A Lineside Industry:

The Bernalillo, NM Wood Chip Loader

Sixteen miles north of Albuquerque by rail, Bernalillo, NM was home to a wood chip loader. By the 1980's, the operation was one of only a handful of shippers remaining along the original main line north of Albuquerque. I'm afraid I don't have much information about the operation, the origin of the chips, nor any photos showing the north side of the facility other than the car loading chute.

The frequent presence of Apache Railway chip cars makes it a safe bet that the destination of the chips was the Southwest Forest products plant (later Stone Container) at Snowflake, AZ.

These two views show the south side of the facility in 1987.

Looking south past the Bernalillo station sign in 1983 gives a general idea of the layout of the area near the chip loader. The Bernalillo depot burned down in 1981; the outline of the platform can still be seen next to the station sign. Note the section tool house in the distance, which was gone by the time the 1987 views above were recorded.
A closer view of the section tool house, with the chip loader behind it.
In addition to the blue Apache-owned chip cars, Santa Fe also had some wood chip cars of its own that frequented Bernalillo in the 80's. Most were class Ga-82 and Ga-84 gondolas with extended sides, such as ATSF 72125 shown here.
Santa Fe's more modern Ga-202 class wood chip cars were seen less frequently.
By 1989, the chip loader appeared to be abandoned as the Santa Fe Turn passed by behind a pair of GP35's. The facility was removed soon thereafter.
The presumed destination of all those chips was the Apache Railway junction at Holbrook, AZ. The Alco-powered Apache would then move the cars south to the plant at Snowflake. In July 1993, Apache C-420 #82, two RS-36's, and another C-420 lug a heavy loaded train southward out of Holbrook. Some chip cars can be seen near the left edge of the frame.

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