Railroad Specific Importance
modeler wishing to incorporate livestock operations into their layout had best
research their era and location as it was far from uniform. The Santa Fe in 1948
was the largest rail carrier of livestock in the US. They moved over 100,000 carloads
of cattle, sheep, goats, hogs, horses, and mules that year. Chicago was home to
the nations largest stockyard with other substantial ones in Los Angeles, Kansas
City, Fort Worth, Denver, Wichita, St. Joseph, and Oklahoma City - all Santa Fe
cities. The second largest stockyard in the country was in East St. Louis, IL,
which was interchanged from Kansas City via Missouri Pacific.
railroads show considerable variation in the make-up of their car fleets. The
following chart shows the percentage make-up of the car fleets of some major roads
in 1950. This comparison does not consider private owner cars.
In 1950, 66 railroads owned a total of 54,555
stock cars. The largest was the Santa Fe with 13% of the national fleet. Only
3 roads east of the fleet Mississippi: PRR, NYC, and B&O, had 1000 stock cars
or more. 18 railroads had 80% of the stock cars.
Stock car owners
ATSF - 7461
CB&Q - 3753
MILW - 3690
CP - 3346
SP/T&NO - 3040
CN - 3037
PRR - 2315
GN - 2045
NP - 1715
NYC - 1675
RI - 1207
B&O - 1192
In 1955, stock car movements amounted to only
1.2% of the total national freight movements. But nearly 25% of all stock movements
nationally were on the Santa Fe.
were normally from the country to the city, from all direction to the northeast.
Stock movements on the Santa Fe were primarily in the easterly direction. The
major exception were the packing plants around Los Angeles. There was a large
area of packing plants in Vernon, Calif. just south of L.A.and in the Cudahy area
of LA, near Hobart yard. In the analysis of stock movements through San
Bernardino in January, 1943, 37% came from Texas.
was the meat packing capital of the US. The railroad stockyards were established
there in 1866. By 1900, the most common pattern was for stock to be raised on
rangeland for up to 2 years. When the range started to dry up seasonally, they
would be shipped by rail to stockyards at various locations to be fattened for
3-6 months. The fattened stock was then shipped by rail to public markets.
grazing was a source of reverse moves for stock. Some ranchers from the colder
climates would ship their livestock south for the winter. The D&RGW and RGS
narrow gauges both did heavy traffic in moving livestock from summer to winter
pasture and back.
Many loads of livestock were riders,
i.e. the stock had not been sold when they were loaded. In such a case, the shipper
might choose a roundabout route in hopes of securing a buyer while in transit.
They might therefore start their journey going to one destination, only to be
pulled and shipped elsewhere in route.
Is it livestock or live stock,
stockyards or stock yards,
stockcars or stock cars?
The Santa Fe was not consistent.
Form 1846 is called a Livestock Freight Waybill.
However the block on the back of the form twice refers to live
is the consent to confine live stock for 36 hours,
and the term live stock is repeated in the body of the consent form.
1940 the Santa Fe published a book entitled "Meat." In the same paragraph
it talks of live stock being nurtured on the plains
and farms and individuals who buy livestock. The
booklet does use livestock most of the time.
Santa Fe Instructions for Trainmen system circular 33-S (1943) has a section on
live stock express shipments and uses live
stock throughout and in conjunction with live animals, live birds, live
poultry, live pigeons and live fish.
1946, the Santa Fe published a booklet for its employees in an attempt to reduce
loses through damaged or dead stock. The cover letter is from the General Live
Stock Agent and the booklet uniformly refers to live
stock and stock yards.
Santa Fe Official list of Officers, Stations, Agents, etc. No. 52, 1945, has a
list of stock yards.
Fe form 822 Standard contains a "Stock Yard
1953 booklet in my possession which tells the history of the Chicago Union Stock
Yards and calls it the "World's greatest livestock
market." Inside the text talks of "tavern stockyards."
A photo is identified as the "International Live Stock
Exposition and Horse Show." Another is identified as "Chicago Stock
Yards by Night." It also describes the "Stock
Yard Inn" as "associated with America's live
Wabash contract in my possession is a Live Stock
contract and talk of "Ordinary Live Stock" and "Other Than Ordinary
Live Stock," the distinction being meat stock versus racing or show stock.