At one time, the Southern Pacific owned several hundred
miles of narrow gauge railroad. One
such line was the Carson & Colorado Railroad, incorporated in 1880.
Southern Pacific acquired C&C's rolling stock in 1900, and in 1905,
the railroad was reorganized under the name of the Nevada & California
Railway Company. Its lines extended from a network of branch roads in
across the state-line into California near Bishop, down through the
Owen's Valley toward Mojave.
Some of the line was converted to standard gauge, as the Southern Pacific
viewed the road as a possible short cut from Los Angeles to the original
Transcontinental Railroad, but much of the
long-haul from Mina to Keeler remained narrow gauge. The route enjoyed
its last run in April 1960.
This stock car was built for the Carson & Colorado, and
was inherited by the Southern Pacific in
1900 with the rest of C&C's rolling stock. Stock cars were simply rail
cars designed for the
transportation of livestock and equipped with slatted sides and doors.
Like other items of personal property, animals needed to be transported
the long distances their owners traveled. Cattle went
more quickly by rail to the slaughterhouse than by the long "cow poking"
trail. Horses, chickens,
mules, and sheep had to be transported to the rapidly emerging farms
in the West. Livestock is still transported by rail today, in the modern,
metal descendants of cars like wooden Stock Car #163.