I have some great news for anyone that has one of the cattle cars. It probably also applies to the horse car.
In 1955 or thereabouts, I bought a new cattle car. Memory says it cost $15 which was a lot for a Jr High school kid. I was very disappointed because it didn't work even though it was new. Over the years, I have accumulated some more cattle cars and cattle pens. I thought I had 4 cars and 3 pens, but I may have more than that. On Christmas day, I tried to get two of them to work to show my great grandkids. No dice. So, after thinking about the problem for a while, I came upon a solution to fix these cars.
First was to go to Skycraft ( ) in Winter Park, Florida, to get some small springs and some 4-40 screws and some e clips. the e clips were for a few cars that had lost their trucks. The 4-40 screws were for some cars that had lost the screws that hold the shells on. The springs were to replace those stupid rubber grommets that Lionel used to hold the walkways in place. The rubber grommets are too stiff, and after a few years, they get hard like bricks. Further, some wizard had used double sided tap to glue down the walkways making vibration essentially impossible. The springs are tapered coils, one end being larger than the other. They are about a quarter of an inch high. I am away from home now, so I can't put a caliper on the wire diameter nor give you the number of turns. The springs cost 50 cents each. There is only one bin at Skycraft with a spring that fits this description, so you might be able to describe the spring and get them to mail you some.
I removed all the old double sided tape and grommets. I scratched the paint off of the locations where the grommets were so I could glue the springs in place. I used some JB Quick. In the car, I glued the springs in small end down because they went into a recess in the car platform. (BTW, take the shell off of the car before you do this, but do not disassemble anything else.)
After the JB set, I made a few other suitable modifications. The corners of the cattle pen platform had a problem with the cattle getting stuck in the corners away from the car. I bent the lip on the platform to make the sharp 45 deg corners round. I put a couple of tie wraps on the fence around the pen to constrain the platform fromrotating too far. I removed the gates and bent the springs down so the gates would stay in position. I bent the outer lip of the walkway inside the car outward so it would contact the inside of the car shell and keep the walkway from rotating. The last adjustment was to bend the tabs on the movable gang planks to align them with the walkway in the car.
The cattle will now move around the pen and the car for more than 20 minutes without a problem unless my great grandkids kick the track.
There are several types of cattle, some of which are not usable. One that I have is hard plastic and the fingers on the bottom are too hard to work. I have a white one that is missing a finger and so falls over easily. The hard plastic one is also missing the same finger.