View single post by jtrain
 Posted: Thu Dec 7th, 2017 07:47 am
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jtrain



Joined: Sun May 27th, 2012
Location: Missoula, Montana USA
Posts: 1007
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Books have been written on the subject of transporting logs, but generally:

Prior to the 1930's a lot of logging was done in the winter using sleds towed by horses to haul logs out of the woods to a rail line.  In places like Minnesota and Michigan, the landing spot would be on or next to a lake.

In the summer, "big wheels" were used to haul logs.  It's difficult to explain, but the big wheels had about an 8 foot diameter wheel on each side of an adjustable frame that moved to evenly distribute the weight of logs, which were slung between the wheels under the axle.

These contraptions were originally towed by horses, but also were used in the early days of tractors.

Then trucks came into play, mostly post WWII.

Most of the time, logs were loaded onto the train, which served as a long distance solution to transport logs from landing sites to the mill.  There were many narrow gauge logging railroads, but most of them were phased out before WWI.  The main benefits of narrow gauge was the cost and the ability to climb steeper grades using lighter track.  However, most outfits that survived past WWI became standard gauge to handle the high capacity of logs needed to feed the large mills.

It's important to note that there are no precise dates for when one technology was phased out and when one began.  Companies changed technology when they deemed it practical.  Even the logging railroads started to disappear post WWI and the trend continued until the 1950's.  Today there's only one logging railroad in all of North America, located on Vancouver Island.  If not for the extreme remoteness of the area, this railroad would be gone too, it just happens to be one warm line through the wilderness.

--James



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