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Steam & Excursion > The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!


Date: 09/09/19 02:48
The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: LoggerHogger

While many of us think that logging railroads continued into the 1960's and a couple past that time, that really is not correct in the strictest sense.  Those railroads that lasted past 1957 were railroads that carried logs brought to them from truck reloads.  That is not true railroad logging as we know it to be.

The very last lumber company who actually "logged" with their railroad, was the Long-Bell Lumber Company at their operation out of Vernonia, Oregon.  Here they laid track up to the very landing where the skidder or donkeys would drag the logs in from where they were cut down in the woods and load the logs directly on the log cars.  No trucks were involved in this operation.

Started in 1922 by the Oregon-American Lumber Company, this logging railroad shared trackage rights over the SP&S from Vernonia to Keasey and from Keasey it was laid for miles in the woods in the Oregon Coast Range.  Through its entire 35 year lifespan, the railroad followed in the tradition of the hundreds of railroad loggers that had preceded it.  No trucks were involved, they simply pulled up track when one landing was done, and relaid it again and again to new landings to bring the logs directly from the stump to the train and then to the mill.

Part of the reason that Long-Bell did not convert to trucks was the length of the logs they could carry on the disconnect trucks they used on the logging railroad as we see here in this April 19, 1957 photo of Long-Bell Willamette #106 taken by Jerry Hanson.  No log truck could carry log loads of this length.

Finally, in August, 1957, there were no more trees to cut and the show was over.  It was up to Long-Bell Baldwin 2-6-2 #105 to bring the equipment into Vernonia for one last time, before the scraper arrived.  Here we see #105 backing a train of now-out-of-work logging equipment in the yards at Vernonia on August 29, 1957 one last time.  Greg Kamholz was there to record this very last move of a true logging railroad in the Pacific Northwest.

The end came quick for most of Long-Bell's logging equipment and the railroad equipment too.  Just a month after Greg took his photo above, Richard Thomas visited the mill yard at Vernonia to see the scrapper half finished cutting up Willamette #106 where she last stopped in the yards when she came in from the woods the last time.  Parts of Long-Bell's 3-truck Shay #103 are also loaded in the gondola car just ahead of #106.

Thus ended the last true logging railroad show in this country.  The show was over.  And what a show it had been!

Martin

Fortunately, Long Bell's 2-6-2's #104 and #105 were both saved and still exist today.



Edited 12 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/19 07:15 by LoggerHogger.








Date: 09/09/19 03:14
Re: The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: LoggerHogger

Here we see the rest of #105's train of camp cars and other railroad logging equipment being parked in the Vernonia yards by Long-Bell #105 at the end of the logging railroad on August 29, 1957.  This is another fine photo by Greg Kamholz.

One only has to take one look at the last photo to know why logging railroads like Long-Bell's went out of business.  Using logging railroads gave the lumber company the ability to log vast quantities of timber in a fairly short time.  In the era of "Highball Logging" these railroads could allow the logging of dozens of acres of trees in a single day.  In this April 19, 1957 scene taken by Jerry Hanson, we see Long-Bell 3-truck Willamette #106 and a steam crane with a train of empty disconnect log cars in an area completely cut-over by the lumber company. 

It came as no surprise to the crews working #106 that day, that the end was near, as there would be no more timber to cut in just a couple of months.

Martin



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/19 07:16 by LoggerHogger.






Date: 09/09/19 08:06
Re: The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: BAB

Wonder what the forest looks like now?  Few understand that the regrowth took place and has been quite good.



Date: 09/09/19 08:30
Re: The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: asheldrake

GREAT history and pictures Martin......Greg was a very nice person and had some amazing seniority at BNSF.   The PRPA (SP&S 700) is now raising $ to repaint their former tool car that they have named in his honor for service to PRPA.   Greg's brother Ed recently passed away with a celebration of life event at the Tillamook Forest Center.

The World Forestry Center here in Portland has a set of loaded disconnects on display.      Arlen 



Date: 09/09/19 09:46
Re: The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: patd3985

LoggerHogger Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> While many of us think that logging railroads
> continued into the 1960's and a couple past that
> time, that really is not correct in the strictest
> sense.  Those railroads that lasted past 1957
> were railroads that carried logs brought to them
> from truck reloads.  That is not true railroad
> logging as we know it to be.
>
> The very last lumber company who actually "logged"
> with their railroad, was the Long-Bell Lumber
> Company at their operation out of Vernonia,
> Oregon.  Here they laid track up to the very
> landing where the skidder or donkeys would drag
> the logs in from where they were cut down in the
> woods and load the logs directly on the log
> cars.  No trucks were involved in this
> operation.
>
> Started in 1922 by the Oregon-American Lumber
> Company, this logging railroad shared trackage
> rights over the SP&S from Vernonia to Keasey and
> from Keasey it was laid for miles in the woods in
> the Oregon Coast Range.  Through its entire 35
> year lifespan, the railroad followed in the
> tradition of the hundreds of railroad loggers that
> had preceded it.  No trucks were involved, they
> simply pulled up track when one landing was done,
> and relaid it again and again to new landings to
> bring the logs directly from the stump to the
> train and then to the mill.
>
> Part of the reason that Long-Bell did not convert
> to trucks was the length of the logs they could
> carry on the disconnect trucks they used on the
> logging railroad as we see here in this April 19,
> 1957 photo of Long-Bell Willamette #106 taken by
> Jerry Hanson.  No log truck could carry log loads
> of this length.
>
> Finally, in August, 1957, there were no more trees
> to cut and the show was over.  It was up to
> Long-Bell Baldwin 2-6-2 #105 to bring the
> equipment into Vernonia for one last time, before
> the scraper arrived.  Here we see #105 backing a
> train of now-out-of-work logging equipment in the
> yards at Vernonia on August 29, 1957 one last
> time.  Greg Kamholz was there to record this very
> last move of a true logging railroad in the
> Pacific Northwest.
>
> The end came quick for most of Long-Bell's logging
> equipment and the railroad equipment too.  Just a
> month after Greg took his photo above, Richard
> Thomas visited the mill yard at Vernonia to see
> the scrapper half finished cutting up Willamette
> #106 where she last stopped in the yards when she
> came in from the woods the last time.  Parts of
> Long-Bell's 3-truck Shay #103 are also loaded in
> the gondola car just ahead of #106.
>
> Thus ended the last true logging railroad show in
> this country.  The show was over.  And what a
> show it had been!
>
> Martin
>
> Fortunately, Long Bell's 2-6-2's #104 and #105
> were both saved and still exist today.

Hi Martin! Great info as usual! Didn't Weaver Clark of Hillsboro have custody of the 105 for awhile in the late 50's early 60's? I seem to remember something to that effect. I believe he also had a small lumber mill out in the Brookwood area, east of Hillsboro. (If I remember correctly.)



Date: 09/09/19 10:06
Re: The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: LoggerHogger

Yes, Weaver Clark bought both #105 and #104 from Long-Bell at the end of operations.

Martin



Date: 09/09/19 17:27
Re: The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: agentatascadero

BAB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Wonder what the forest looks like now?  Few
> understand that the regrowth took place and has
> been quite good.

"Good" Depends on who is talking.  Clear cutting never was a good idea.....entire watersheds are devestated.  There is a huge difference between old growth forests and those which have received the clearcut treatment.

The profits were the largest doing it this way, poor old Mother Nature be damned!!

AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Date: 09/10/19 06:31
Re: The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: mjh1272

It's easy to sit in judgment of the past from today's perspective.  In the 20's, there was what seemed like a virtually unlimited supply of old growth Douglas-fir in the PNW .  Were we supposed to marvel at it and make it a two state national park?  True, we don't have the supply of large, old trees we used to have on private land, but to say that entire watersheds are devastated is a bit of a stretch....   just my two cents.  Thanks.



Date: 09/12/19 08:30
Re: The End Of This Railroad, Was Also The Very End Of This Show!
Author: sixbit

Actually, clear cutting in certain locations with certain tree species is a sound method of timber harvesting and has been proven so over decades. Coupled with the clear cutting however, the harvest methods protect streamside habitat and leave a certain number of "seed trees" as well as some dead (snags) standing trees for habitat. The average citizen looks at a modern timber harvest clear cut and is shocked, but 10 years later they would be amazed at the re-growth.

Many millions of acres of western forests have far too dense of stands of small diameter conifers that create a very high "fuel load" which in turns results in wildfires burning more frequently, larger and much more intensly. Those fires in turn pose exestential risks to wildland fire fighting personnel, air attack personnel and the people and communities within those watersheds. Additionally, research from multiple universities (U.C. Berkeley - school of forestry, U.C Merced - Sierra Nevada Institute, U.C. Davis - Watershed Science, are a few examples) have informed managers that dense stands use more water (evapo transpiration and sublimation of snow) and actually deplete stream flows downstream within those same watersheds.

Not all landscapes should be used for clear cuts, but some must be if they are to be properly managed. Modern management of private and public forests has advanced substantially even over where it was 35-years ago. Unfortunatley, many in some environmental groups replay the same old messages, distorting the truth, using legal challenged and administrative appeals to delay needed watershed restoration activities and conciously or not advocating for inaction which is bad for the watersheds, bad for the forests, bad for the wildland fire fighting personnel, bad for the people and communities within those watersheds and bad for the taxpayer. Last year the U.S. Forest Service spent the majority of its budget in wildland fire suppression and the funds to pay for that, were taken from other projects including meadow restoration, road retirement, erosion control actions and fuel load reduction actions.

Professionally managing forests is a science and not an emotional popularity poll by people too far from the resources to be at risk and uniformed about the facts.

John Mills



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