Sunday, June 25, 2023

Waybills, Part 110: livestock bills

I have given an introduction to the subject of livestock waybills in a previous post, just summarizing some of the features distinctive to that type of waybill (see that prior post at: ). I would like to expand on that description, using actual documents. In this case, they are Colorado & Southern documents from 1952, generously shared with me.

We begin, as would the prototype sequence of documents, with the Bill of Lading. Its appearance suggests it was typed by the agent, at the depot in Ludlow, Colorado, in the extreme southeast corner of that state. (Here, as with all the documents, you can enlarge the image by clicking on it.) All four of the documents are dated February 21, 1952, and are typed in the same typeface, likely all at the same time.

Let’s look at what is here. First, the destination is Comanche, Texas, about 40 miles east of Brownwood in west Texas. The routing is via C&S into the northeast corner of New Mexico, and then at the Texas border (Sixela, New Mexico), transfer to the Texas subsidiary of the Burlington, the Fort Worth & Denver City, en route to Forth Worth. There the car will transfer to one of the Santa Fe’s Texas subsidiaries, the Panhandle & Santa Fe, to take it to the final destination.

The car, CB&Q stock car 58127, is a 40-ft. car. As noted in the lower part of the form, a 36-ft. car was ordered, but one not being available, a 40-ft. car was supplied. This matters because the freight rate depends on the car supplied. The shipper may have been canny, realizing that 36-ft. cars were scarce, and gets a 40-ft. car for the 36-ft. rate.

The cargo is 32 head of cattle. The car is to be weighed in transit; the notation SL&C means “shipper load & count” the cattle. The shipper is shown as “John Doe,” a way to avoid having the shipper (likely a rancher) himself having to sign documents (note the signature of that name), and the consignee is also identified as “John Doe,” likely for a similar reason. It’s noted that the car was bedded by the C&S, that is, a layer probably of straw, was placed in the car.

The shipper has also agreed to the 36-hour waiver, that is, the normal 28-hour limit on confinement of the animals in the car has been extended with the shipper’s agreement. This also is signed “John Doe.”

The agent also prepared a message to to Trinidad, Colorado, 14 miles away and the first station this load will pass after leaving Ludlow. It provides the time that loading was completed, 1 PM. 

Finally, the agent typed the waybill. It incorporates all the information in these preceding three documents. Note in particular the list of questions just above the cargo section. This is one of the distinctive parts of the standard livestock waybill. It includes the bedding, 36-hour waiver, and more. Note also at the bottom, the provision to record unloading after 28 or 36 hours, feed supplied, and reloading.

Let me mention in passing that the foregoing descriptions of events are based on my understanding of the process. If any reader can correct or amplify what I’ve written, please do so.

Documents like these define for us how our model waybills ought to look — provided of course that we want our model documents to capture the prototype appearance. To me, documents like these are an irreplaceable guide to the operation of my layout.

Tony Thompson

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