Re: 50' Mather stock cars

Douglas Harding

Ah, now that I  know the question I can answer. Mont makes an excellent point. At many rural locations there was only one loading chute at the local stockpens, so car length was not an issue. Each car had to be spotted. At the large “union” stockyards, the unloading platform often ran the entire length of the pens, as seen in the attached photo of the LA stockyards. These platforms were equipped with swing gates that could be extended. These gates accommodated a car that was not spotted exactly at the chute.


The CBQ had an extensive fleet of 36’ stockcars. In the early 60’s Mather rebuilt ex B&O stockcars that came off lease into 50’ cars that were leased to the CBQ (and painted Chinese Red). These cars were no doubt unloaded in Omaha, Chicago and other major stockyards with lots of consternation by crews because of the differences in car length.


Remember that there were also 86’ pig palaces and the UP had 60’ HOGX cars. These were all accommodated at loading and unloading facilities by the railroads.


Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Mont Switzer
Sent: Monday, January 4, 2021 7:42 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] 50' Mather stock cars




When we talk about stock cars we usually think of long cuts of them loaded with enough cattle to be called a herd.  In my part of the country there were a lot of hog farmers who took their fattened hogs to the local stock yard when ready  This resulted in single car pickups with their cars spotted for this or live loading on a local train.  This was almost always one car at a time and the hogs moved a relatively short distance.  Fifty foot cars would not be a problem for this.



From: [] on behalf of Mat Thompson [ocrr@...]
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2021 8:03 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] 50' Mather stock cars

The question I remember was simple – didn’t the 50 foot cars create a problem with lining them up with the ramps on older stock pens? My answer was yes but did comment that I have some pens built with ramp spacing for 50 foot cars and that information was included on the note the company rep provide the conductor. I didn’t think about it at the time but many pens had platforms trackside. Drovers would put up temporary fences to herd animals onto the ramps.


The article to build these cars was in the January 1998 Model Railroader, written by Jim Teese. It includes one picture of an NKP prototype. He says Mather began joining cars in 1952. He also said he ordered Bulletin #25 from the Burlington Route Historical Society  which contained some information on the cars. That Bulletin is still listed on their website.


Jeff Wilson has  a picture of CB&Q 50237 on page 17 of his book Livestock & Meatpacking. Jeff notes that most conversions were double deck but a few were shingle deck.


Mat Thompson


See the Oregon Coast Railroad



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