Timber/Logging Railway Modelling

Puget Junction from MR, May 1966

Memories: Hillcrest Lumber

Hillcrest Lumber operated a number of geared locomotives on Vancouver Island. Climax #9, on static display c1991 when this photo was taken, inspired my early modelling, as did their mill.

Timber/Logging Railway Modelling

Sawmill Drawing While I now primarily model Queensland's sugar cane railways I've been interested in modelling timber/logging railways since the 1960s and have photos and other resources that may be of interest to other modellers. This site will gradually make some of them available as time and other interests permit.

It's been an interesting exercise* in 2020 looking back at some of the resources that motivated my early modelling and would hopefully have led to my building a narrow gauge logging railway or two. However, life brings change and when I moved to Australia in 1989 cane railways [mostly] replaced logging in my modelling interests.

Vancouver 1965

   *   The "interesting exercise" has included trolling through my collection of Model Railroader and other resources, tear-sheeting some articles for later scanning and sending the reminder to recycle, packaging books for the annual Lifeline Book Sale, etc.

Links within ZelmerOz sites
  • Narrow Gauge Railways
  • Sugar Cane Railway Modelling
  • Modelling the Railways of Queensland Convention
  • Rail Heritage Image Library
  • External Links

    Neranwood Tramway, Frank Stamford

  • Light Rail Research Society of Australia and Facebook Page
  • Narrow Gauge Downunder magazine
  • Forest Railway on Wikipedia: "A forest railway, forest tram, timber line, logging railway or logging railroad is a mode of railway transport which is used for forestry tasks, primarily the transportation of felled logs to sawmills or railway stations. In most cases this form of transport utilised narrow gauges, and were temporary in nature, and in rough and sometimes difficult to access terrain."
  • Timber railway lines of Western Australia on Wikipedia.
  • Modelling
  • James Sabol's 1965 NMRA Convention presentation From Timber to Tidewater (pdf file with illustrations); this convention handout was one of the initial 'spark plugs' for popularising accurate logging railway operations in North America (later published in the August 1966 Model Railroader magazine). Includes rigging drawings, logging practices and terminology definitions.
  • Logging layouts c1965 including Puget Junction, Vancouver (NMRA Totemland Convention, etc.): 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6. Puget Junction from May 1966 Model Railroader magazine.
  • Listing of selected Logging-related articles (pdf) from the NMRA Bulletin/Scale Rails/NMRA Magazine, 1965-2020. It should be possible to retrieve these articles from the NMRA Library (USA). Examples include John Labbe on Logging Camps (Sep 1975), Ken Schmelzer on Logging Camp on Wheels (Sep 1975), and Andy Hamilton on Trees (BC forest/modelling, August 1981).
  • My first logging trucks, as much for their very low cost as their modelling ease, were from Old-time log buggies, a March 1960 Model Trains article by E L Moore.
  • Sawmill Drawing Model Railroader and other modelling magazines helped popularise the logging industry with articles such as Charles Swanberg's (freelance Western Sawmill, November 1961), Jack Work on sawmills (Small Sawmills, June 1968 and Machinery, August 1968) and Lyle Spears on logging camps (Structures, August 1968).
  • Forest vegetation for modelling (MacMillan Park, BC Lower Mainland ): 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15.
  • "Nine Mile" bush tram, Prof Klyzir's On30 Australian exhibition layout from Australian Model Railway Magazine, October 2005; John Dennis photographer.
  • Abandoned N Rockhampton sawmill in 2004; Lynn Zelmer photo

    This now long abandoned sawmill was located near the Fitzroy River in North Rockhampton. Lynn Zelmer photo, 2004. Additional photo links below.

    Prototype     (Scroll down for Other Resources)
  • Abandoned sawmill, North Rockhampton 2004: overview, close-up.
  • 'Australian and New Zealand Logging Tramways - Differences from North American Practice', short paper by Frank Stamford: LRRSA or mirror source.
  • Bloedel Stewart & Welch Ltd, Menzies Bay Division, shay #11 (Lima 90t built 1929), wrecked 1949 Salmon River Canyon, Menzies Bay; Jack van Buekenhout Collection, unknown photographer: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8.
  • Campbell River/Elk Falls Ltd.
  • Chemainus/MacMillan Bloedel & Powell River, Chemainus.
  • Cowichan Valley Forest Museum, Duncan BC (Now known as BC Forest Discovery Centre; images, etc., from 1965-1978). CVFM small sawmill: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9. Jack Work museum dioramas: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5.
    Forest Museum Map
    Museum Brochure c1964 | Museum Map c1964 (pdf) | Digester: First 100 Years (1966) | Short article draft (1967).
  • Crown Zellerbach Co Ltd, Courtenay, BC Comox Logging and Railway #2 (2-6-2T) on plinth and detail 1964.
  • Hillcrest Lumber Co, BC Canada.
  • Ladysmith/Comox Logging and Railway Co, part of Crown Zellerbach Canada Ltd
  • Logging Safety: Alberta Workman's Compensation Board c1960, Safety Regulations Governing Lumbering Operations (1960); Know Your Rules, Logging, Saw Mill and Woodworking; and Safety Hats.
  • Logging Safety: British Columbia Forest Products Ltd, In the Clear; MacMillan Bloedel & Powell River Ltd, 1962, Standard Falling, Bucking, Scaling Practices for Logging Divisions.
  • North America's last commercial steam powered sawmill, Hull-Oakes Lumber Co, Monroe, OR
  • Port Alberni BC 'Old Two Spot' (two truck Shay on plinth in park), 1965: 1 - 2.
  • Rayonier 'End of an Era', c1960 booklet to commemorate moving to diesel operations from Shay and other steam locomotives (pdf file).
  • Small farm-type sawmill, west of Edmonton, Northern Alberta: (c1 - c2 - c3 - c4 - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6).
  • Small semi-commercial sawmill, Hahndorf SA
  • West Coast Railway (Historical Association), Vancouver BC, Crown Zellerbach #16 (2-8-2) at Vancouver Station (3/4 view), 1964: 2 - 3.
  • Weyerhauser Co: Springfield Maintenance and Mohawk Reload facilites, Oregon, 1987.
  • Other Resources -- Examples of what is available
  • Illustrated catalogue of saw mill machinery manufactured by the Phoenix Mfg. Co., Eau Claire, Wis., U. S. A (1896): Internet Archive or mirror source (21.2Mb).
  • Barnhart Log Loaders, NGSLG Nov/Dec 1993.
  • West Side 24' Flat (underside drawing).
  • 'Timber Marks', Bank of Montreal article, 1967.
  • From the Bush to the Bungalow: Silent documentary film (YouTube 9:52), hand cutting, SE Australian in the 1920s.
  • 8mm film of Hillcrest Logging climax locomotives #9 and #10 operating between Mesachie Lake and Lake Cowichan on Vancouver Island 1950s-1960s: 1 (4:34) - 2 (4:36).
  • Hillcrest Climax Steam Locomotive # 10: in regular service 1968 (2:33).
  • Rayonier: Rayonier Willamette #2 geared (Shay clone), Hillcrest #10 (Climax) and Hammond Lumber #17 2-8-2T at Mt Rainer Scenic Railroad , Mineral WA (5:43).
  • Hillcrest Lumber 36 inch gauge Shay #1: at BC Forest Museum (21).
  • Duncan, Canada logging museum and steam train ride with a 1910 0-4-0 (15:18).
  • Shay steam locomotives working in Vancouver BC 1968 (2:00).
  • Climax Geared Steam Locomotive: last run before overhaul, Puffing Billy Railway (Australia) 2001 (16:48).
  • Plywood Manufacture (1958): MacMillan Bloedel's Vancouver Plywood division, BC (no narration 1:56).
  • Manufacturing plywood boards: 1954 and 2017 (6:43).
  • Allison Logging: Coastal Logging in the early 20th Century on BC's Central Coast (29:44).
  • Redwood Lumber Industry: Northern California - 1947 (9:57).
  • 1950s Blair Brothers Logging: and Mill Operations, CA (31:54).
  • Logging Railroads of the Sierras: Pickering Lumber Corporation & West Side Lumber Co (18:59).
  • From Stump to Ship: 1930 logging film (27:56).
  • Brotherhood of the Broadaxe: hand hewn tie production in Wyoming (48:15).
  • Life of the Alaskan Logger: logging camp at Long Island, Alaska in the 1980s (1:13:25).
  • Forest History: 32 videos in channel.
  • These materials are provided for personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the authors, photographers or other copyright holders for any other use. The copyright and/or trademark rights of authors, photographers and other interests is acknowledged; any infringement is unintentional and will be corrected as soon as possible after being advised.

    Site/content copyright © A C Lynn Zelmer or as marked. Last updated: 6 March 2023 [lz]; e-mail: Lynn @ ZelmerOz.com