August 2, 1912|
Merced County Sun
Yosemite Lumber Co., is Now Sending Trains
Over the New Road With Logs For the Mill
The incline railroad which has been in course of construction at El Portal for more than a year is completed and has been formally opened to traffic, the first train load of logs being brought down from the timber belt yesterday and transferred to the Yosemite Valley Railroad and taken to Merced Falls, where they will be manufactured into lumber. The first train was composed of fifteen cars and each car carried in the neighborhood of 6,000 feet of timber. As soon as the railroad company receives its entire order of 60 logging cars from the factory, a train of thirty cars will be brought down every day. At the present time the trains will be composed of 15 to 25 cars every day. The second train, composed of 22 cars, came down last night.
The building of this incline railroad has been watched with much interest by lumber people all over the Pacific coast and many predicted that it would be a failure, because of the length of the incline, the great elevation that had to be negotiated and the heavy grades that had to be met. The incline is 8,000 feet in length, the top being 3,000 feet higher than the bottom of the grade. In other words the road is compelled to negotiate an elevation of 3,000 feet in a distance of 8,000 feet. All kinds of grades are encountered on this incline, one grade being as great as 86 per cent. The road, however, has proven eminently successful and is a decided engineering success. Nothing ever before attempted in the way of standard gauge railroads built for logging purposes compares with this. The incline is a standard gauge road and regulation standard logging cars, built especially for the Yosemite Valley Railroad, are hauled up this incline loaded with logs in timber belt and let down over the incline, being switched direct to the main line of the railroad at El Portal. From this point the cars are taken in train to the mills of the Yosemite Lumber company at Merced Falls.
The saw mill at Merced Falls has been completed, the machinery tried out and the entire plant found to be in splendid working order. The sawing of lumber will commence some day this week, Superintendent Eagan being now engaged in assembling his crew. This mill is probably one of the coast. It is absolutely modern in the best equipped saw mill plants on every particular, down to the minute in detail. It has a capacity of 150,000 feet of lumber every 24 hours. From the mill, railroad spurs run to the drying yards above the Yosemite Valley railroad, the distribution tracks being arranged so that a car carrying certain grades can be unloaded without having to be pulled all over the yards, there being separate divisions for all grades of lumber. Over $1,000,000 has been expended in the building of the incline railroad and the three miles of logging road that runs through the timber, and the big mill and its accessories at Merced Falls.
The opening of this lumber industry means much for the success of the Yosemite Valley railroad. While the success of this road has never been doubted by the people who financed it, yet this new business will put the line on a sound basis financially and guarantees its success. The travel and freight business incidental to logging operations of the magnitude of those which are now starting above El Portal is no small item to a railroad. While the Yosemite Valley tourist business has always been a source of revenue, it will be nothing in comparison to the business that will be handled for the logging and lumber people. As much of the heavy hauls will be all down hill pulls, the railroad expects to handle 30 car trains with one engine and a single crew. The logging cars are all equipped with Hercules bunks, which ???? are thrown with a lever when it is desired to unload them, the unloading being done from a track that skirts the bank of the river above the mills at the falls. Five cars can be unloaded at one time and it is estimated that an entire trained of 30 cars can be unloaded into the pond within an hour's time.
The town of Merced Falls is growing rapidly and is fast assuming city airs. The Yosemite Lumber company, aside from erecting its large mill buildings and accessories, is erecting modern and comfortable cottages for its employees who have families. All lines of business will be represented in the town. Electric lights, a water system and sewerage are all being installed. The building of this town will add materially to the assessment rolls of the county and the mercantile houses of Merced should draw a good trade.