Re: Photo: UP/OSL Livestock Car 37197 (1943)

Douglas Harding

Jim double deck loading chutes were very common in areas that raised and shipped sheep or hogs. The photo cited at Calumet has a side by side double chute, with the lower chute crossing over under the upper chute for access to the stockcar door. This allows loading both levels at the same time without repositioning the car. If you look close at the photo you can see a handler standing on the lower platform holding back the sheep on the upper lever, which have already been loaded. He is able to stand there because the upper loading platform bridge plate has been pushed back away from the car and is laying in the upper chute. If that bridge plate was in place loading or unloading of both decks could take place at the same time. Note the sheep on the lower level chute are being turned as they get to the end of the chute, they will make a left then a right 90 degree turn to get into the lower deck of the stockcar.


Most double chutes, I have seen in photos and drawings, have the upper deck cross over above the lower deck. This design allows the upper platform and bridge plate to be removed, allowing larger animals, ie cattle and horses, on single deck cars to be loaded/unloaded.


A few railroads had side by side double chutes that required re-spotting the stockcar to line up the car door with the chute.


And some roads had a single chute that had a floor that could be raised or lowered to match the height of the stockcar floor. You could only load one level at a time, but you did not need to respot the car. One detail for modelers is these style of chutes had counter weights, similar to what is seen on water tank chutes.


Many double deck stockcars had single doors on each side. These cars would have a “bull board” which was a 2x6 that was placed in brackets creating a barrier in the door opening. The bull board prevent animals from escaping while the door was being opened or closed.


Of course many large stockyards with continuous platforms along the tracks did not have double chutes. They had portable chutes on wheels that could be moved into place for unloading the upper deck of double deck cars.


Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Jim Betz
Sent: Sunday, January 10, 2021 9:31 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Photo: UP/OSL Livestock Car 37197 (1943)


  Thanks for this photo link.  To the best of my knowledge (memory?) I
don't remember ever seeing a double deck loading operation.  It would
appear that it wasn't possible to load both levels at once - at least not
at this particular location.  I love the flat lighting in this picture - gives
it a "feeling" that we often miss/don't have on our layouts.
  Since the sheep are being loaded into an OSL car - I'm guessing
that they are being "reloaded" and will be forwarded from this location
to some other (for slaughter?).  Calumet is in the Chicago area so that
makes sense (at least to me).
                                                                                                   - Jim

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