Horse boxes and race meetings

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Noel
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Re: Horse boxes and race meetings

Postby Noel » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:57 pm

Phil O wrote:One reason for the majority of horse boxes being mostly marshalled next to the engine is the requirement to water the horses, the water being available from water cranes. I believe that similar arrangements were used with cattle wagons, for the same reason, the availability of water.


I very much doubt it. Water cranes were designed for filling loco tanks, and delivered several hundred gallons per minute, making it rather difficult to fill a small water trough without getting water everywhere; the trough had to be provided by the station, as livestock vehicles didn't have them, because they were a safety hazard for the animal. Water cranes were not particularly common, and were usually on the main line so that the train blocked the line while they were in use; also, they belonged to the Loco Dept, not to the Traffic Dept which was responsible for looking after animals, so station staff would not be expected to use them.

The normal practice was, so far as I know, to shunt the vehicles into a cattle pen siding, and use a hose to fill a trough or troughs to water the animals at leisure, and in small groups in the pens; a group of thirsty animals which scent water are likely to be uncontrollable, with dangerous results, if they and staff are in the confined space of a cattle truck, for example. Having been moved to the pens, they could then be checked for health and injury and fed if necessary [not a legal requirement but standard practice]. BR practice for large marshalling yards was to provide a set of cattle pens on a dedicated siding. The give-away is the lack of road access - they are there so that livestock in transit through the yard can be checked, and fed and watered as needed. Bear in mind that cattle could travel in considerable numbers, even within the UK, whilst imported Irish cattle traffic could run as complete train loads.
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Noel

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grovenor-2685
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Re: Horse boxes and race meetings

Postby grovenor-2685 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 12:38 pm

I don't really see a horsebox from a passenger train being taken to a cattlepen siding in a yard. I would assume that the journey times were usually short enough to avoid the need to water the horse and in emergency other arrangements would be needed as they would be unlikely to find such cattle pen sidings in an appropriate place.
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Keith
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Noel
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Re: Horse boxes and race meetings

Postby Noel » Sat Mar 14, 2020 3:22 pm

grovenor-2685 wrote:I don't really see a horsebox from a passenger train being taken to a cattlepen siding in a yard. I would assume that the journey times were usually short enough to avoid the need to water the horse and in emergency other arrangements would be needed as they would be unlikely to find such cattle pen sidings in an appropriate place.


I agree entirely. The GW General Appendix of 1936 states that:
Legislation requires that at every station at which livestock are habitually loaded, unloaded or detrained during transit shall have provision of water to the satisfaction of the Ministry of Agriculture and easily accessible to animals [which I interpret as meaning that if animal traffic is unusual, the requirement doesn't apply].
Animals must be frequently examined.
Stations at which the Company must supply water are in a General Manager's circular of 1927, but requests made at other stations should be complied with if possible.
Periods within which animals must be watered are: Horses, Asses and Mules 24 hours, Cattle and Pigs 27 hours, and Sheep and lambs 36 hours.

Clearly the legislation is framed primarily for animals in transit by goods train, which would include less valuable animals such as carthorses and farm horses. It seems reasonable to assume that racehorses and others valuable enough to travel by passenger services would normally be watered before departure and after arrival, and, if necessary on very long trips only, at an intermediate traffic centre where the HB was transferred between connecting trains, and which had the necessary facilities, so provision of water in transit would be most unlikely to arise, unless there was some unexpected delay.
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Noel

IANATEXTON
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Re: Horse boxes and race meetings

Postby IANATEXTON » Sat Mar 14, 2020 5:51 pm

Further to my earlier post in this thread, I have now scanned part of a BR Western Region daily notice, which is titled "Advice of Horse Boxes etc passing on Sunday & Monday, May 9th and 10th". It is for the Exeter Division, and is from 1948.

Exeter division Horse Box etc workings May 10 1948.jpg


It shows three horsebox movements:-
- one from Dulverton (on the Taunton to Barnstaple line) to Cullompton (on the main line between Taunton and Exeter)
- one from Chard Junction (On the branch from Chard Juncton, via Chard, to Taunton) to East Anstey (also on the Taunton to Barnstaple line)
- one from Hatch (on the Chard to Taunton branch) to Weston-super-Mare

The position of the horse box is defined for each leg of the journey - in these movements at the rear of the train in all but one case. As I said earlier, the position would be dictated by the operational convenience.

For the third train, conveying a donkey from Hatch, it would have been incovenient to collect a loaded horse box from the cattle pen (which would have entailed the loco running round the train to go and collect the horse box), so the horse box was attached to the end of the train at Chard, and the donkey loaded from the passenger platform when it called at Hatch. I wonder how long that took!

All the movement notices that I have seen show loaded horseboxes being attached to passenger services. Some of the other special traffic was moved by freight or parcels trains

I presume that in many cases the horse would be accompanied by its owner or a groom, in the groom's compartment, and that they would be responsible for watering the horse if necessary. I would think that this would certainly be the case in relation to race horses - the original subject of this thread.

I hope this is of interest
Ian


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