Re: Manure shipped by rail

Charlie Vlk


Before the era of this group but I think interesting to this discussion, there was a spur off the 1864 “Chicago Branch” (aka the CB&Q “Racetrack”) just west of the Chicago city limit  which at the time was at  Western Avenue into the area that would become Douglas Park.  It was labeled “Stock Car Spur” and I surmise that it was used for cleaning out the manure from stock cars being sent west after unloading livestock at the Chicago Union Stockyards which were south of that location.  At the time the area was low swampy land with very few neighbors to complain….and it enriched the soil for the park to come!

Charlie Vlk


From: <> On Behalf Of Douglas Harding
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2021 10:32 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Manure shipped by rail


Let me add that sometimes gons of manure were just hauled to a remote yard location, ie in the country somewhere, and unloaded into a wet or swampy area. Of course this was all in the days before landfills and EPA.



From: <> On Behalf Of Douglas Harding via
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2021 8:19 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Manure shipped by rail


Gons were used for shipping manure, not aware of hoppers being used in this service. It was also bagged, which could be shipped on a flatcar or in a boxcar. In the Midwest most often it was coming from large stockyards and packing plants. Usually shipped to rural areas where it was sold to farmers for applying to their fields for fertilizer, esp in the days before commercial fertilizer. It was also bagged and shipped for gardens. Attached are a few photos and documents related to shipping manure by rail. Team tracks or a remote siding could be used for unloading. Workers with shovels and pitchforks were the norm. Clamshell buckets on a crane were used at large operations. Loading of gons was similar to coal, wagons and carts dumping from an elevated ramp. Or the clamshell bucket and crane.


Doug Harding


From: <> On Behalf Of Robert G P
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2021 7:11 AM
Subject: [RealSTMFC] Manure shipped by rail


Hello group, 


I model the midwest and wanted some extra uses for my gons and hoppers so It was my conjecture that "bulk" manure loads might be an accurate bill for them? 


Lets say the manure is traveling to a feed/seed shop (like heater coal would to a dealer) to be sold in smaller portions to folks with gardens or to larger farming operations. I suppose in the latter case a farmer may have his own hopper(s) full and spotted on a team track for unloading. 


To all those with the knowledge - is any of this realistic? Have you heard of anything like this? Sounds like a good way to add in some extra operations and maybe even have fun making sure the cars aren't too close to the caboose!



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