|View single post by Reg H|
|Posted: Wed May 13th, 2015 10:17 pm||
|The last operational logging railroad in the continental US is about to cease operations.
The Simpson Timber Co. has decided to get out of the lumber mill business.
The family will retain their timberlands under the Green Diamond identity.
The Simpson Timber Co. railroad in the Shelton, WA area has been around for 100 years.
I first started chasing it in the early 1970's when it ran from Shelton to the Grisdale dry sort.
About the mid-70's the line from Mill 5 (Matlock) to the dry sort was abandoned. Since then Simpson has run "water wood", which is timber that had been barged into Shelton, out to Mill 5 (which is a stud mill) with green studs coming back into the Shelton mill on the water front for kiln drying and planing.
Two years ago, as a result of an accident that left most of Shelton without power for a day, Simpson ceased operations out to Mill 5.
Since then operations have been limited to shuffling common carrier bulkhead flatcars between the water front mill, Park Street Yard, and Knight's Yard (1/2 block from my house).
Simpson has sold all of its mills.
They have retained ownership of the "railroad properties", probably because the purchaser of the Shelton mills (Sierra Pacific) doesn't want them.
Simpson doesn't seem to know what they are going to do with them, but it is a sure bet they will not continue railroad operations.
One of my inside sources says that, following the above referenced accident, the Feds (OSHA?) identified about $1.2 million in repairs to the track and bridges between Knight's Yard and Mill 5 that had to be done before operations could continue.
The mill employees were given a 60-day notice, but the word is that mill operations will shut down no later than the end of June and possibly earlier.
Sierra Pacific has stated that they will raze the old water front mill and build a new, state-of-the-art mill on that site.
The new mill is slated to start operations sometime in 2017.
Personally, I don't think they can get the permitting done by then.
No word on the fate of Mill 5.
This is a difficult time for our little town, and sad news for railfans.
There is a wealth of information on the railroad on the internet.
Just Google 'Simpson Timber Company Railroad'.