The Headquarters Logger and the Night Logger, trains 885 and 886
By the late 1960's, the Camas Prairie Railroad was largely an empties in and loads out railroad. There were some inbound loads, primarily to support the massive Potlatch paper and tissue mills at Lewiston, but the vast majority of loaded cars (called commercials by the railroad) left the Camas Prairie Railroad, to locations across the country. The exception was the movement of saw logs to the sawmill at Lewiston.
The fourth subdivision, a 40-mile line, ran from Orofino to Headquarters. The line traversed an uphill ruling 2.2% grade for the first 28 miles, climbing right out of Orofino. The grade leveled out at Nelson, just west of Jaype. From Jaype to Revling the line was relatively flat before ascending another 4 miles to the aptly named Summit. From Summit, the line descended the final 6 miles down a 2.2% grade into Headquarters.
Potlatch Forests Clearwater sawmill at Lewiston received most of its saw logs from the drainages along the north fork and middle fork of the Clearwater River. About half the logs that supplied the Lewiston mill came from the spring log drive that originated high up along the north fork of the Clearwater river, some 100 miles from Lewiston.
Logs were decked out along the riverbank during the winter and early spring. In late spring, when the river was at its highest, the logs were dumped into the river and driven to the mill. The other half of the logs supplying the Lewiston Mill came from the other side of the mountains, east of the north fork of Clearwater. The logs were transported to a large log reloading point at Headquarters, ID, named for its position as Potlatch's center of logging operations in the area.
|This mid 1970's aerial view of Headquarters shows the log sorting area and spur tracks used for loading logs. Photographer unknown.|
In 1965, Potlatch Forests opened a plywood mill at Jaype, ID, that also had a sorting operation. Both of these locations were sources of railroad-transported logs. These logs were sorted into at least three types: peelers, for plywood; saw logs, for dimensional lumber; and, chipper logs, for wood chips.
In 1967, the Camas Prairie Railroad transported logs from Headquarters and Jaype to Lewiston using two locals. These trains operated six days a week, with Sunday off. The Headquarters Logger originated at Orofino, making a turnaround trip to Headquarters.
The Headquarters Logger usually departed Orofino early in the morning, handling as many as 100 empty log cars and a small number of boxcars. The boxcars and some of the empty log cars were for Jaype on the way to Headquarters. After setting these cars out at Jaype, the balance was hauled to the reload at Headquarters. The Logger returned to Orofino, stopping at Jaype to pick up additional logs and carloads of plywood from the Potlatch Jaype mill.
Train lengths westward from Summit to Orofino were limited to 85 cars due to the steepness of the grade. The Logger often arrived in Orofino with the crew having been on duty at least 12 hours. The crew pulled the train into the yard separating the caboose and parking the power on the house track behind the Orofino depot.
The second local in this relay was train 886, the Night Logger. 886 departed the yard at Lewiston in the late afternoon, making an Orofino turn and a connection with the Headquarters Logger. 886 took empty log cars and empty boxcars upriver to Orofino, leaving the empties for the next day’s Headquarters Logger, and returning to Lewiston with loaded log cars and boxcars of plywood.
The loaded log cars were cut off at Forebay, along side of the millpond supplying the Lewiston sawmill. The boxcars were either left in the Forebay yard or brought up to the East Lewiston freight yard for the connection with 859, the Downriver train or NP 662, The Highball.
Based on the timing of the Night Logger’s arrival back in Lewiston, the commercial traffic handled could not have made the connection to the same day’s 859 and would have been hard pressed to make 662, due in to Lewiston about an hour and a half after the Night Logger arrived. Therefore the cars of plywood from Jaype dwelled in the yard for close to 24 hours before departing on connections to the UP or NP.