Lumber Yard Monorail

Books, articles, magazines and movies/dvds about “old-time” logging operations cover all aspects of logging except one – the “mundane” operations in the lumberyards themselves. Before the days of straddle loaders and forklift trucks just how did the lumber move from the mill to the yard for drying and storing?

In the very early mill operations flat cars pulled by horses on railway tracks took the lumber from the sawmill. Steam replaced horses and electricity replaced steam. The “new answer” in some mills was the likes of what you can see If you go into the Roots of Motive Power Yard – electric driven cabs (photo left) and winches (photo right) that comprised part of a monorail crane system used by Pacific Lumber Company in their yard in Eureka. Union Lumber Company in Fort Bragg had a similar system.

Photographs of monorail cranes in operation are rarer than hen’s teeth. Left and right are photos of the Union Lumber Company (ULC) yard monorail showing the supports for the monorail. The photo right shows the ULC crane cabin and the crane itself lifting a stack of lumber.

Colin Menzies with the aid of club member Tony Phillips took numerous photographs and measurements of the pieces of the monorail crane in Roots of Motive Power and from them Colin created the model you see in the photographs left and right.

The model was carefully inspected by the Hank Simonson who serviced the “real thing” in the Union Lumber Company Yard in Fort Bragg and Hank opined that it was “100% accurate”.