Point to point logging operations

Discussion in 'Logging, Mining and Industrial Railroads' started by ScottyB, Jan 29, 2006.

  1. ScottyB

    ScottyB Member

    I am contemplating a point to point logging layout and am stuck on a question:

    Did actual railroads run their locos backward coming down the mountain?

    I am guessing at many railroads there was no room to turn the loco around, so the answer seems obvious. But I was hoping someone could provide insight as to these operations. I am not sure what to do when it gets to the end of the line and has to come back...

    I suppose other alternatives are turntables or to add a small wye.

  2. liven_letdie

    liven_letdie Member

    There was variation even on the same stretch of track for the same company. Sometimes they would run backwards, other times they would back up the hill and be facing the right way on the way back. In case of the West Side Lumber Co they had balloon tracks and wyes in the woods to turn their locos. And then some lumber companies had switchbacks so sometimes it was forwards sometimes backwards =]. You can do what you want as long as your coupler height works out I guess. Good luck!

  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    On railroads with very steep grades, steam locomotives (including geared) would be set up to face the direction that ensured there was always water in the boiler over the firebox. This normally meant a steam loco would face forward going uphill, and come back down the grade in reverse.

    yours in gearing
  4. Drmsparks

    Drmsparks New Member

    Thanks Fred!

    I had thought about always kepping the engine on the downgrade side in case of run away but hadn't thought about water. That's a great detail!

  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    I was reading my July 1966 Model Railroader special on logging yesterday. The article stated logging railroads did not like to push trains up hill because empty log cars or disconnect trucks pushed so poorly. Sounds like a model railroad problem! So they would typically pull the empties up into the logging hills, and then reverse back down the hill with the loco on the downhill side of the load. Having the loco in reverse kept water over the fire box, and on the downhill side of the load prevented runaway loaded log cars taking out equipment, people, etc at bottom of hill. A derailed train was easier to deal with! Note that this pull up hill and pull down hill would require a runaround at each end.

    yours in logging operations

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