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Milk Train Operation, West Country.


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Not so much concerned about the minutiae of treating the milk, I just want to get an idea of how the piping was arranged to drain the tanks for onward delivery.  I have a creamery on my layout (Scalescenes kit) and a milk train.

 

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I have to build the brake (Thompson 6 wheeler).

 

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Thanks for the pics, they will be helpful.

 

John

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It has crossed my mind occasionally  (not that I think too much on the matter!) that maybe milk tanks were filled from both the bottom and the top....

Fill it up via the top for the  majority of the tank capacity and then top it off from the bottom to prevent "foaming"  (if that makes sense).

 

The emtying at the "town end" was obviously done from the bottom hoses.

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The excellent Cornwall Railway Society website has an interesting feature on the working of the dairy at St Erth.

 

It is to be found here at the section "More About Milk" part way down the page (but plenty of milk tank pictures to look at as you scroll). It includes information about shunting, loading and cleaning the tanks.

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This is a fascinating topic. My focus is an earlier period, the late 20's and early 30's. Does anybody know much about this time and what a Milk train (either up or down) would have looked like in the Devon area? 

 

I would love to know whether Castles or Stars were seen on duty. And how many tankers were normal. And whether they were a mix of dairies or all the same livery. And what sort of Siphons and Brakes may have been involved too.

 

I am also assuming that sometimes a tanker or 2 were attached to one of the Newspaper trains or even some of the relied express formations. If there is any photographic evidence then please let me know.

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I don't have anything on Devon unfortunately. The closest I have is the Whitland milk train in 1938. This is made up of a mix of milk tanks, Siphon Gs and Siphon Js as well as 2 passenger brake vans. Working backwards in time, the proportion of tankers would have dropped to zero by 1927. A lot depends on the date as many of the creameries in Devon and Cornwall only opened in the 30s while others switched to tanks around this time. Here are some dates that may be of interest.

 

Penzance (no record)

St Erth Primrose dairy didn't open until after 1936 (I don't have a date but I know it was still a china clay works in that year).

Dolcoath/Cambourne MMB creamery opened in 1937.

Lostwithiel opened in 1932

Saltash Daws opened in 1932

Lifton opened in 1917, not sure when they started dispatching tanks

Totnes Daws opened in 1932

Hemyock started dispatching milk to London in Victorian times and introduced tanks in 1932

 

So in summary, there would have been very little milk coming out of Cornwall prior to 1932 and only Hemyock sending significant amounts from Devon. Tanks would only have appeared from 1932 onwards. Prior to that it would have been Siphons, probably a mix of Siphon Gs with some older types mixed in.

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1 hour ago, Karhedron said:

So in summary, there would have been very little milk coming out of Cornwall prior to 1932 and only Hemyock sending significant amounts from Devon. Tanks would only have appeared from 1932 onwards. Prior to that it would have been Siphons, probably a mix of Siphon Gs with some older types mixed in.

 

That is great info! Many thanks

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On reflection I may be underestimating the amount of churn traffic that could have been loaded at stations prior to the introduction of the large creameries built to handle tanks.

 

I have come across this shot of a down empties milk train in 1931 consisting mostly of assorted siphons (some of them looking quite elderly). No indication if this is for South Wales or the West Country but if you are looking for something to capture the feeling, this is pretty good.

 

https://www.rail-online.co.uk/p120011231/hd60b3ac1#hd60b3ac1

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On 19/07/2020 at 10:24, vonmarshall said:

This is a fascinating topic. My focus is an earlier period, the late 20's and early 30's. Does anybody know much about this time and what a Milk train (either up or down) would have looked like in the Devon area? 

 

I would love to know whether Castles or Stars were seen on duty. And how many tankers were normal. And whether they were a mix of dairies or all the same livery. And what sort of Siphons and Brakes may have been involved too.

 

I am also assuming that sometimes a tanker or 2 were attached to one of the Newspaper trains or even some of the relied express formations. If there is any photographic evidence then please let me know.

The workings from South-West Wales certainly used Castles in later years, replacing Counties at Felin-Fran (north of Swansea.)

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  • 3 months later...

My layout is set in Dorset, in the Poole/Bournemouth area in the late 50s/early 60s.  I really like the idea of running a few 6-wheel milk tankers, but did they ever stray into this area, or would all the SR traffic have been routed via Salisbury?   

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Following the closure of the S&D in 1966, milk traffic from Bailey Gate continued for three more years but was worked southward to the ex-LSWR mainline at Broadstone. I don't know if that is too late to be of interest to you.

 

Some dairy produce was collected from the diary at Corfe and made its way all the way to Kent to serve the Medway ports but I think this was churn traffic rather than tankers.

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