Logging Flat Cars?

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by NIevo, Jan 29, 2008.

  1. NIevo

    NIevo Member

    Anyone have some good pictures or info about these logging flats used in the Pacific Northwest and possibly other parts of the country? Most look like they were built out of normal 40' and 50' flatcars

    I know most were of Union Pacific and Northern Pacific heritage but any other road names? Did Burlington Northern convert any?
  2. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Hey I see these things all the time. I was specifically inspired by a totally trashed flat car with bunks that I would drive by on my way to work. It was my prototype and I had good luck with it. What turned out to be unusual about my choice of prototypes was that it only had TWO bunks, not four like in these and most other pictures. So now I have five log cars, in various stages of bashing that all have two bunks and not four.. oh well, works for me.

    I In my talking and observation it seems that the log cars are retrofitted to this use and just about proto can be bashed to make a log bunk car.

    (My LHS has the white metal bunks in HO that work well. The instructions that come with them are specific for modifying a blue box flat car kit.)

    I bashed my first few cars without even noticing the directions in the pack, I also modified a tanker car, no tank of course, to be a log car...

    I went with 40' only. After talking with a logger here in the NW I asked him about log length and logging trucks. He said that typical non-pole loads on log trucks are under 35' so 40' flat car seemed just right. I also have a nice little HO Log truck that I trimmed down to this length and it looks just like the trucks I see on my way to work every day. That said, I do frequently see the "longer" pole loads, but these seem to require a pilot car and/or lots of flags.

    Thats my ramble for today.
  3. NIevo

    NIevo Member

    Yep, I have seen the two bunks as well but non were ran on this line in this time period. I am trying to keep mine to 40' and 50' as well simple because they look better on the tighter radius logging lines and most of the proto type cars were those lengths anyways. I would love to see some pictures of you model if you have any.
  4. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    I didn't realize you were seeking specific time/line sorry bout that..

    I went strictly with 40' as I was more concerned with how the logs looked on the log trucks hahah...

    I took after some of the converted flat cars with the dremel and cut out large portions of the deck. I would like to try something with the peal and stick wood decking Iv see at the LHS...

    Just this weekend, while traveling to Longview WA, I noticed a pulpwood car with bunks fully loaded with what Id guess were 35' or so logs..
  5. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    The cars that you have pictured are currently being used here in Montana and throughout the NW. Montana Rail Link has a bunch of them. I believe one of the 2005 issues of Timber Times Magazine had an article on Simpson Timber Co. operations at Shelton, WA that showed the same type of car.
  6. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Some of my flat cars

    Here are some pics of my flat cars.. Pics aren't so great, but not to bad either...

    I couldn't remember the max size before I resized.. so they are a bit small..


    Attached Files:

  7. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Also, FYIW, this is the first track I ever ballasted.. looks better in the pics then it does in real life.. cool..
  8. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    I would concur with Jim, Simpson is a household name here in Vernonia Oregon, which explains why I see those flat/bunk cars all the time in Longview (Nearest port).. FYI, Longview is an amazing modern river/rail logging port.. if your ever passing by on Interstate 5, go across the bridge into Oregon, head up the steep hill and stop at the overlook.. its quite a spectacular railfan view..
  9. NIevo

    NIevo Member

    Very nice, thanks for the pictures. I am waiting for some flats I just bought off eBay to start hacking away at.

    Your ballasting does look goodsign1 You have any other pics of your layout anywhere?
  10. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    Hacking the cars is fun.. note the difference between the red and brown flat cars in my last picture.. specifically, in the brown I removed the "boards" completely from the "frame" (its all formed plastic, but you can see the boards as molded) in the red I cut the holes through the boards.. its a small difference in work, but really makes the remaining boards look like they are 3D and are sitting on the metal frame. Also, remember not to cut out the truck mount post... I'm speaking from experience here :)

    As for the rest of my layout, theres not much to see.. yet... Its small 4X7 but has a good amount of switching.. Ill take some pics and post'em some where, here is my layout in design.. its built pretty much like this..

    Attached Files:

  11. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Somewhere, I saw a photo from the steam era on NP (I believe). 120' logs were being transported on 40' flats (!). Naturally, each log flat required two idlers. I recall saving a link to it, but now I can't find where I saved it... wall1
  12. NIevo

    NIevo Member

    Here is a picture I just took of the Walthers log cars I just got. They have the platform I am looking for but you can see how much shorter the bunks are. I wonder if these were actually modeled after a prototype?

  13. Dansco

    Dansco Member

    That red car does look nice. Is it a 50 footer? The four bunks on the green one look "too much overkill" even though I can see that most the 40' prototypes have four posts, it still doesn't "look right" to me

  14. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

    Dansco: The reason for the four bunks and uprights is because the cars are used for shipping short or irregular length logs. Nothing is wasted anymore. After the fires here in MT in 2000, we had a lot of fire damaged timber going by rail. All different lengths and condition.
  15. NIevo

    NIevo Member

    Actually, the red one is a 45' and the green one is a 40', so not really much difference. Thing that makes the green one look "off" is the bunks sit so much higher, thats due to the car riding much higher and the bunks themselves being much taller. The bunk height is correct for the prototype, but I need to take down the deck height on the car abit. Here are some prototype photo's.
    Camas Prairie
  16. Summit

    Summit Member

    To answer your original question...the type of log car in your picture is I assume the log car produced on and off by Walthers. It is based off of a Milwaukee Road prototype. Milwaukee had hundreds of these cars, and when they pulled out of their western extension in 1980 most of the fleet went to the Chehalis Western, an intra-state common carrier owned by Weyerhaeuser that took over a couple hundred miles of former MILW track in and around the Tacoma area, or the St. Maries River Railroad, a common carrier shortline owned by Potlatch that also took over a bunch of ex-Milwaukee track. Simpson also got some of these cars, possibly after the Chehalis Western quit in 1990.

    Here is a link to a picture of the prototype:

    Milwaukee Road Freight Car Photo Archives - Open Top Hoppers

    More pictures can be found by looking around the web for the Chehalis Western or St. Maries River Railroad. Oso Publishing published a book about two years ago titled Logging Railroads of Weyerhaeuser's Vail-McDonald Operations that has a good many pictures of these cars.

    Jeff Moore
    Elko, NV

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