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Why logging ?

Logging tends to attract modelers who want "character" in their modeling. Much of the euipment - especially in the early years - was homebuilt with a make-do flavor and unique in appearance. Short runs and small yards with simple track arrangements are easier to model realistically in a limited space, and slow-running geared locomotives make a lap around the room seem longer. Combine this with spectacular scenery and it is easy to see what attracts a small but devoted minority to this branch of the hobby.

Transporting a single commodity from forest to mill may appear limiting in terms of operational interest, but there is much more to it. This was where the income was generated, but since the logging camp was a highly self-contained community, anything nedded to bring out the logs most often had to be brought in by the railroad:

  • Logging equipment
  • Supplies
  • Portable housing
  • Food
  • Water
  • Fuel
  • etc.
The lumberjacks had to be transported from their temporary camp to the logging site every morning and back again at nightfall. Occasionally an injured logger had to be rushed to hospital in a speeder. In dry California summers each log train had to be followed by a speeder whose crew located and extinguished all the small brushfires ignited by flying sparks from the train.

So operations on a logging show were far from a simple routine. For those who want to dig deeper into this subject, I have compiled a list of logging references.

Modeling ideas

Geared locomotives

Kitbashing the Model Die Casting Shay provides the most inexpensive way to model geared locomotives, and was a major reason why I chose to model in Sn3.

Rod locomotives

Before geared locomotives were developed, early logging railroads used small rod connected locomotives, often saddle tankers, and these lived on as yard switchers, maintenance of way duty etc. As the distances grew larger rod engines make a comeback for the long mainline haul, this time often in the shape of articulated "Logging Mallets".


Gas powered speeders were used in many roles on logging railroads: Hauling small freight consignments, taking loggers to work, fire patrol etc.

More modeling ideas..

I have collected a file of project ideas( updated August 22, 1999 ), kitbashing opportunities etc. In you have any suggestions for additions, please drop me an E-mail!

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Updated August 22, 1999 by Lennart Elg