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The poles are called "roosters" in the logging vernacular. They were made with varying lengths and were used both to join the disconnects under the logs, and to join sets of logs/disconnects to each other, especially if the logs extended out over the ends of the disconnects enough to preclude coupling the link and pins. They were also used to connect cars to locomotives, skeleton cars to disconnect sets, and just about anywhere a longer coupler reach was needed. They were even used to connect link and pin to knuckle couplers where the knuckle was slotted and drilled to accept link and pin matings. Loggers were nothing if not inventive. :)

To address your other point, there were times when the logs themselves were used as the car body and no rooster was used between the disconnects under the logs, but there were at least as many times where they were used. Practices varied from logging line to logging line, so almost anything you do probably had a prototype someplace. :)
 
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