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Sean R Das

Hello. Although the era of the railroad livestock car has been over for more than 40 years, they are still interesting cars. However, I have some questions regarding their operation, specifically in Winter.

Stock cars are slatted to give the critters ventilation. However, what did railroads do in winter months? Most certainly the subzero temperatures and wind chill generated by the movement of the train would cause the livestock to succumb to hypothermia, right? What was the solution to this? What about extreme conditions, such as in Canada?

Bill Anderson

Well-Known Member
Were stock trains operated in the winter? I believe the cycle was to round up the cattle in the fall and get them to market before the arrival of snow and cold weather.


New Member
As a longtime long-haul livestock hauler myself, I highly doubt that any special consideration was made to the comfort of the livestock; and, I also figure that frigid temperatures had little to do with whether stock was moved or not.

In reality, livestock are far more likely to suffer from heat and suffocation during transportation in moderate temperatures than they are to suffer from the cold in winter; if a cow gets down in a loaded trailer/stock-car in summer, it will probably not survive.

Most livestock owners tend to avoid transportation of more than a few head at a time during moderate weather and purposefully wait until colder weather, as survival rates are better.

Chris de Vries

"They fixed these cars?"
Animals do fine sitting in the fields all winter.

I've heard from some of the old guys at work that the animals were treated better than the employees. The railroads were more than happy to get rid of them.


I've seen stock cars hauling steel drums of something, and lumber. No reason a useful car should be unused for months at a time.

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