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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Livestock by rail...


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Date: 07/13/13 16:12
Livestock by rail...
Author: aronco

A recent post mentioned livestock pens along the track in West Texas. That reminded me of several incidents during my early days with the Santa Fe at Winslow. I was promoted to "Transportation Inspector" and transferred to Winslow in December, 1968. Wow! Can that be 45 years ago? Yikes!
About a month or so after I arrived in Winslow, in the dead of winter 1968/69, I heard of two special stock trains coming thru Winslow in a few days. Each trains was to be about 60 cars of cattle, originating on the D&RGW somewhere in Colorado, and destined to feed lots around Bakersfield. The plan was to feed, water and rest the cattle at Winslow. When livestock was transported by rail, they had to be fed, watered and unloaded every 28 hours under Federal law. Remember Upton Sinclair's book about the stockyards in Chicago? What was the title of that book? That expose led to the laws about humane treatment of animals in transit. If the shipper agreed, the 28 hours could be extended to 36 hours.
So here comes the first cattle train....I happened by the station agent's office in the depot the afternoon before the train was due. Of course, the stock train would arrive at night. Nothing ever occurs in the daytime on a railroad, right? The station agent, Mr. Davis, asked me if I was going to be in town that night. "Sure," I replied. "Good" he said, "you can help us with the cattle train."
I was a bit perplexed. "Don't you use railway clerks to load and unload the train?"
Davis laughed under his breath..."When I try to call clerks for this extra overtime work, they won't be home, or they will claim to be sick, or they won't answer the phone. A couple of the old stalwarts will come out, but we won't get enough, for sure.
Be sure you wear some clothing you can throw away afterwards, OK?"
I wasn't sure what I had been volunteered for, but once only, maybe. Finally, the train was estimated for about a 10pm arrival.
by the time the extra switch engine brought the first 30 cars to the stockyards, it was well after midnite. We could unload four cars at a time, by moving very heavy wooden gates to the sides of the stock cars. We had to keep each carload separate - no mixing of the cattle. One load of about 40 steers to one pen, and so forth.
Man, it was cold, the wind was screaming off the Arizona Divide to the West, I hadn't been that cold ever! Now about the cattle: Raised in the mountains of Colorado, having hardly ever seen a human, been stuffed in a 40 foot cattle car in bitter cold, no food for hours, they were at best crazed, at worst wild! Many of them wouldn't move out of the car, so we prodded them and yelled at them, and spoke sweetly, and they stood there with a threatening, insolent look. Gradually, we got the first steers to move down the ramp into the pen, and most followed the leader, but not all. One of the veteran clerks, Percy, said we had to hop over the fence, and go in the cattle car and run the stragglers out. OK, I'll try that! I forgot that cattle do not observe
hygiene or bathroom courtesies. After as few minutes of pushing and prodding, the stragglers move out reluctantly. My boots and pants legs are, well, not to be taken home. I turned to see Percy pulling on the leg of a cow lying on the sand on the car floor. "Help me here Norm!" I grabbed the other leg and we removed the dead cow from the car with considerable effort as we were sloshing in the muck on the floor. Whew, first car is done! On 59 more to do....
Oh, yeah, after 6 hours in the pens, we will have to reload these savage beasts. What in the hell did I get into?
You may conclude that this is filed in my memories box but under "Not to repeat"!
I got home about 800am in the morning. My wife made me strip in the back porch, and march straight to the shower. The clothing was burned. The cattle departed Winslow about 11am and made it to Bakersfield without another FW&R stop. Fortunately, I was called away to a derailment or other calamity the day the next train was due in. Within a year or so, Santa Fe stopped hauling livestock. I think I know why!
When I can, I will describe the movement of sheep in Northern Arizona every Spring and Fall, to and from the Summer and Winter ranges. That is, if anybody would like me to describe that. It was very interesting and not nearly as strenuous as loading and unloading cattle in the middle of a winter night!


TIOGA PASS



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/13/13 16:20 by aronco.



Date: 07/13/13 16:52
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: CCDeWeese

I was the Assistant Trainmaster with no assigned headquarters on the CRIP Missouri-Kansas Division in Tucumcari, NM for a one-day strike. We had a few stock cars of cattle for feed, rest, and water on hand with no relief on hand. The customer in charge suggested that they drive the cattle up US 54. Fortunately, the strike was settled in a few hours and a train hauled the livestock within regulation.



Date: 07/13/13 18:56
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: The_Chief_Way

Please share the sheep story, too, Norm.



Date: 07/13/13 20:28
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: PHall

The railroads didn't exactly shed many tears when this traffic went to trucks.
The profit probably went away in the 1920's if not earlier.



Date: 07/13/13 21:19
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: jofegan

On a semi-related tangent....

Do trucks have a similar law requiring food/water/rest after a specific time?

--j



Date: 07/13/13 22:42
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: PHall

The packing houses are out next to the feed lots these days.
In the old days the packing houses were only in the big cities like Chicago, Kansas City, South Omaha, Denver and Sioux City.
The truckers don't need to move them cows that far anymore.



Date: 07/13/13 23:11
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

When I was visiting Pennsylvania back in the late eighties I saw a glimpse of a Conrail train with some livestock cars. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Turns out, my eyes did not lie. See below.

Are there any documented cases of livestock moving by rail since this Conrail experience?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Date: 04/07/08 14:34
Re: Conrail Livestock Question.
Author: zars
------------------------------------

Conrail used to haul a car or two of cattle out of Kansas City on their TV intermodal trains to a kosher packing house near Elizabeth, NJ, on the corridor. I would also see empties going west on manifest trains on occasion. 1988 sounds about right, if not a little late. The last time I believe I saw a stock car on Conrail was 1987, but it could have been earlier than that. They were a fairly regular sight in 1982/83, then they were gone.

The cars were 86' long "steer palaces" marked "Cattle Car Leasing Company" and the reporting marks were either CCLX or CBPX (the latter were lettered for Cross Brothers Packing Co. in Philadelphia-who either stopped shipping cattle by rail or went out of business). There was a photo in Railfan & Railroad in the early to mid 1980's of a car spotted at the Elizabeth plant. An article in Trains a little later indicated they were using these cars to ferry golf carts from cold climates to Florida and vice-versa, before they were apparently scrapped.

I scratchbuilt a model of one of these stock cars in 1983 and have other materials pertaining to these cars that I had gathered for the model project.



Date: 07/14/13 09:33
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: spnudge

I was the fireman with Charlie Rorabough when we unloaded one stock car at San Augustine, MP 331 on the Coast in 69. It wasn't an SP car, I think Santa Fe. The spur had been gone for years so they fixed the shute so it would roll all the way out to the main line. It turned out to be the last stock car that unloaded there. The shute was there well into the late 70s until it was torn out. The SP still had stock yards up and down the Coast. Although not used for rail service, a lot of them were leased out. There was a small area on the land side at the east end of the yard in SLO that was leased out for $5.00 a year.


Nudge



Date: 07/14/13 17:05
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: DTrainshooter

aronco Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Remember Upton Sinclair's book about the
> stockyards in Chicago? What was the title of that
> book? That expose led to the laws about humane
> treatment of animals in transit.
>
> TIOGA PASS

"The Jungle" ...quite the book and it just might make you become a vegetarian after reading it. Or at least give up hot dogs!



Date: 07/17/13 05:08
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: rob_l

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The profit probably went away in the 1920's if not
> earlier.

All businesses need to engineered so they make money. In the 1970s the revenue per carload was extremely high. As long as you did not have to make investment in cars or in feed, water and rest stations, and if you had 0 fw&r stops per run, the net cash flow was extremely positive. We ran cattle on our hottest EB trains or in special trains from Idaho to the auction yards in Nebraska to make it there before fw&r was required. For the hogs to LA, we rebuilt the cars so the hogs could be rested in the cars.

Penn Central (later Conrail) ran stock on their TV trains. Again, an end-to-end run before fw&r was required. Very profitable, likely a lot better than the typical trailer load.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/13 05:10 by rob_l.



Date: 07/17/13 12:52
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: march_hare

CA_Sou_MA_Agent Wrote:

> Are there any documented cases of livestock moving
> by rail since this Conrail experience?
>
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I don't know when UP stopped their operation, but I have a photo in my collection of UP pig palace cars on a westbound along US30 in Nebraska, circa 1982. I think that was the last operation in the country.

Of course, some live animals still move by rail--in the Barnum and Bailey circus trains, and I think they're covered by mandatory rest and recreation stops as well.



Date: 07/18/13 07:30
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: RRTom

Rush Loving's book, The Men Who Loved Trains, mentions that in early Conrail days, CR's Transportation department demolished the livestock pens in Lancaster, PA so they could avoid a deal the sales dept. made to haul livestock there. No further explanation in the book. I have slides of livestock east through Pittsburgh in the early 80's at the front of a CR TV train.



Date: 07/18/13 10:31
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: rob_l

march_hare Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I don't know when UP stopped their operation, but
> I have a photo in my collection of UP pig palace
> cars on a westbound along US30 in Nebraska, circa
> 1982. I think that was the last operation in the
> country.
>

The eastbound cattle traffic from Idaho and Montana origins to Nebraska and BN interchange destination expired sometime in the 1980s, probably shortly after MoP-UP. The westbound Clougherty hogs from Missouri River and Nebraska origins to LA lasted until 1994, to my knowledge last regular livestock traffic via rail anywhere in the USA. There were a few other seasonal stock moves on the UP that died in the 1970s, e.g., sheep from BN interchange to the Condon Branch in Oregon, or cattle and sheep to WP interchange en route to the Stockton livestock auction.

Best regards,

Rob L.



Date: 07/19/13 11:25
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: DNRY122

I remember seeing HOGX (Clougherty/Farmer John) cars being loaded in Nebraska when my wife and I did our cross-country trip in DN 121 in 1990. I took a couple of photos, then Pat suggested that we continue our journey westward NOW. The air was quite fragrant with the aroma of numerous porkers who would soon be riding a real "Pig Train". I was reminded of C. W. McCall's record "Convoy"--"Hey Pigpen! Can you back off about ten miles? Them hogs is gettin' mighty intense!"



Date: 07/20/13 15:53
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: rdmstr

When I hauled livestock mid seventies we had 34 or 36 hrs before feed water &rest.
Most hauls were 20-26 hrs at the farest. I think the longest haul I was on, was
Ordway Co to Fargo ND. Took less than 24 hrs as I recall.
keith



Date: 07/20/13 22:46
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: aronco

UP's Farmer John hog business continued well into the 80's - albeit as a specialized operation. The hogs were loaded in Iowa and picked up by a thru train and rushed thru to destination in Los Angeles. UP had a special exemption allowing them to feed and water the hogs en-route without unloading them. This was done at Milford, Utah I believe, at about 5 mph.

I believe I have related this tale before but it is relevant here. One night, while working in the High Tower in Barstow, I noted the UP Super Van train was coming out of Yermo onto the Santa Fe. As the train passed the high tower about a quarter mile away, I saw that 20 or so cars of hogs were positioned on the head end of the train, followed by about 30 or so TOFC flats. I punched the road radio button and called the UP conductor and asked him "How many pigs in your train tonite, sir?"

"Just a moment high tower" was the reply. A minute later, the conductor called. I could hear laughter in the background ( perhaps the rear brakeman?) " Quite a few pigs tonite, high tower" he said....

Before the construction of the "new" yard at Barstow, it seemed that UP was very regular in running the hogs thru Barstow about 1030pm every night. In the summer time, the passengers awaiting train 4, Amtrak's Eastbound Southwest Chief, would be sitting in front of the Harvey House train station enjoying the warm summer evening while waiting for the train. Frequently, the UP stock train, whatever its symbol, would rattle thru the depot tracks just before No. 4. The pigs were coming off one of the hottest train rides in America across the desert from Salt Lake City to Barstow, and it was often not a pleasant passage. The animals left their presence hanging about the train station long after the train had departed, and many a passenger was nauseated upon boarding No. 4 in the evening.

TIOGA PASS



Date: 07/21/13 00:26
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: 2720

Here is a photo of a UP Hog Stock car!
It is a 3 level car with water scoops just to the right
of the reporting marks, these would collect water from
water jets/cannons placed alongside the track to water
the hogs on the fly!!
Part of the PSRM collection at Campo, Ca.
Mike



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/13 00:28 by 2720.




Date: 07/21/13 14:36
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: wpdude

Great thread and stories, guys! Thanks for sharing the memories.



Date: 07/21/13 20:41
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: mapboy

aronco Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> UP's Farmer John hog business continued well into
> the 80's - albeit as a specialized operation. The
> hogs were loaded in Iowa and picked up by a thru
> train and rushed thru to destination in Los
> Angeles. UP had a special exemption allowing them
> to feed and water the hogs en-route without
> unloading them. This was done at Milford, Utah I
> believe, at about 5 mph.
>
> TIOGA PASS

They were fed and watered at Dry Lake, UT, east of Las Vegas. Thanks for the story! More about UP's Farmer John pig train here- <http://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,2646649,2646798#msg-2646798>;

mapboy



Date: 07/24/13 05:00
Re: Livestock by rail...
Author: rob_l

mapboy Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> They were fed and watered at Dry Lake, UT, east of
> Las Vegas. Thanks for the story! More about UP's
> Farmer John pig train here-
>

Watered, yes (Dry Lake was equipped as a "hog drenching station"), but I don't remember anything about the hogs being fed there.

Until sometime in the early 1970s, the hogs were pulled out of the cars for feed, water and rest at North Yard in Salt Lake City. Then the stop got moved back to Green River. Later, they redesigned the cars so that they could be fed and watered without getting the hogs out of the cars.

Best regards,

Rob L.



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