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I have sort of been on a tangent with them lately as I was doing some research into early Michigan loggers, which naturally brought up the earliest logging lines which were operated by Porters pretty close to what K Line once made.

I have some questions I'm sure our knowledgable members will have answers to. Firstly, I was wondering both about the prevalence of homebuilt cars on lumber lines (like the Lionel "disconnect" four wheelers), especially homebuilt cabooses. How common were such homebuilt cars in real life? Following on to that question, I have seen some photos of lumber trains run totally without cabooses and read somewhere (wiki I think) that some lines ran like that with only hand breaks for breaking. How common was that practice, and what were the laws surrounding that vs laws for the big class ones?

Also, does anybody have good examples of how the interchange between logging line and class 1 was handled\structured? I've been able to glean that most of the lumber back in the day would have moved from the mill to market via boxcar (or possibly flat\gondola, depending on how finished the wood was) back in the day, but how far from the class 1's rails would a mill be? Would the mill have been built alongside a class one, which would have a switch job handle the boxcars? Or could it have been built some ways away and a logging crew have taken cars up to\down from an separate interchange? I'd love to know what kind of equipment and supplies a logger might want shipped in via interchange from a Class One too. Presumably supplies for logging camps and what not?

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It depends a lot on where you're looking at. On some logging lines, the trip from the area where logs were loaded to the sawmill was only a few miles. On other railroads, the trip could be much longer, like 60-70 miles.

Some logging lines connected directly to a larger railroad, others ended at a lake or river and the logs were floated to their destination that way. Here in Minnesota, one logging line brought logs to one side of Gull Lake, the logs were floated to the other side, and then loaded onto Northern Pacific flatcars for the trip to the Twin Cities for milling.

A railroad that interchanged with another railroad would have to follow all pertinent state and federal rules as far as equipment, some states mandated cabooses be a minimum length, have at least two four-axle trucks etc.

In Minnesota almost all logging railroads were 'common carrier' railroads, since their rail lines and other property was taxed at a lower rate than if it was a private railroad operation.

Keep in mind also that logging in the Great Lakes area was commonly done in the winter.

If the logging RR was/is not a common carrier, then the FRA laws would not apply       In the days that logging RRs were common, OSHA as we know it did not exist.    Safety rules would have existed maybe but much less stringent than we have today.   

Logging RRs have a reputation for building their own equipment.    Look for the book on the "Mann's Creek RR"  it has a lot of stuff on a narrow gauge logging operation.     There is some really crude homebuilt cars shown in photos in the book.     I think disconnect logging buggies would not be home-built however. 

As brakes, again the common carrier status is probably the most important.    I tbink if a common carrier, there may be a requirement for air brakes after a certain date.    If a private RR, then they could run with no brakes or hand brakes.    Obviously, in hilly mountain country, some sort of brakes were necessary.

I am familiar with steel mill RRs which in many cases are private RRs not common carriers.      And equipment that does not go into interchange service does not have to meet rules.   Many Steel mill operations bought old gons especially, and maybe flats for in plant use.    One of the first things they did was cut off all the brake rigging.    The plants were generally level and trains short, so engine brakes were enough.    And the big reason was that the stuff always needed maintence that they did not want to bother with.  

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