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Long lost freight: Cattle trains

THE movement of livestock by rail had started as far back as the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1831, transporting cattle from Ireland that had been landed at Liverpool. Other early workings included imports from the continent to the East coast ports, and internal movements of lean cattle or sheep from hill farms to low lying areas for fattening.

In the early 1900s, the principal flow was cattle for slaughter after being shipped from Ireland. By 1913, the ports with lairage for handling imported cattle were at Holyhead and Birkenhead from Dublin; Heysham, Fleetwood, Glasgow and Ayr from Greenore; and Bristol and Cardiff from Rosslare –the main objective being to keep the sea crossing as short as possible.

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