Short Wood (Pulpwood) Hauler

In the South, pulpwood is commonly known as short wood to the people in the business, especially with railroaders. The pulpwood industry was significant and vibrant throughout the South until recent years. I used to see car after car of these loads on lines such as the Illinois Central, the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio, and the Louisville and Nashville.

And very common, especially in small towns, were the trucks used to haul the short wood to the rail-side for loading. Virtually all were rather old and beat up, and no two were exactly alike. They were most often “home-made” adaptations, frequently on a truck that had it’s originally bed or box removed, and having been modified for the purpose of hauling wood.

In the spring of 1995, Ron Findley and I were making our way up north following the railroad tracks along Hwy. 51 from Hammond, Louisiana and up toward Mississippi. We spotted this hauler in Summit, Mississippi, just north of McComb. This tired and decrepit old machine is about the most pitiful of all I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen some pitiful examples!). These vehicles were almost always grossly overloaded with regard to weight. And this old fella appears to have a broken back.

Pulpwood Truck - Summit, MS
This truck is a relative “heavy-weight”, with its twin axles at the rear. It appears to be a 6×6. Note the crane behind the cab to enable it to load/unload much larger diameter logs, and to higher heights. Without that, you’re limited to a log one can handle by manpower alone.
Pulpwood Truck Rear View
I believe this track is where the short wood was loaded onto the railcars. Seen on the ground just across the track is an example of the pulpwood logs, typically five feet in length. The white building in the background is the Summit Town Hall.

3 thoughts on “Short Wood (Pulpwood) Hauler

  1. South East Oklahoma has had the same back around 1995 when I drove for a medical company.
    The trucks parked around towns at night.
    Road legal? Not always. LOL
    The T.O.&E. ran night runs around Valliant, OK.

  2. While perusing my collection of photos of these old short wood haulers, I spied this image taken by Ron Findley on a day in 1999. This appears to be this same old workhorse still hauling the wood. The location here is Hazelhurst, Mississippi, about 42 miles north of Summit. The character in the photo would be me. 🙂

    Pulpwood yard at Hazelhurst, MS

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