Cattle traffic

Timetables, traffic, industries served, operational issues

Cattle traffic

Postby NCB » Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:22 pm

Just been asked some questions about cattle traffic, and not sure of the answers. Somebody on here might have them. So:

(1) Traffic between different companies, particularly pre-grouping. Would the cattle travel in the same van (presumably owned by the originating company?) throughout the journey, or would they be transhipped on route?

(2) In the case of longer journeys, such as the Irish traffic from Fishguard, would the cattle be fed and watered on the journey, and if so how? My guess is that it would be difficult to do so if they were stuck in the van, so they might have to be unloaded. My guess is also that there would be regulations covering this sort of thing.

Any ideas appreciated.
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Re: Cattle traffic

Postby Noel » Sun Nov 08, 2015 12:06 pm

!) Not sure, but I would think it probable. The normal practice for other traffic was for it to be worked through in the vehicle of the originating company. Transshipment of any numbers of animals would be slow and require staff and fixed facilities.

2) The GWR 1936 Appendix to the Rule Book, pp250-2, goes into considerable detail regarding animals in transit and their care. Horses, Asses and Mules must be watered at intervals not exceeding 24 hours, For cattle the period is 27 hours, sheep and lambs 36 hours and pigs 27 hours. There is no requirement for the railways to feed animals, but the Protection of Animals Act 1911 requires that railway companies avoid undue suffering of animals in transit, so it was normal practice to feed them at the same time [at the owner's expense]. There were also Orders made by the Ministry of Agriculture whose requirements had to be complied with. Failures to comply could lead to prosecutions.

Regular inspection of livestock in transit was required, and action had to be taken to avoid suffering. There is reference to 'recognised feeding stations'. There is also reference to a list of stations at which the company must provide a supply of water for animals [details in a GM's circular], but if water is requested at any other station, this request should be complied with if possible. Feeding and watering of animals had to be noted on the label.

One specific note reads "In the case of Irish stock travelling any long distance from Fishguard Harbour, it can be taken for granted that the animals have been fed and watered at that port".

At stations where animals were habitually loaded, unloaded or detained in transit the company concerned was to make provision of water to the satisfaction of the Min of Ag, and such provision was to be easily accessible to all animals. No comment is made about how the water should be provided, but practical reasons suggest that the only safe and effective way of doing so for a significant number of animals would be to unload them temporarily into pens equipped with water troughs. Incidentally, some major BR marshalling yards, at least, had a dead end siding alongside a set of cattle pens, presumably to deal with animals in transit passing through.

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Re: Cattle traffic

Postby NCB » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:03 pm

Thanks. Very useful!

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