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The brake van looks as if it's a diagram D530 Midland 6 Wheel brake van. That might well have carried churns (kits) of specialised milk such as Jersey milk or cream. That's just speculation on my part but would be a possible use for a van. Also the 6 wheeler would have the same speed limit as the tankers.

 

Jamie

 

It is possible the brake van was also carrying dairy produce but not necessarily. A passenger rated brake vehicle was required for the Guard to travel in. One of the reason the LMS/MR favoured 6-wheelers on milk trains was because there often wasn't any extra commodities to carry. A 6-wheeler was lighter than a bogie vehicle and so less motive power was wasted.

 

Also the brake vehicle would have been heated for the Guard's comfort in cold weather, probably not the conditions you want to carry easily spoiled dairy produce in.

 

Here are some more milk trains for inspiration

 

http://www.warwickshirerailways.com/lms/lnwr_tt1218.htm

 

http://www.warwickshirerailways.com/lms/lnwr_tt1215.htm

 

http://www.warwickshirerailways.com/lms/lnwrns1701.htm

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kerryp28/6709996375/

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/kerryp28/6223085256/

 

lnwr_nupa1194.jpg

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Posted (edited)
On 18/01/2016 at 18:53, RANGERS said:

Where was the shot of the 40 taken? I'd have thought by that time, all the remaining milk traffic would have been concentrated on the Western but the 40 suggests an inter-regional train.

 

@Karhedrontheres another photo and some more info on this train here 

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johndedman/24041884477/in/album-72157669286823982/

 

Edited by Phil Bullock
Deletion of incorrect link
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Hi

 

Two points of clarification please.

 

I have read that "After 1959 four- and six-wheeled goods vehicles were banned from passenger trains" yes I have further read that well into the BR era milk tanks were attached to passenger trains, particularly when empty. Can someone help with is, thanks.

 

The other question, there were two trains to London from the West Country, I know several branches fed into larger stations like Exeter, however how long were these trains to London, arriving at Clapham Jn, I have read they may have only been 8 tanks long? 

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I think the number of tanks varied quite markedly by time of year and according to demand in London, and declined over the years as milk logistics changed, but I've certainly seen as few as eight, four for Vauxhall and four for Morden, at Clapham Junction in the 1970s.

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Thanks, but in peak times how many tanks per train, with say a Merchant Navy on, I've read that each tank was the equivalent of a fully loaded coach once loaded with milk, so does this mean a maximum of around 12-14? I know empty they ran as up to 30 tank wagons.

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2 hours ago, mikesndbs said:

I have read that "After 1959 four- and six-wheeled goods vehicles were banned from passenger trains" yes I have further read that well into the BR era milk tanks were attached to passenger trains, particularly when empty. Can someone help with is, thanks.

 

Presumably they were classed as NPCS not goods stock? Along with horseboxes etc. 

Edited by Compound2632
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10 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

 

Presumably they were classed as NPCS not goods stock? Along with horseboxes etc. 

 

Hi, they were able to run at passenger speeds and before 1959 in passenger trains, but after 1959?

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There are multiple "milk" threads on RMWeb, but you might do better in the above than in this one for the specifics of west country trains.

 

Stove R six wheel vans were definitely used on milk trains later than 1959 ....... as per that photo.

 

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4 hours ago, mikesndbs said:

Hi, they were able to run at passenger speeds and before 1959 in passenger trains, but after 1959?

 

Yes, milk tanks were classed as NPCCS so were not affected by the rules changes in 1959. Milk tanks continued to be included in passenger trains at least until the mid 60s.

 

This photo shows the train from Carmarthen to Aberystwyth in 1964. There are only 2 coaches but 8 empty milk tanks. 4 would be dropped off at Lampeter where they would be tripped to the Green Grove creamery near Felin Fach on the Aberaeron branch. The other 4 would be dropped off at Pont Llanio. Once fill, they would be picked up by the corresponding south-bound service and combined with tanks from Carmarthen to be attached to the Whitland -Kensington milk train.

 

FKw0jua9rWF20nwVHNJiZLQKYFNF3wjQmddgWY8F

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Into the '60s, it would depend on the speed of the service as to whether it could have 4- or 6-wheel vehicles.

WTTs of the time will show whether they were allowed, the restrictions on 4-wheelers became more strict other the years - minimum wheelbase became longer and there may have been extra conditions like roller bearings required.

The faster expresses would have the 'spade' or 'double spade' symbols detailing what could and couldn't be used, up to 'N.F.W' which meant 'no 4-wheel vehicles'.

Aberdeen-Glasgow trains (not the 3-hr trains) in the '60s sometimes had an X-FISH (6-whl) on the back, transferred at Perth or Stirling to a southbound WCML service

 

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OK then lets have a little sum up.

Milk moved by churns initially 17 gallon wooden ones much like barrels.

4 wheel tankers until 1937 when these were all converted to 6 wheel types for stability and milk protection. 

Churns changed to metal and 10 gallons, often picked up and stacked two high in Siphon vans.

Later changed to farm storage around 1973, road tankers picked up and then 3500 gallon rail tanks filled.

These loaded tank wagons weighed in the same as a fully loaded coach.

Train limited by available loco but typical pre-BR day trains included up to 14 tank wagons and a fast brake such as a Queen Mary or passenger brake. 

BR diesel days up to 15 tank wagons.

 

How is that looking?

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1 hour ago, mikesndbs said:

Milk moved by churns initially 17 gallon wooden ones much like barrels.

 

Galvanised iron. See http://www.gwr.org.uk/nochurns.html.

 

1 hour ago, mikesndbs said:

Churns changed to metal and 10 gallons

 

c. 1930s. I can recall these still being the means of transporting milk from a Lunesdale hill farm in the late 1970s, with collection from a roadside stand.

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The churns used were galvanised steel, originally 17 gallon but later 10 gallon to make handling easier and allow double-stacking. Their use was pioneered by Express Dairies in the 1870s. If wooden churns were ever used on the railways, it would have been in small numbers in the very early days.

 

4-wheeled tanks were introduced in 1927 but concerns were noted with rough riding. The 6-wheeled pattern was introduced in 1931 and the earlier ones were all rebuilt by 1937. I am not sure if any of the chassis was rebuilt or if this process simply involved mounting the existing tanks on entirely new chassis.

 

Churns were collected by lorry and taken to country creameries. Each churn was checked for freshness and tested for tuberculin. Once deemed safe, it was pasteurised, chilled and then pumped into a storage tank to await its tank to London.

 

Milk tank traffic mostly ran to London but not exclusively so. In summer, excess production was often routed to creameries with cheese factories attached to processing, After nationalisation, other means of preserving milk such as spray-drying had been introduced. Some large creameries with processing facilities attached were net dispatchers in the winter to maintain supplies of fresh milk into London but net recipients in summer to adsorb excess production for processing.

 

Loaded tank wagons weight 28 tons, close to the weight of a passenger coach. The normal limit for full tanks was around 14 per train but far shorter ones could be seen. Milk trains tended to start off with a small number of tanks and pick up more en-route to London. The Penzance - Kensington milk train normally left Penzance with just 2 tanks and a full brake but quickly picked up more at St Erth, Dolcoath and Lostwithiel before facing the daunting south Devon banks. Trains of empties could be longer.

 

Farm chilling was pretty much the death-knell for milk by rails. Road transport was already cheaper than rail by that point and the ability of farms to chill milk on-site pretty much ended the need for local concentration points. Each farm could chill its own milk and send it straight to the bottling plant by lorry.

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Churn traffic on the rails itself started to decline as soon as tanks were introduced. Churns were labour intensive, more prone to contamination and harder to keep cool on long journeys than tanks. In hot weather, churns could warm by over 10 degrees on the journey to London whereas a tank would typically warm by 1 degree at most,

 

WW2 interrupted the dairy industry's modernisation to tanks somewhat meaning churn traffic lingered on longer than the dairy companies would probably have wished. The ASLEF strike in 1955 really put the writing on the writing on the wall for churns but small amounts of residual traffic lingered into the 1960s. As far as I can tell, the final abolition of churn traffic came in 1963 when the MMB and BRB signed the "Western Agreement". This basically concentrated milk flows into London from the largest dairies from South Wales and South West.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, mikesndbs said:

OK then lets have a little sum up.

Milk moved by churns initially 17 gallon wooden ones much like barrels.

4 wheel tankers until 1937 when these were all converted to 6 wheel types for stability and milk protection. 

Churns changed to metal and 10 gallons, often picked up and stacked two high in Siphon vans.

Later changed to farm storage around 1973, road tankers picked up and then 3500 gallon rail tanks filled.

These loaded tank wagons weighed in the same as a fully loaded coach.

Train limited by available loco but typical pre-BR day trains included up to 14 tank wagons and a fast brake such as a Queen Mary or passenger brake. 

BR diesel days up to 15 tank wagons.

 

How is that looking?


A few more than 15 behind 40032 on MIAC..... but full or empties? 
 

 

Edited by Phil Bullock
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13 hours ago, Karhedron said:

The churns used were galvanised steel, originally 17 gallon but later 10 gallon to make handling easier and allow double-stacking. Their use was pioneered by Express Dairies in the 1870s. If wooden churns were ever used on the railways, it would have been in small numbers in the very early days.

 

I have this:

The farmers used a tall conical wooden container to 'churn' the milk to make butter, this was made up of staves bound with metal hoops (technically a 'cask') and this proved to be preferable for the railways to transport. It held a lot more milk (about seventeen gallons) and its conical shape made it less likely to spill or fall over. These wooden churns were intrinsically heavy however and from the 1850's a steel version was introduced from America and soon became the standard. The name churn was retained for these containers (the Americans called them 'cans') although they were not used for making butter.

The milk churn was a standard size, the older galvanised iron conical type held 17 gallons, the cylindrical type with the mushroom shaped lid introduced in the 1930's held ten gallons.

 

 

 

 

13 hours ago, Karhedron said:

 

4-wheeled tanks were introduced in 1927 but concerns were noted with rough riding. The 6-wheeled pattern was introduced in 1931 and the earlier ones were all rebuilt by 1937. I am not sure if any of the chassis was rebuilt or if this process simply involved mounting the existing tanks on entirely new chassis.

 

I have read that many were rebuilt adding the center axle.

 

 

13 hours ago, Karhedron said:

Churns were collected by lorry and taken to country creameries. Each churn was checked for freshness and tested for tuberculin. Once deemed safe, it was pasteurised, chilled and then pumped into a storage tank to await its tank to London.

 

I have read that each churn was marked showing the origin etc, many small stations would have churns turn up delivered by local horse and cart for transfer to trains and onward to the dairies, Siphons were the principle van used for this, but there were some early experiments with MICA vans to keep the milk chilled.

 

13 hours ago, Karhedron said:

 

Milk tank traffic mostly ran to London but not exclusively so. In summer, excess production was often routed to creameries with cheese factories attached to processing, After nationalisation, other means of preserving milk such as spray-drying had been introduced. Some large creameries with processing facilities attached were net dispatchers in the winter to maintain supplies of fresh milk into London but net recipients in summer to adsorb excess production for processing.

 

Loaded tank wagons weight 28 tons, close to the weight of a passenger coach. The normal limit for full tanks was around 14 per train but far shorter ones could be seen. Milk trains tended to start off with a small number of tanks and pick up more en-route to London. The Penzance - Kensington milk train normally left Penzance with just 2 tanks and a full brake but quickly picked up more at St Erth, Dolcoath and Lostwithiel before facing the daunting south Devon banks. Trains of empties could be longer.

 

Farm chilling was pretty much the death-knell for milk by rails. Road transport was already cheaper than rail by that point and the ability of farms to chill milk on-site pretty much ended the need for local concentration points. Each farm could chill its own milk and send it straight to the bottling plant by lorry.

 

This is a very interesting discussion.

I am haunted by the sound of the milk churns being moved from the dairy to the curb side pick up point on the farm my family stayed at in 1976/77 in Ashburton  Devon, the old father would trundle one churn at a time on a old sack cart over the cobbles in the court yard, followed by the daughter (Anne) an impressive lady, heaving a churn in each hand!

 

Agree on the pick ups en-route, also that the empty trains ran back from London with up to 17 wagons.

 

What is less clear is how long after 1959 the tank wagons were permitted on the back of branch passenger trains?

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2 hours ago, mikesndbs said:

have read that many were rebuilt adding the center axle.


I’m not convinced by this because the frames look different lengths to me, but it would take a detailed comparison of drawings to be sure.

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The milk tank discussion seems to be focused on traffic to London. The inhabitants of other cities and towns consumed milk; was there milk tank traffic to these or were they supplied by churn only?

 

Here are a couple of photos of milk traffic to a major industrial user, in the 17 gallon churn era, from The Birmingham Mail website:

 

Clearly a delivery; Midland milk vans plus a LNWR 6-wheel passenger brake van: 

 

Cadbury-railway-system-5.jpg

 

Empties, fro the way they're stacked. Are they being transferred from cart to loading dock for return shipment by goods train, in an open wagon?

 

Cadbury-railway-system-1.jpg

Edited by Compound2632
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7 minutes ago, Compound2632 said:

The milk tank discussion seems to be focused on traffic to London. The inhabitants of other cities and towns consumed milk; was there milk tank traffic to these or were they supplied by churn only?

 

Here are a couple of photos of milk traffic to a major industrial user, in the 17 gallon churn era, from The Birmingham Mail website:

 

Clearly a delivery; Midland milk vans plus a LNWR 6-wheel passenger brake van: 

 

Cadbury-railway-system-5.jpg

 

Empties, fro the way they're stacked. Are they being transferred from cart to loading dock for return shipment by goods train, in an open wagon?

 

Cadbury-railway-system-1.jpg

 

What wonderful images! lovely

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I think what the excellent summary by Steve Banks (link early in this thread) tells us is that for cities other than London the traffic progressed directly from churn by rail to road tankers, rather than rail tankers.

 

Road tankers also took over some of the shorter flows into London quite early - see for instance the thread about flows from Horam in East Sussex.

 

Cheese and dried milk factories took rail tanks though.


I really fancy some chocolate now!

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On 16/03/2020 at 19:24, Phil Bullock said:

 

@Karhedrontheres another photo and some more info on this train here 

 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/johndedman/24041884477/in/album-72157669286823982/

 

 

On 18/01/2016 at 18:53, RANGERS said:

Where was the shot of the 40 taken? I'd have thought by that time, all the remaining milk traffic would have been concentrated on the Western but the 40 suggests an inter-regional train.

 

This may well have been covered elsewhere but if it hasn't, the Carlisle-Swindon train probably changed from Electric to diesel at possibly Bescot or Coventry.  There is a published photo of a class 85 on a train of milk tanks somewhere around Darlaston, just north of Bescot.  BR didn't run much long distance traffic with diesels under the wires so I am guessing the milk train was worked into the W Mids by AC, swapping to diesel.     

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I had a quick skiff of a 1961 LMR Midland PTM book and on p.1 under the vehicle codes is 'MILTA' for a milk tank.

Haven't yet had a chance to look for any trains that have these in the formation.

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10 hours ago, mikesndbs said:

What is less clear is how long after 1959 the tank wagons were permitted on the back of branch passenger trains?

 

The Caramarthen - Aberystwith line was closed to passengers in late 1964 after flooding washed away the tracks at Strata Florida so that would have been the cut-off in west Wales. The other place that regaularly ran milk trains with passenger coaches was the Somerset and Dorset. This closed to passengers in 1966 so that was probably the last occurrence of this sort of formation.

 

In both cases, portions of the lines remained open to serve the dairies. I guess milk for London was more profitable than passengers. :D 

 

10 hours ago, mikesndbs said:

I have read that many were rebuilt adding the center axle.

 

No, there was definitely a lot more work than just adding an extra axle. The wheelbase for the original 4-wheelers was 10'8".

 

united-dairies-milk-tank-1927-10711605.j

 

The 6 wheelers all had a 13' wheelbase, see below.

 

10711607_450_450_7541_0_fit_0_8e488ca1eb

 

. You would have a hard job cutting and stretching the  frame and all the brake equipment, It would be much simpler to build new 6-wheeled chassis and reuse the 4-wheel ones on some other vehicle where high speed running was not required.

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