tim has (probably unintentionally) garbled his statement a little. The 300-ft. trees on the Olympic Peninsula are Douglas fir, not spruce (for record spruce trees, visit Vancouver Island). Lodgepoles 100 feet tall would be a VERY tall tree of that species. As I said, this doesn't CONTRADICT what Tim said, hopefully clarifies it.

Tony Thompson


--
Tim O'Connor
Sterling, Massachusetts
<Katy largest SitkaSpruce in the HohValley OlympicNatlPark 08-16-2011.jpg>


Tony Thompson
 

Bill Smith wrote:

I feel for the loggers. There is a sustainable lumber industry. It helps fund education in Washington State. Need to help those families, but there is no way to support modern mechanized lumbering. 

      Just like coal mining, lumbering today is extremely mechanized. Both harvesting and the lumber mills themselves only need to employ very few people today. The idea to "bring back" lumbering or coal mining jobs is just a fantasy.
        It can be fun to model lumbering in, say, the 1920s. Just don't think it has anything remotely to do with today -- except that trees are cut down.

Tony Thompson