Jump to content

Recommended Posts

There have been several topics looking at the transport of the larger quadrupeds - cattle, horses, etc. - and the way cattle wagons were used but I don't think I've seen a discussion of how smaller animals, especially pigs, were transported. I believe I've read somewhere that cattle wagons were unsuitable for pigs, possibly also lambs, as the openings between the slats, low down to floor level, made them too draughty. The question arises because I've been looking at a transcript of a goods inwards ledger from Uttoxeter* which includes several consignments of pigs; the problem is that the numbers of the wagons recorded seem to me to be unlikely for cattle wagons. I'm aware that small consignments of pigs or piglets could be sent by passenger train, in "the proper container" (to quote Dai Station).

 

Any information?

 

*To be precise, it's an abstract of the Midland Railway wagons for the month of July 1914 from that ledger.

Edited by Compound2632
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the Great Central 1903 time table:

 

Quote

Sheep, Pigs, Goats, Rams and Calfs, either loose or in crates, will also be conveyed in these [Prize] Cattle Boxes by Passenger Train. 

 

Small numbers of animals could be conveyed in guards vans in passenger trains. 

 

Prize small animals, going to agricultural shows etc could be sent in horse boxes. 

 

Pigs or sheep could be sent, crated, on carriage trucks. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

35 minutes ago, billbedford said:

According to the Great Central 1903 time table:

 

 

Small numbers of animals could be conveyed in guards vans in passenger trains. 

 

Prize small animals, going to agricultural shows etc could be sent in horse boxes. 

 

Pigs or sheep could be sent, crated, on carriage trucks. 

 

Similar information in the Midland 1903 timetable (also an Ian Allan reprint) but as I said above, that's pigs by passenger train; here we're dealing with pigs by goods train.

 

I have identified the following Midland vehicles as cattle wagons, at various dates:

66

2102

5874

6107

6228

6397

8190 / 8192 / 8271 / 8295 / 8325 / 8335 / 8350 - with no other type of wagon intervening

8451 (calf van)

8456

8457 (calf van)

14390 / 14411 / 14432 - no other type intervening

14525 / 14534 / 14540 / 14545 / 14558 - no other type intervening

14874

17744

17868 / 17884 (calf van) / 17890 / 17894 / 17902 / 17903 / 17906 - no other type intervening

20390

21112

23133 (calf van) / 23159 - no other type intervening

23239

27852 (calf van)

27948 / 27959 / 27964 (calf van) / 27966 / 27986 (calf van) / 27988 (calf van) /28040 / 28049 (calf van) / 28052 - no other type intervening

36068

(By "no other type intervening" I mean that these are consecutive entries in my list of identified wagons; whilst this is not proof of a continuous number block for cattle wagons it is suggestive.)

 

Now the wagons recorded as conveying pigs are:

50555

78294

80288

114551

In all four cases, the majority of surrounding entries in my list are open wagons, mostly ones that are probably or certainly the standard 8 ton 5-plank wagon or its 20th century 10 ton replacement. 

 

So, there is no instance of pigs being conveyed in a wagon whose number lies in the range of known cattle wagons. Could pigs be conveyed in ordinary opens? Perhaps the statement that they could be sent crated on carriage trucks provides a clue.

Edited by Compound2632
  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Compound2632 said:

I believe I've read somewhere that cattle wagons were unsuitable for pigs, possibly also lambs, as the openings between the slats, low down to floor level, made them too draughty.

 

Quite so, can't have our porkers catching swine flu. 

As a nation of animal lovers, we prefer our pigs in blankets.

  • Like 2
  • Funny 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, DavidB-AU said:

This film is from 1957 but I suspect not much had changed in the previous half century or more. I've added a time code to start at the bit about pigs.

 

Hum. I'm not entirely sure but that looks to me like a horsebox. Plenty of straw, though.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • RMweb Gold

(COPY)

GREAT WESTERN RAILWAY

      

Chief Mechanical Engineer's Department,

NEWTON ABBOT

Wednesday 20th November 1935

1381135

 

 

Dear Sir,

 

Passenger Cattle Truck No. 991 - Upholstery damaged

 

A number of pigs loaded in this vehicle at Ivybridge on the 18th. Instant, as the animals started fighting, two were put in the passenger compartment.

 

Upon arriving at Taunton, the animals were unloaded, but the two in the passenger compartment were forgotten, and left there overnight. During the night these pigs ate up most of the upholstery in the compartment.

 

Will you kindly let me have your remarks as to loading pigs in a passenger compartment.

 

Yours truly,

A.W.H. Christison

 

 

 

This typewritten note is reproduced in Atkins' "GWR Goods Train Working" Vol. 2  p.251. I picture in my mind the face of the staff member who opened the doors to the Beetle the next morning. Cattle Truck No. 991 was a W7 BEETLE.

 

Also on p. 251 of that volume, Atkins writes: "For the Taunton Bacon Co. there was a flat rate charging for pigs over a defined area in the West of England. Similar arrangements were made for other firms. If a weekend was involved, sometimes the pigs arrived in horseboxes by passenger service." 

 

So that's special cattle vans and horseboxes. How pigs travelled on ordinary goods trains is not quite clear from what I have so far found in the Atkins volume. He does reproduce a GWR consignment note for "LIVE PIGS (FOR SLAUGHTER) TO BE CARRIED BY MERCHANDISE TRAIN" (no date). This includes the following options to be ticked and numbered:

 

"To be loaded in:

- Small trucks

- Medium trucks

-Large trucks

-Part truck load"

 

Those are the only options given. The S/M/L terms match those of GWR cattle trucks.

 

Edited by Mikkel
  • Informative/Useful 3
  • Funny 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Mikkel said:

During the night these pigs ate up most of the upholstery in the compartment

...there ought to be multi-emojis (or bracketed emojis protocol) since that tale covers most if not all the available options.  

 

 

Edited by kitpw
  • Like 2
  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Mikkel said:

"To be loaded in:

- Small trucks

- Medium trucks

-Large trucks

-Part truck load"

 

Those are the only options given. The S/M/L terms match those of GWR cattle trucks.

 

That does sound like cattle wagons, though I wonder about "part truck load". In the film, there's a litter of piglets which, I think, is why a horsebox was needed - the piglets in particular would be endangered by the draught in a cattle wagon. Crating up presumably wasn't an option as the piglets needed to be kept with the sow. 

 

Online, I've only so far found modern regulations. These often mention "rail or road" even though there's no livestock by rail these days. But I can't help thinking that if the same attention had to be paid to human welfare as to animal welfare in transport, the railway would soon be out of business.

  

2 hours ago, kitpw said:

The narrator says (at 1.16) "we had to find a couple of horseboxes in a hurry".  

 

Thanks. I hadn't turned the sound on!

 

I'm not sure how much further forward I am though. Wagons Nos. 50555, 78294, 80288, 114551 were certainly not horseboxes or passenger-rated prize cattle vans, which were numbered in a separate series that went up to the 400s.

Edited by Compound2632
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, pH said:

How Union Pacific used to do it:

https://www.railpictures.net/photo/539327/

 

Triple-decker pig transporters (reporting mark HOGX!) being run in the same priority train as the other ‘pigs’ - piggyback trailers.

 

There was a problem with this practice, as I recall from an article in Trains or some such American magazine.

One of the American car companies complained about the railways delivering cars with corrosion and damaged paintwork.

These had left the factory in pristine condition.

Upon investigation it seems that they had been marshalled behind stock cars containing pigs.

The pigs urinated copiously in the stock cars and the urine had been sprayed all over the cars, causing the damage.

I note that the stock cars are in at the front of the train pictured.

I hope that there was nothing delicate in the following "cars".

 

Ian T

 

 

Edited by ianathompson
typo
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, ianathompson said:

The pigs urinated copiously in the cars and the urine had been sprayed all over the cars, causing the damage.

Urine is corrosive stuff. I recall a crash of a regional airliner that was caused by the toilet being at the rear of the cabin (against the pressure bulkhead), and years of Gentlemen with poor aim had caused the bulkhead to corrode and finally fail. 

  • Agree 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, pete_mcfarlane said:

Urine is corrosive stuff. 

 

That ought not, I think, have been a problem with the woodwork of a cattle wagon or open wagon, though as with all livestock transport, thorough cleaning out afterwards would have been mandatory. No one wants their sacks of flour loading into a wagon stinking of pig piss.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, ianathompson said:

 

 

The pigs urinated copiously in the cars

 

 

 

Not good news for the guards of goods trains - if the as suggested, pigs could ride in brake vans as well as prize/special cattle boxes, which cannot always have been available.

 

Fascinating question, which, once raised, leads to a surprising dearth in information.

 

Query, then, aside from examples such a the farm move, would there have been widespread movement of pigs in the same way there was of cattle?

 

Factors to consider might be:

 

- The scale on which pigs were kept.  Pigs can be rather domestic level agriculture. Householders, including urban householders could keep them.  Most traditional mixed farms had a few.  There might not have been that much large-scale or intensive pug farming.  Another incentive to have a few pigs to hand was because you could sustain them on your farm dairy's by-product, whey, as well as all manner of other scraps. There were a handful of pigs everywhere. as a natural adjunct to farm and domestic household activity, and you might be sending them to market in ones or twos.

 

- That leads to another factor affecting transportation needs; where were they slaughtered?  Almost certainly, small numbers of pigs would have made short local journeys to the nearest butcher, where slaughtering probably took place well into the post-war decades (cure recollections).  I don't know if they may have been slaughtered on farms, whether there were itinerant slaughtermen.   My point is, perhaps much railway pig traffic was carcass, not live pig?

 

- Nevertheless, pigs must surely have travelled in numbers to livestock markets?

 

- Intersteller porcine exploration subsequently took the traffic completely off the railways in the BR era.

 

049bff5ae8cb7ccfbbcb598592b91140.jpg.3e3744c8b230534fa49b51843fbc278e.jpg

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Edwardian said:

 

Not good news for the guards of goods trains - if the as suggested, pigs could ride in brake vans as well as prize/special cattle boxes, which cannot always have been available.

 

Brake vans didn't have gangway connections so there was also the question of where goods guards relieved themselves if they had not thought ahead.  They had a choice of doing it on their own door step as it were, or off the end balcony.  I understand it was not unknown for trains to arrive with the guard and for bodies to be found later at the lineside with their flies open.

  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Edwardian said:

Query, then, aside from examples such a the farm move, would there have been widespread movement of pigs in the same way there was of cattle?

 

From the Uttoxeter ledger, for July 1914, there were four wagons of cattle, two from Market Harborough, one from Doncaster, and one from Leek; two prize cattle wagons for loading; and three wagons of pigs, two from Kettering. It has to be remembered that these are only the consignments received in Midland vehicles; there will undoubtedly have been more traffic in North Stafford vehicles and those of other companies - LNWR for sure. The consignment from Leek was presumably a wagon being used "locally" on its way back to the Midland, having earlier been consigned to Leek from a Midland station.

 

I also have some data from a numbertaker's book covering Feb - Apr 1892, thought to be from Guiseley. This shows seven wagons of cattle and just one of pigs. At that location and date, Midland wagons are likely to be the overwhelming majority, though one might, I suppose, get some North Eastern vehicles.

 

3 hours ago, pete_mcfarlane said:

And would a prize pig travel in a special cattle wagon, in the same way as prize bulls did? (Or is it a case, 'yes, if you pay extra'?)

 

For livestock by passenger train, there was the choice of horsebox, guard's van, either crated or not, crated on carriage trucks, or in the owner's own road vehicle on a carriage truck. If using a horsebox, the charge was related to the horse rate; if in the guard's van, the parcels rate (by weight) usually applied, though the dog rate comes into the equation:

 

"Sheep, pigs, goats, and other small animals are conveyed by passenger train in the guards' vans, and are charged (except dogs, rams, and calves) as follows... [ordinary parcels rates] ... In no case will the charge for each consignment be less than as for two dogs. If loaded in crates, each crate is charged separately."

 

"Lambs, puppies, and sucking pigs, when conveyed in hampers or cases, are charged the ordinary parcels rates, but in no case will the charge for puppies in hampers or cases exceed the charge for dogs."

 

Also:

 

"Calves for conveyance in guards' vans are not received unless they are in crates or tied up in sacks so as to prevent injury to Passengers' Luggage." 

 

[Ian Allan reprint of the Midland 1903 timetable book].

 

But this is all livestock by passenger train, so not germane to my question...

Edited by Compound2632
sp.
  • Informative/Useful 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Calne Station was the gare terminus for many pigs, and the 1905 picture here shows a rake of cattle trucks against the pig disembarkation platform, I think http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/c/calne/index.shtml . There are some good views of the station yard and the warehouse for outgoing bangers and bacon on Britain from Above, and they show lots of interesting things (many 6W siphons and bogie passenger rated vans, the latter with roof-boards), but rather frustratingly nothing that looks incoming.

 

This photo just about catches Palethorpes loading facility near Tipton, bottom centre-left, and I think (although its a bit fuzzy even in hi-res) shows cattle trucks at an adjacent unloading platform. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW053148 .

 

Marsh & Baxter at Brierley Hill were the archetypal Brummie Banger makers, and this photo shows their factory, plus a very suggestive rake of cattle wagons, which I've labelled, in the background [EDIT: or am I over-interpreting a line of coal wagons??]

https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/epw035941

 

I think the evidence strongly suggests cattle trucks.

 

I do know that on disreputable little narrow gauge railways that couldn't afford all sorts of different wagons, pigs and sheep went in sheeted open trucks, and horses and cattle in ordinary closed trucks with the doors wedged slightly ajar and secured with rope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Mikkel said:

How pigs travelled on ordinary goods trains is not quite clear from what I have so far found in the Atkins volume. He does reproduce a GWR consignment note for "LIVE PIGS (FOR SLAUGHTER) TO BE CARRIED BY MERCHANDISE TRAIN" (no date). This includes the following options to be ticked and numbered:

 

"To be loaded in:

- Small trucks

- Medium trucks

-Large trucks

-Part truck load"

 

Those are the only options given. The S/M/L terms match those of GWR cattle trucks.

 

4 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

Calne Station was the gare terminus for many pigs, and the 1905 picture here shows a rake of cattle trucks against the pig disembarkation platform, I think http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/c/calne/index.shtml .

 

So we're building up a picture of the Great Western using cattle wagons for pigs.

 

6 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

I do know that on disreputable little narrow gauge railways that couldn't afford all sorts of different wagons, pigs and sheep went in sheeted open trucks, and horses and cattle in ordinary closed trucks with the doors wedged slightly ajar and secured with rope.

 

For a moment there I thought you were referring generally to railways other than the Great Western! But the idea that these narrow gauge lines* were using sheeted opens for pigs and sheep is suggestive. However, there's no record of sheets with those Uttoxeter pig-loads. The ledger records the numbers of the sheets arriving with the wagons, which is useful in confirming the identity of those wagons as opens. 

 

*Which and when?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read of the Lynton & Barnstaple (not very disreputable) and Irish lines using non-specialised wagons for livestock. I think the W&L may hve resorted to it during moments of overload too, although they had cattle wagons, and some rather homemade-looking sheep wagons.

  • Informative/Useful 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

I do know that on disreputable little narrow gauge railways that couldn't afford all sorts of different wagons, pigs and sheep went in sheeted open trucks, and horses and cattle in ordinary closed trucks with the doors wedged slightly ajar and secured with rope.

 

 

Continetal NG railways got around the problem by providing all their vans with opening flaps in the sides.

These could be opened when the vans conveyed animals or closed when required.

 

I have modelled one of my vans with the door wedged open by a brick and secured by "ropes" to represent an alternative form of ventilation.

 

Ian T

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

37 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

Calne Station was the gare terminus for many pigs, and the 1905 picture here shows a rake of cattle trucks against the pig disembarkation platform, I think http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/c/calne/index.shtml . There are some good views of the station yard and the warehouse for outgoing bangers and bacon on Britain from Above, and they show lots of interesting things (many 6W siphons and bogie passenger rated vans, the latter with roof-boards), but rather frustratingly nothing that looks incoming.

 

This photo just about catches Palethorpes loading facility near Tipton, bottom centre-left, and I think (although its a bit fuzzy even in hi-res) shows cattle trucks at an adjacent unloading platform. https://britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/EPW053148 .

 

Marsh & Baxter at Brierley Hill were the archetypal Brummie Banger makers, and this photo shows their factory, plus a very suggestive rake of cattle wagons, which I've labelled, in the background [EDIT: or am I over-interpreting a line of coal wagons??]

https://www.britainfromabove.org.uk/en/image/epw035941

 

I think the evidence strongly suggests cattle trucks.

 

I do know that on disreputable little narrow gauge railways that couldn't afford all sorts of different wagons, pigs and sheep went in sheeted open trucks, and horses and cattle in ordinary closed trucks with the doors wedged slightly ajar and secured with rope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had been pondering Calne.  The Syphons are foir the outgoing bacon.

 

Originally road-driven Irish pugs were the source of Harris's bacon. The firm was instrumental in agitating for the GW branchline, so will have used rail for supplies from the start of the branch.

 

This 1880s view has a train of Opens labelled "H".

 

Are these pigs arriving in open wagons?!?

 

Without raves, that would seem perilous and unlikely

 

1096306960_calne(1880s)old6.jpg.10fa28b4c69081d734f83151a19eecd0.jpg

  • Like 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, Edwardian said:

Without raves, that would seem perilous and unlikely

 

Unless the wagons were sheeted for transit.

 

I looked at that photo and wondered too. The letters look whitewashed on, so might be a temporary mark for shunters.

 

From what I can work out from a GWR General Appendix, the Min of Ag didnt explicitly ban transport of livestock in trucks without roofs until 1927 (I don't think it was ever banned in Ireland, and was certainly practice there much later than in the UK), and if they explicitly banned it, it must surely have been happening to some extent before that, otherwise they wouldn't have bothered.

 

 

Edited by Nearholmer
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...