Barnhard Log Loaders


The Marion Steam Shovel Company of Lima, Ohio, constructed a series of steam operated rail mounted log loaders for use by logging companies. A number of these were delivered new into Canada and a number of others may have been brought in second hand. The loaders, known as Barnhard loaders, travelled on rails laid on the railway flatcars which were used to transport the logs out of the woods. As each flatcar was loaded, the loader moved backwards until it came to the end of the car. It then hauled itself across to the next car by means of a U-shaped piece of steel channel. This process was repeated right down to the end of the train. This saved having to move the cars to be close to the logs to be loaded, and ensured that the loader was always in the right place for loading.

The following Barnhard loaders were built new for Canada:

Serial    Owner
1483    Haskell Lumber (Ontario)
1518    Mundy Lumber (British Columbia)
2538    F.H. Hopkins (Ontario)
2710    Foley Bros. & Northern Const. Co.
2936    Dennis Canadian Co.   (Ontario)
5610    F.H. Hopkins
5839    F.H. Hopkins

Serial numbers 5610 and 5839 were the last two of the 218 Barnhard loaders constructed and are shown as being built in 1926 and 1927. F.H. Hopkins was a dealer in mill and railway equipment and these may have been purchased on behalf of the Thurso & Nation Valley Railway which was being built at the time. Number 1483 is shown as going to Haskell Lumber in Ontario - this may have been a mistake in the list as Haskell operated the Salmon River and Northern Railway in Quebec.

The Thurso & Nation Valley had at least three Barnhard loaders. The third may have been the Haskell one as the SR&N closed down about the time the T&NVR was being built. The three T&NVR loaders were converted from steam to gas in the late1930s and were used until the late1960s when they were superceded by larger tracked machines that were not tied to railcars. Even then the superstructures were used as storage sheds right until the closure of the railway in 1986. These were located at mile 10, at Singer, and at mile 40.5. They were torn down when the rails were removed in 1987, except for the one at Singer which remains today.

To complicate matters, the Singer Company purchased serial number 955 new for its operation in Arkansas. The T&NVR was owned by Singer and it is possible that 955 also found its way to the T&NVR.

Any further information about these interesting machines would be very welcome.


A Barnhard log loader on the Thurso and Nation Valley Railway, stored at the old locomotive shop at Thurso, Quebec.  At the rear is TNVR's official Car 27 which was donated to the Bytown Railway Society in 1979.  The 1907-built car has been totally rebuilt and was moved to Ottawa in 1988.
Photo - author's collection
A TNVR Barnhard log loader being used as a railway crane, rather than moving over rails on the flatcar.
Photo Taken on 5 September 1971 by Paul Bown.

TNVR Barnhard log loader with a short train powered by 2-6-2 No. 2
Photo - author's collection.

Bytown Railway Society, Branchline, December 1990.

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