Keystone Company Horse cars


Valuable horses were mostly transported in special horse cars, but Wikipedia says that the Keystone Company developed a more utilitarian car for transporting less valuable horses in freight trains, eventually producing some 1000 of them. I have not been able to find any other information about these cars (Google searches return the Wikipedia article) and hoped someone might have some more information. There were notable shipments of horses to Europe at the end of WWII (2000 through Portland, Maine, in late 1945- early 1946), but the Keystine cars were probably much earlier..

Douglas Harding

The 1903 ORER shows the Keystone Live Stock Express company had 548 cars, 433 single deck 36’  and 115 double deck 34 & 36’

General Offices, Philadelphia Stock Yards, Philadelphia PA

Bills for Repairs to cars sent to Superintendent Motive Power, PRR, Altoona PA.

Based on the image these are standard stockcars.


The same 1903 ORER shows the Arms Palace Horse Car Co. (on the next page) With the following listing. The image shows a much longer car, similar to the old Red Ball horse mule car model.

Arms Palace Horse Cars (crosswise stalled) #20-2500 Nos. ending in “0” capacity 20 horses

Keystone Palace Horse Cars (diagonal stalled) #315-875 capacity 20 horses


Arms Palace Horse Cars (lengthwise stalled) Combination Horse and Vehicle car #5001-5021 capacity 16 horses. Have side doors for carriages. Specifically adapted for race horses. Equipped for passenger or freight train service.


Burton Perfected Cars #801-952 capacity 16 horses, lengthwise stalls for shipping race horses, equipped for passenger or freight train service.

Arms Palace Horse Cars (lengthwise stalled) #6001-6325 (same notation about race horses)


Arms Palace Horse Cars (without stalls) #4000-4250 capacity 22-26 horses. Stalless cars with three compartments for exclusive use at US Yards, Chicago, at special rental. Should not be diverted nor loaded for local points.


Keystone Palace Horse Cars #75-99. Cars with stalls and mangers removed, for shipping hay. In Leased Service


A note indicates the Burton cars 801-952 were being relettered and renumbered “Arms Palace Horse Cars” #6001-6???


The mention in Wikipedia cites John White’s “The American Railroad Freight Car” book regarding Keystone Horse Cars.


Doug Harding



Thanks, Doug

Following your suggestion I found that White's book has a picture of a Keystone car (Figure 4.29, page 269). It is clearly riding on freight trucks. That section of White's book also suggests that prized breeding bulls (he specifically mentions Angus) traveled in superior accomodations, though he doesn't detail what they were.

Do you know how late the Keystone (or Burton and Arms) lasted?

Douglas Harding

Sjones, no I do not know when the Keystone Co ceased, but I suspect if folded in the Arms Palace Co. The founder of the Keystone company, Robert henry, died in 1920. The Arms company was sued in 1914, so I know it was still around at that time.


As to prized breeding bulls, here are photos and history of the Colonial Hereford Farm car used for transporting a prized bull. Photo taken 1-15-1977


Colonial Hereford Farm was located near Midville GA, owned by an engineer who designed/worked on dams. His stock was took awards at livestock shows in the 50s.


the captions indicate the car is:

Former Southern Rwy Dining Car converted into a Cattle Car. This car was featured in Trains Magazine some time before when I (photoprapher) found it. It was parked on a siding off the Georgia and Florida Rwy from Midville to Augusta mainline, which can be found in the foreground. The car was set up with automatic feeding and watering system and had a room someone to ride with the Cattle. Month and year correct.


The car was used specifically for ONE prized bull. Used a couple of times to take it to shows then the car was parked and no longer used. Car was originally Pullman PYNTON, a Plan 2410 12 Section - 1 Drawing Room, to PULL TC 1618, to SOU 3100 coach - dinette.



Doug Harding