Thursday, June 11, 2020

Operations - Commodities - Newsprint

The June 1945 Along the Line has an article called "We play a part in FREEDOM OF THE PRESS"  which largely covers the movement of newsprint on the New Haven. It's an interesting read, and you can find it in the UCONN collection of Along the Line.

It reports that in 1944 the NH received 8.501 cars of newsprint, with 4,796 of those delivered online.

The newsprint "came from 11 different places in Maine, two in New Hampshire, one in Vermont, one in New Brunswick, and six in Quebec. They were delivered to practically every city in our territory."

In my case, the New Britain Herald is a daily newspaper that would receive newsprint via the bulk tracks, or possibly the freight house, since they aren't served directly by rail. I'm always looking to identify loads to deliver to the bulk tracks, so this is a great place to start.

So poking around online I found a 1950 Congressional Hearing regarding antitrust investigations into the newsprint and paper industries. The copy at is more complete, with the appendices. Of course, this is fascinating, but a very long read, and it's tough to find the sort of information I'm looking for. But there was some testimony from John A. Guthrie who apparently wrote a book on the subject prior to being called for this hearing. It's a little pricy on Amazon for my purposes...

His testimony indicated that by 1949 the number of mills in North America are:
Quebec - 19
Ontario - 10
Newfoundland  - 2
British Columbia - 2
Manitoba - 1
Nova Scotia - 1
New Brunswick - 1
United States
Alabama - 1
Indiana - 1
Maine - 4
Oregon - 2
Texas - 1
Washington - 3

He also describes the general movement of newsprint:
61% of Canadian newsprint moved by rail, 37% by water, 2% by rail and water, although water traffic is only during summer (Great Lakes and ocean).
The largest shipments by water from American mills is Oregon and Washington.

Newsprint from Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Maine is shipped to New England and Middle and South Atlantic States, and some to the Southern States.

Newsprint from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia is shipped to Mountain and Pacific States.

Newsprint from Alabama and Texas is shipped to Southern States and Mexico.

Some of the most interesting information is that many of the mills are majority owned by certain publishers.
  • Spruce Falls Paper Co in Kapuskasing Ontario is owned by the New York Times
  • Ontario Paper Co and Quebec North Short Paper Co in Baie Comeau Quebec is owned by Tribune Co, publishers of the Chicago Tribune, and also for the New York Daily News.
  • Pejepscot Paper Co in Brunswick Maine is owned by Hearst Publications
  • St. Croix Paper Co. in Maine is owned by the New York Daily News

Most of the US mills are majority owned by a publisher or group of publishers and provides some very useful information for populating waybills.

This inquiry may have been brought about in part due to a newsprint shortage following WWII as described in this paper and it goes into more detail about some of the arrangements with various mills and publishers.


Looking at the average number of cars to CT from the 1% waybill study shows that an average of just a bit more than 3,000 cars were delivered annually 1950-54. 80% of those from Canada, and 20% from Maine.


I found another book of House Records, that includes a great table of newsprint production in 1950, though, and combined with John's testimony, can narrow down the options a bit more.

By my era, starting only two years after the Along the Line article, there are no mills in New Hampshire or Vermont.

The largest, and only mill in Maine not owned by a publishing company, is the Great Northern Paper Co, with mills in Millinocket and East Millinocket, both served by the Bangor & Aroostook. 

For Canadian mills, the Canadian International Paper Co in Quebec is the largest, shipping out of six mills
  • Cap Madeleine (CP)
  • Gatinean (CP)
  • Grand Mere (CN, CP?)
  • Port Alfred (CN)
  • Shawinigan Falls (CN)
  • Three Rivers (CN, GT?)

The second largest is the New Brunswick International Paper Co, in Dalhousie New Brunswick on the CN.

From the largest to smallest producers, the others that are not are not affiliated with a publisher are:
  • Price Bros (Kenogami and Riverbend) (RS)
  • Anglo-Canadian Pulp & Paper Co (Quebec)(CN, CP, GT?)
  • St Lawrence Paper Mills Co (Three Rivers)(CP)
  • James Maclaren Co (Buckingham)(CP)
  • Abitibi Power & Paper Co (Beaupre)(QRL&P)
  • Lake St John Power & Paper Co (Dolbeau)(CN)
  • Donnacona Paper Co (Donnacona)(CN)
  • Donohue Bros (Clermont) (CN)
  • Eddy Paper Co (Hull)(CP)
  • Richmond Pulp & Paper Co (Bromptville)(CN)
  • St Raymond Paper (St Raymond)(CN)

RS - Roberville Saguenay Railway, a short line owned at this time by Alcan, an aluminum manufacturing company. It served local industries, including the Price Bros mills, and had a connection with the CN.

QRL&P - Quebec Railway Light & Power, a short line east of Quebec, taken over by CN in 1951.

It's unclear what railroad(s) serve some of the mills based on what little information I have.


This gives me all I'll need to generate waybills for carloads of newsprint and I learned a lot in the process too! Time to get back to some modeling - I have been working on a number of projects and just need to make some time to write the posts. More soon!

1 comment:

  1. I grew up in the '70s near the CIP in Hawkesbury, Ont. Outgoing loads in CN 40' boxcars. The track leading to the CIP crossed Main St. If I was lucky, the school bus would wait while MLWs crossed.