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Livestock moving across regions/companies

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Indulge me, if you will, whilst I set the scene.

 

It's 1920, and farmer P.Oberon of Wiltshire (I believe he has a brother with the GWR ;) ) has visited the Hailsham Fatstock Show, and as a result, has arranged to purchase Bessie, the winner of 'Best in Show' from Wilfred Larby of Claggetts Farm in deepest Sussex.

 

Would it be beyond the realms of possibility that Mr Oberon arranged for one of his stockmen to travel with a Cattle Van (say, the 'Beetle' of 1909 which just happens to be available in kit form from Parkside) to Sussex in order to ensure the safe arrival of his new purchase, or would Bessie have been moved from LBSC van to GWR one at a suitable exchange point?

 

Short version: Can I justify a Parkside Beetle (1909 version) kit on a layout set in LBSC territory? Thanks!

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Well, either that or Mr Larby purchases a prize bull at a Wiltshire cattle market. 

 

One way (literally) or another, you'd get to run a Beetle (unless it was on the South Western, of course)!

Edited by Edwardian
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I have just been reading an excellent book on the M&GN. It mentions in passing that records from one of the stations show that cattle wagons from practically every British company appeared there. I found this surprising, but also pleasing, and I imagine the 'practically' covers exceptions for very small companies like the Bishop's Castle.

 

The same book mentions cattle being brought to Norfolk for fattening from both Ireland and Scotland. I have come across similar traffic to Derbyshire and I expect it will have also applied to other areas where summer grazing was relatively lush. 

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"Brought to Norfolk for fattening from both Ireland and Scotland"

 

I think Castle Aching will need a cattle dock.  How many pre-Grouping companies might be involved in that? Great Western (from Rosslare), North British, North Eastern, Caledonian, LNWR?

 

Poggy, what's the book?

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How about the Highland and GNSR too?

 

Andy G

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The book in question is The Stations and Structures of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Volume 2 by Nigel J. L. Digby.

 

The reference to cattle traffic is only a passing one, and without going all the way through again I can't find it, but it's there. A wonderful book, as is volume 1. Obviously it's of particular value to those of a M&GN disposition (though there's some GE overlap in vol 1.) but there's a great deal of general interest. For example, in volume 1 I discovered that the M&GN supplied concrete signal posts to the Great Central (and other railways.) That really surprised me, albeit it was in the rather special circumstances of World War 1. 

 

I don't think there is specific mention of who provided the wagons for the Irish traffic, in fact I'm sure there isn't,  but I strongly suspect the GW, the LNWR (Holyhead) and quite possibly the Midland (Heysham). It's even conceivable some came via Liverpool (CLC, LNWR, LY and MR) but don't quote me on that. I have always understood the main landing points for Irish cattle to have been Fishguard and Holyhead. 

 

I think this question of cattle traffic has been debated on RMweb before, generally with some doubt as to how it was carried on, so to find what was almost a throwaway line like this in such a well-researched book was a bit of a delight. I suppose ideally one would check the original source and see what the proportions were. But it does seem clear that 'foreign' cattle wagons can be justified in many cases.

 

 

EDIT I have found one of the references, page 340 mentions 'a cattle wagon cleaning book from Melton Constable which reveals the cattle wagons of nearly every British railway company visiting the area'. The bibliography does not mention this book, but I guess it may be held by the M&GN circle.

Edited by Poggy1165

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Indulge me, if you will, whilst I set the scene.

 

It's 1920, and farmer P.Oberon of Wiltshire (I believe he has a brother with the GWR ;) ) has visited the Hailsham Fatstock Show, and as a result, has arranged to purchase Bessie, the winner of 'Best in Show' from Wilfred Larby of Claggetts Farm in deepest Sussex.

 

Would it be beyond the realms of possibility that Mr Oberon arranged for one of his stockmen to travel with a Cattle Van (say, the 'Beetle' of 1909 which just happens to be available in kit form from Parkside) to Sussex in order to ensure the safe arrival of his new purchase, or would Bessie have been moved from LBSC van to GWR one at a suitable exchange point?

 

Short version: Can I justify a Parkside Beetle (1909 version) kit on a layout set in LBSC territory? Thanks!

Probably not if going in that direction but perfectly fine in the other.

 

Vehicles like Prize Cattle vans were generally provided by the company at the originating end and worked through to their destination (often in passenger trains for much of the journey) without transhipping. This is why many such vehicles were fitted with both vacuum and Westinghouse brake. 

 

So animals moving from LBSCR to GWR would normally be in a LBSCR van and vice versa. 

 

As non-common-user vehicles, they would be returned empty to their home territory (your justification for a Beetle) unless a return load was coincidentally on offer. 

 

John

Edited by Dunsignalling
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Somewhere, and at the moment I can't recall where, I've seen a photograph of a CR train passing Perth ticket platform and in the background is a Metropolitan Railway cattle truck, so such vehicles certainly got about!

 

Jim

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There were block cattle trains passing through from Fishguard mainly, I think, to Banbury, then possibly on interregionally, in the sixties. These were more for markets for slaughter rather than fattening. At S.T.J. there was a scheduled stop for them to be watered, but I don't think they left the wagon, unless they were "down" i.e. not standing, in which case a check had to be made to see why.

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Thanks all, it's certainly an interesting topic! - Maybe I can justify the move the other way as mentioned.

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How about the Highland and GNSR too?

 

Andy G

 At one point in time Maud, on the GNSR Buchan line was reputed to process more fat cattle than any other market town in the UK.

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I have just been reading an excellent book on the M&GN. It mentions in passing that records from one of the stations show that cattle wagons from practically every British company appeared there. I found this surprising, but also pleasing, and I imagine the 'practically' covers exceptions for very small companies like the Bishop's Castle.

 

The same book mentions cattle being brought to Norfolk for fattening from both Ireland and Scotland. I have come across similar traffic to Derbyshire and I expect it will have also applied to other areas where summer grazing was relatively lush. 

 Which begs the question of where the BCR sent it's cattle wagons to, as their cattle wagons (ex-MR / LMS) were among the better maintained of their rolling stock (I appreciate that this is not saying very much !) and were vacuum-piped if not necessarily vacuum-braked. 

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The book in question is The Stations and Structures of the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway Volume 2 by Nigel J. L. Digby.

 

I don't think there is specific mention of who provided the wagons for the Irish traffic, in fact I'm sure there isn't,  but I strongly suspect the GW, the LNWR (Holyhead) and quite possibly the Midland (Heysham). It's even conceivable some came via Liverpool (CLC, LNWR, LY and MR) but don't quote me on that. I have always understood the main landing points for Irish cattle to have been Fishguard and Holyhead. 

 

Cattle from Northern Ireland came into the Clyde coast ports mostly served by the G&SWR. Traffic south would then be handed to the Midland by choice.

 

It's also worth remembering that it was very unlikely that there would be two way traffic, so half the time cattle vans ran empty.

 

Ian

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It's also worth remembering that it was very unlikely that there would be two way traffic, so half the time cattle vans ran empty.

 

Ian

There may in fact have been two way traffic, but at different times of the year. So loads going one way and empties heading back, then later in the year, loads going in the opposite direction with the empties heading back.

 

These 'flows' would be over and above the normal traffic generated by the local market days.

 

John

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EDIT I have found one of the references, page 340 mentions 'a cattle wagon cleaning book from Melton Constable which reveals the cattle wagons of nearly every British railway company visiting the area'. The bibliography does not mention this book, but I guess it may be held by the M&GN circle.

 

The closest I can find listed in the national archives is - http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C1842840

 

RAIL 487/76, Inwards goods traffic: Melton Constable, 1929

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I have found another quote in the book (volume 2) relating to Fakenham.

 

'Perhaps the most significant traffic was cattle, especially on Market Day...By late afternoon the wagons would have been loaded for dealers in the Midlands and Lancashire. It was not unusual for sixty or seventy (my emphasis) wagons of cattle, sheep and pigs to be loaded....In season Irish cattle would arrived (sic) from Liverpool, Heysham or Holyhead for fattening on the local pastures.'

 

No mention of Scottish cattle, so perhaps I imagined it. However, I think the same process might well apply, as it did in Derbyshire.

 

Note the number of cattle wagons used on ordinary market days. As the M&GN - we are told elsewhere in the book - only had 136 cattle wagons in total, it seems almost certain that foreign cattle wagons must have been seen at Fakenham on a regular basis, though one might speculate that Midland and GN wagons from the parent systems would be the most likely.

 

What follows is largely my speculation. In my copy of Per Rail it states 'A Great Central Company's representative is in attendance at the principal Cattle and Sheep Fairs throughout the country.' (My emphasis again.) These chaps were obviously employed to canvass for business, and it's a very short bet that the other major companies did the same thing. (I can't imagine an organisation like the LNWR not doing!) So what happened when one of these guys persuaded Farmer Giles (or Livestock Dealer Giles) to send animals via his company's route? Obviously for commercial and humanitarian reasons the animals could not be left lying around. Did the agent hire the local company's wagons? Perhaps. But what if the local company was a direct competitor?

 

I wonder whether through experience these guys knew what traffic (roughly) to expect from each sale, and ordered their own company's wagons to be sent empty in advance? That seems quite probable to me.

 

(As an aside, Per Rail also mentions the cattle markets regularly attended by GC agents. All are on the GC system or joint lines except for Salford (Manchester) which was on the LNWR at Cross Lane. The 'nationwide' fairs therefore look like they were the red-letter purchasing events. For wool fairs and sales, the GC had a guy even at such unlikely locations as Newport IOW and Rye - for example!)

Edited by Poggy1165

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Nothing to do with Norfolk, but to tie up loose ends, the BishopsCastle railway had an important cattle market at one end, Craven Arms, so their vans could have just been used locally to get cattle to the market, after which the cattle would be loaded up again on the main line systems.

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A full train of cattle wagons are one of the few 'block' trains you can justify in the pre grouping period and include vehicles from a variety of companies. Add to that the fact that they are vans rather than opens, and we modellers seem to prefer vans, so a bonus. The down side from the modelling point of view is the complexity of the vans themselves.

 

post-6089-0-89371000-1455286047_thumb.jpeg

 

Here are a couple from opposite ends of the country, the M&GN was scratchbuilt by my son, and I built the G&SWR one from the G&SWR Association kit.

 

Ian

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Remember that in later years cattle wagons were common user, though the GWR was very uncertain and changed its mind a few times. One of the GWR wagon books has the details; there may be similar information in books on the wagons of other companies.

 

Since there was a big monthly (I think) sheep market at Kerry (Cambrian Railways, later GWR), there were dedicated trains of cattle wagons once a month. I haven't yet established if they loaded both ways but I think many probably did, in in the morning and out after the sale.

 

Jonathan

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The sheep sales are mentioned a fair bit in Lewis Cozens' book on the Kerry but all mentions still only add up to a vague picture of activity: Basically there were 3 main sales between August and September in which case the branch was heaving with traffic, lots of double headed trains and special movements of empty cattle wagons going up to Kerry and then coming back loaded to be sent all over Britain. Must have been quite a sight, and gives everyone an excuse for a Cambrian Cattle Truck! 

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Countryfile this evening says the Stirling Cattle sales where the biggest in the UK, in the past and now.
Mainly for the Shorthorns and Aberdeen Angus Bull's for breeding - and exported all over the world.......
But whose cattle wagons were used I don't know.(in the UK).

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Countryfile this evening says the Stirling Cattle sales where the biggest in the UK, in the past and now.

Mainly for the Shorthorns and Aberdeen Angus Bull's for breeding - and exported all over the world.......

But whose cattle wagons were used I don't know.(in the UK).

I've put the question to the CRA forum.  There's bound to be someone there who knows the answer!  My own thoughts are that it would be CR and/or NBR ones.

 

Jim

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I can certainly say that the Midland provided the cattle wagons for the Irish Traffic via Heysham.  From research I've done It woul usually depart in block trains.  One type would drop off a few wagons at a time at small stations for fattenning, this happenned at Woodlesford.   The other was a long distance train which would have a fodder wagon (sheeted open) full of hay after every 5 cattle wagons.  There is a photo of one of these trains in, I think, one of David Jenkinson's books.

 

As to small movements, Long Preston used to receive 2 wagons of scottish cattle from Dingwall on a regular basis.  These would be attached to the rear of the last stopping pasenger train from Carlisle, then shunted into the cattle dock at Long Preston.  According to a retired sugnalman this was done with the passengers still on the train.

 

Prize cattle vans, like horse boxes are good models to make as they can turn up nearly anywhere.

 

Jamie

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