Re: Moving freight cars with team of horses


Randy Hees
 

The British were still using horses for switching through WWII.... 

Southern Pacific had a horse drawn narrow gauge branch until 1910... The Centerville branch connecting Newark with Centerville (now Fremont, CA)  They had inherited it when they leased the South Pacific Coast in 1887.  The South Pacific Coast was known to use horses in yards during high traffic periods or to move cars

The photos showing multi horse teams seem like overkill... To a large extent railroads were first invented in coal and slate mines to get wagons up out of the mud, and by doing so reduce friction.  A horse has a tractive effort of 1.5x its body weight (per modern humane society standards) while it is calculated that it takes 8lbs of force per ton to move a railroad car on level track.  Assuming a 50 ton car (car weight and tare for a 40 ton capacity car) it would take 750lbs of force.  A typical draft horse is about 2000 lbs with a 3000 lb tractive effort rating...

At the railroad museum at Ardenwood (SPCRR.org) we used horses as locomotives for our narrow gauge railroad until a couple of years ago.  On several occasions we pulled three cars with one horse on a 1% grade through a 24 degree curve.  Early on we had tested effort required to move one of our 15 ton capacity narrow gauge cars by using a strain gauge.  The effort varied a bit, but was generally about 400 lbs per car, which is consistent with the tables found in Porter Locomotive catalogs.

Randy Hees

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