Re: stock car capacity


What year? What kind of animal? They vary. For instance Chicago’s record for the greatest number of stock cars received in one 24 hour period was 3,228 cars.  Wow.

The stock yard records I have say how many animals were shipped out vs. shipped in, but it does not say to which destination they were shipped.  If they were feeder animals, they could have gone anywhere for fattening. If a rancher was changing breeds or wanting new bloodlines those animals could go anywhere, not necessarily to slaughter.

The records can be found in the Chicago Stock Yard Archives at the University of Illinois Chicago. The info is in the Chicago Board of Trade annual reports. Those records do break down how many animals arrived each year by railroad and how many were shipped out by railroad. Since I was only interested in ATSF, those are the only records I have.  Being a western railroad, most ATSF cars left the stock yards empty. For instance, in 1943, ATSF brought in 10 cars of horses, 2426 cars of cattle, 4160 cars of calves, 141 cars of hogs, 1138 cars of sheep, for a total of  7875 cars. They only shipped out 34 cars, primarily cattle. Santa Fe was a much larger patron of the Kansas City Stock Yards than Chicago. In 1945 the ATSF sent 26,076 car loads to KC and took away 6413 loads from the yards to other places.


J. Stephen Sandifer


From: <> On Behalf Of Gary Patrik
Sent: Sunday, July 31, 2022 3:03 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] stock car capacity


Thank you Guy Wilber. I should have known that the numbers of livestock would vary by the weights of the animals. Very enlightening.


I recently read a fascinating book, Slaughterhouse: Chicago's Union Stock Yards and the World It Made, by Dominic Pacyga. In the 1920's, Union Stock Yards was unloading and selling on average around 50,000 head of livestock a day, a large percentage of which were reloaded into their cars and then shipped to packing houses mainly in the East. Since I like modeling stock cars, I was wondering how many cars would be traversing my Fort Wayne Division a day, I would guess in stock/produce hotshots. So your capacity numbers give me some understanding of how many cars might be moving East. Thank you.


On Sun, Jul 31, 2022 at 1:20 PM Guy Wilber via <> wrote:

Gary Patrik wrote:


Can anyone tell me steam era approximate average standard 40' stock

car loadings (animals per car)  for: single deck - cattle; double deck - sheep or hogs?


From the archives:


The following covers both 36' and 40' cars. The runs represent; the number
of head/ average weight of animals.


36' CAR; 60/300, 50/400, 42/500, 36/600, 33/700, 30/800, 27/900, 25/1000,
23/100, 22/1200, 21/1300, 19/1400

40' CAR; 67/300, 56/400, 46/500, 40/600, 37/700, 33/800, 30/900, 27/1000,
25/1100, 23/1200, 22/1300, 21/1400


36' CAR; 130/100, 115/125, 100/150, 89/175, 79/200, 73/225, 68/250, 62/275,
60/300, 57/325, 54/350, 48/400

40' CAR; 145/100, 127/125, 110/150, 98/175, 88/200, 81/225, 76/250, 69/275,
66/300, 64/325, 60/350, 54/400

(For DD cars; the number loaded on upper deck should be 8 to 10 head less
than number loaded on lower deck)


SD 36' CAR; 150/50, 125/75, 105/100, 95/125, 85/150, 75/180
DD 36' CAR; 300/50, 250/75, 210/100, 190/125, 170/150, 150/180

SD 40' CAR; 165/50, 138/75, 116/100, 105/125, 94/150, 82/180
DD 40' CAR; 330/50, 276/75. 236/100, 210/125, 188/150, 164/180

(For DD cars; the number loaded on upper deck should be 8 to 10 head less
than number loaded on lower deck)

Guy Wilber

Reno, Nevada 



Best regards,
Gary Patrik

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