This 1925 film highlights British Columbia’s logging railways. It features a 20-second black-and-white silent clip of a BC Electric flatcar being loaded, then a shot of a locomotive and train carrying large loads of raw logs. The train then moves out on its way to a mill, passing a small station. In the old-time tradition of silent pictures, the film includes an intertitle about railways and lumber.
Logging railways were a widespread and important component of BC’s forest industry from the early 1900s until the mid-1950s. Although lumbering in BC did not begin in earnest until the 1850s, BC was producing half of Canada’s annual cut of timber by the late 1920s.
Logging railways were built for one purpose—to transport timber from the areas where it was cut, to a mill or to the nearest water body where the logs could be sorted and rafted to a mill for processing into lumber or related products. Reliable operation was essential, as large mills could not operate at maximum efficiency without a continuing source of logs. Because the logging railways were seldom built to carry general freight or passengers, few were operated under government charter. Most were built as temporary systems, designed to last only as long as the local timber supply, thus they differed considerably in construction standards and equipment from mainline railways such as the Canadian Pacific or Canadian National, or even the branch lines of these major railway companies.