Re: Photo: Moving Boxcars With Horses (1913)

Bob Chaparro

Randy Hees commented:

I was at Ardenwood with the SPCRR, 2 years as president, and later professionally as museum director at the Patterson House museum.

We got occasional complaints about using horses.  The reality is that per Humane Society guidelines, (from memory) a horse can pull (measured at the coupler, aka tractive effort) 1.5 times their weight...our draft horses were about 2,200 lbs., giving them a legal tractive effort of about 3,300 lbs...a typical narrow gauge car requires about 400 lbs. of effort to move can be as low as 250 our common single flat car train, was less than 15% of the horses capability.  As President of the group I invited the county Animal Shelter to the museum to audit our operation.  They said we knew more about horses than they did, and would later tell complainers that we were highly compliant.

Our horse drawn railroad was a replica of a line two miles from the museum, the Centerville branch of the South Pacific Coast. Three miles long, which operated from c.1880 to 1910, with three passenger trains each way each day, the middle train being a mixed of as many as 10 freight cars with a 4-wheel horse car following for passenger accommodations. The schedule of the line was in the Official Railway Guide. 

Randy Hees

Director, Nevada State Railroad Museum, Boulder City

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