What Role Did Horses Play In Railways, 1900-ish?

Discussion in 'Other Occupations & Trades' started by kernowmaid, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. kernowmaid

    kernowmaid Well-Known Member

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    I'm puzzled.
    In 1901 my 2x gt uncle (Arthur F BURTON) was a RAILWAY STABLEMAN in Hull (RG13; Piece 4500; Folio 102; Page 7).
    In 1911 (Piece 28765) he was a RAILWAY FOREMAN HORSE KEEPER.
    And his wife's Probate in 1938 described him as RETIRED FOREMAN RAILWAY HORSEKEEPER.

    So it was obviously a steady job. I know that horses were used in the breweries to pull heavy drays ... but what role would they play in the Railway?

    Jane
     
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  2. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    I would imagine for shunting and any other movement of heavy loads.

    Edited to add - ooh yes, Google 'railway shunting horses'... lots of images of big carthorses moving rolling stock, right up to the 1960s.
     
  3. Archie's Mum

    Archie's Mum Always digging up clues

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    Also for delivering goods around that had been off loaded from the train.
     
  4. Bay Horse

    Bay Horse Can be a bit of a dark horse

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    The last railway shunting horse was called Charlie (reading from the National Railway Museum site) - there's a picture of him in 1967 working at Newmarket. Newmarket was the last British Railways depot to withdraw horses for shunting. They were used at Newmarket for moving special vehicles to transport racehorses. Horses had been used since the earliest days of the railways as they were cheaper and more flexible than locomotives.

    You learn something new! Thanks, Kernowmaid.
     
  5. kernowmaid

    kernowmaid Well-Known Member

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    Well, what a pleasant eye-opener! Thank you Bay Horse and Sue. :)

    Jane
     
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  6. mikejee

    mikejee Well-Known Member

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    there wer two sorts of horse employed, the heavy draft horses, for wagons etc, and the smallet horses for liteansport of goods etc. However at Hockley in Birmingham, where there was a steep hill, , when coming out of the GWR depot, the lighter horse were supplemented by a draft horse to get the load up the hill. Bit like double banking of engines up a steep incline. At Hockley until 1884 there was the Provender depot for the GWR, which stored the hay, oats , etc used to feed the horses. This moved to Swindon in that year, at which time that company alone emplyed 3000 horses. In 1866 a tender was put out by GWR for provender (presumably for a year), which comprised :
    2000 quires of old oats
    500 quires of beans
    250tons wheat straw
    5 tons of bran
    15o tons of clover or mixture
    150 tond meadow hay
     
  7. Flook

    Flook A True Gentleman. Rest in Peace.

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    There are a couple of nice photos side-by-side which you can see by scrolling down this page a bit. They enlarge nicely if you click on them>

    http://boatlife.
    blogspot.com/2014/04/the-stable-that-became-hospital.html
     
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