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Hi Nick,
The poles are to go between the trucks, and hold the trucks in position under the log.

The cars (two bogies + log) are then coupled to the next car, this was a link and pin coupling, and you could have long links; later I think (health and safety rules) this was changed as link & pin are very dangerous!

The logs are chained to the trucks and on to the cross baulk that is on top of the bogie.

That has a fitting like a triangle that can slide in or out to the width of the log, and that also holds the chain.

The chain ends (one from each side) are generally joined with a stretcher, with a ratchet tensioner that pulls each each end together. These are still used today on motor trucks, and could be also used as a result on rr trucks with a load to hold it still.

Have a look at the following link; the truck show has the baulk across the width, and loops at each end that would accept the chains, that run over the logs
.
http://www.rbadesign.net/TERRAPIN/MR_On3LoggingDisconnect.htm

Interestingly those trucks are passenger trucks: the reason is given at the bottom if the page - freight trucks would be cheaper and far more likely to be used!
 
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