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Reading a topic on an N gauge BLT with a Dairy I realised I don't know how Milk Tanks operated I have read of the Torrington Tanks unloaded overnight at Vauxhall and working down the LSWR line as a 14 Tank wagon train and up as two trains one 8 around 2pm and one of 6 Tanks around 4 pm but don't know if it was one 14 wagon formation working up in the afternoon unloaded overnight and back in the morning to refill for an Afternoon departure or two, one set filling in the morning while the other was returning ECS. The Penzance just has to be two sets due to distance But what about the Wotton Bassett, Did the trip loco deliver empties and take away the fulls in one trip? Does anyone know, or can point me to a suitable website or book? Thanks in anticipation.
Now that my layout building is progressing, I figured it was time to start documenting progress on my exhibition dairy/creamery layout. My interest in rail-served dairies began when I saw the preserved Express Dairy milk tank at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. I purchased a model one, but then that kicked off the subsequent interest and paper trail, as often it does. Compared to some industries, prototype information is "relatively sparse". However, a few articles have been published over the years in the modelling press that give some idea of the scale of milk traffic until it's end. Many of these articles reference each other, it seems. A chance contact with a former employee of Wilts United Dairies brought me a King's ransom in primary source material on the prototype. This included original brochures and promotional material for individual depot sites, his own hand made notes and photographs, aerial photographs of pretty much every United Dairies site in the south of England, and in-house documents. From this wealth of information, I have designed a dairy layout. This primary material has informed track planning, building design, ancillary traffic and freight flows. The following aims I bore in mind: 1) It had to be exhibitable 2) It had to be able to allow for use of a wide range of eras and companies, to provide interest for me and observers. 3) I wanted to have reasonably prototypical train formations. Bearing this in mind, train lengths are dictated in part by motive power, so the layout was designed to accommodate a Class 52 Western (which is reasonably long in scale terms) so that the option was there to use it. From studying my primary source documents, most dairy sites did not change too much over the years, save for the addition here and there of some modern processing equipment. Track plans were often quite generous at some sites, especially Chard. Chard junction had a loop, and several sidings, which I have incorporated into my fictional design. Buildings are on the whole scratchbuilt to the best of my current abilities, using foam board, recycled card from work and covered with south eastern finecast brick plastic card. There are occasionally skale-bashed Hornby Skaledale buildings. A couple of modest railroad Bagnall shunters have been resprayed in Dairy colours. Buildings will be weathered by airbrush when I'm happy with my skills. Track is Peco Code 100, painted and weathered. The setting of the layout is a medium to large scale Express Dairy creamery, with milk and other products destined for London. It is designed in such a way as a portmanteau of features from Express and United Dairies buildings, from Appleby to Chard. It could be equally plausible as a Northern, Western or Southern region site. Panic not, fellow modellers, because time, money and space is of the essence, and a layout with geographically correct window dressing that can allow for a greater use of my collection of stuff is a winner in my eyes. As a bonus, former express passenger locos including A4s, Castles and West Country classes can all be used if desired. The creamery is set close to a country station, which is not represented on the layout. Traffic into the site would include empty milk tanks (which can be swapped for clean ones in a running session within the two-lane shed), cattle wagons, perishables vans, full brakes and siphons. Empty milk tanks arrive, and can be swapped for clean tanks. The dairy has it's own shunting loco. At Chard, about half a mile behind the dairy site was a large egg-factory, with big Wilts United Dairy egg branding on the side. Though egg or butter traffic was not to the same scale as milk, they could be perfectly viable in the correct historical setting. There are plenty of lines and sidings, based on actual practices at some sites; the aerial photos have proved invaluable. EDIT: My Flickr album shows most of these pictures and more in high resolution. https://www.flickr.com/gp/graemewatson/o25FSG