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The sound of the up milk, blasting out of Kennaway Tunnel with a Western, and later, 50s on the front, was soooo distinctive.  The heavily laden 3 axle tanks produced a rapid syncopated clatter over any rail joints and they just sounded fast.   I missed the Milks massively when they disappeared around 1980.

 

They, along with Siphon Gs really seemed to link back to the days of steam.  Throw in the lower quadrant signal arm dropping and bouncing just outside Kennaway, and the sound of the signal wires and pulleys tightening and slacking and there's a whole load of sounds, as well as sights, long gone.  Very happy memories.

 

Cracking thread chaps.  

 

Matt W

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You wouldn’t think that such a “mundane” topic, would spark such brilliant posts. I think knowledge of the ins and outs of this is reserved for a privileged few. Thanks to everyone who has posted.

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17 hours ago, Paddy said:

Thanks @Aire Head - thought so.  I wonder if there were any ASDA milk tanks? ;)

 

Kind regards

 

Paddy

 

I guess there asda be some somewhere.

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1 hour ago, Marmight said:

You wouldn’t think that such a “mundane” topic, would spark such brilliant posts. I think knowledge of the ins and outs of this is reserved for a privileged few. Thanks to everyone who has posted.

Well we do have the cream of the railway experts on this forum :)

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On 08/10/2020 at 10:08, Karhedron said:

 

The MMB refurbished milk tanks were only used briefly in 1981 to transport excess cream from Chard to Stowmarket 

 

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, well I would've been 15 at the time....

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3 hours ago, Marmight said:

You wouldn’t think that such a “mundane” topic, would spark such brilliant posts. I think knowledge of the ins and outs of this is reserved for a privileged few. Thanks to everyone who has posted.

 

Milk is something of a niche subject. The trains often ran at odd hours to suit milking times and get the milk to London in time for the morning milk round. Despite often being hauled by express passenger locos, the tanks tended to be grubby in BR days. The creameries and bottling plants that dispatched and received the tanks were often unobtrusive industrial buildings (although there were a handful of "showpiece" facilities such as Wood Lane, Rossmore Road, Torrington and Moreton-in-Marsh which all had striking art deco buildings).

 

Overall it seems to have been a traffic that attracted little attention, despite the fact that the majority of milk consumed in the capital arrived by rail for many years. It is one of those subjects that seems simple on the surface but has a wealth of detail just waiting to be unpicked. Different facets of the hobby appeal to different people but researching the history of the real thing is almost as much fun as modelling it for me.

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On 08/10/2020 at 10:08, Karhedron said:

 

I can't think who you might be referring to. :jester:

 

The MMB refurbished milk tanks were only used briefly in 1981 to transport excess cream from Chard to Stowmarket for processing. Sadly the flow was badly organised by both the MMB and BR. The Chard shunter was notoriously unreliable meaning the tankers were often late being marshalled. BR staff had to drive down from Westbury shed to man the loco. It took lorry turns away from Chard which upset the local drivers. Lastly, there were no washout facilities at Stowmarket. This meant the used tankers were returned to Chard with the residual milk having congealed into a nasty sticky mess at the bottom of the tanks. Some poor soul was then tasked with climbing in to clean out the tanks with a brush and hose.

 

The flow ended after about 6 weeks of operation but photos of it in action survive.

 

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/uploads/7/6/8/3/7683812/1183751_1_orig.jpg

 

1123 hard at work on the climb past Ammerham between Chard Jnc and Crewkerne 23rd August 1981 

Matt, (Karhedron),  do you know if the ones used on that ill fated Chard to Stowmarket were the the tanks that lingered on at the dairy at Lostwithiel till about 1987 ?  Seen in the third image at this link to the ever brilliant Cornish Railways Website:

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/lostwithiel-exc-to-sr-germans.html

 

I thought they looked fantastic  long before the silver bullet bogie clay wagons. 

 

Mind you, they look like 4 wheeled under frames.

 

The pictures of the Chard flow you mentioned are clearly 6 wheeled - so were there others which were produced for flows which never came ? What might have been eh ?

 

Best regards

 

Matt W

 

Edited by D826
Stating the bleeding obvious
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28 minutes ago, D826 said:

Matt, (Karhedron),  do you know if the ones used on that ill fated Chard to Stowmarket were the the tanks that lingered on at the dairy at Lostwithiel till about 1987 ?  Seen in the third image at this link to the ever brilliant Cornish Railways Website:

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/lostwithiel-exc-to-sr-germans.html

 

I thought they looked fantastic  long before the silver bullet bogie clay wagons. 

 

Mind you, they look like 4 wheeled under frames.

 

The pictures of the Chard flow you mentioned are clearly 6 wheeled - so were there others which were produced for flows which never came ? What might have been eh ?

 

Best regards

 

Matt W

 

Both 4 and 6 wheel chassis were used; the six-wheelers from milk-tanks, and four-wheelers from 45t tank wagons.

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Yes, the rake parked at Lostwithiel was part of the same reserve fleet. They were not new but heavily refurbished and came in 2 different diagrams. The MMB selected 40 ex 6-wheel milk tanks and 26 ex 4-wheel class B tank wagon frames with barrels from earlier milk wagons and clad them in stainless steel. The refurbished 4-wheelers were classified TRV and the 6-wheelers TMV.

 

p816743923-3.jpg

 

p667624295-3.jpg

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Great info chaps.

 

Does anyone know if the 4 wheel ones at Lostwithiel ever ran in revenue earning service ? 

 

(My phone does strange things to messages on here so excuse any extracts of previous posts).

 

Matt (Luddite) W

 

On 08/10/2020 at 10:08, Karhedron said:

 

 

 

Edited by D826
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1 hour ago, D826 said:

Does anyone know if the 4 wheel ones at Lostwithiel ever ran in revenue earning service ? 

 

I have only seen photos of the 6-wheeled ones on the Chard-Stowmarket workings but it is possible that the 4-wheelers were used too. There is no evidence of the 4-wheelers being used but one photo is all it would take....

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On 08/10/2020 at 17:32, Wickham Green too said:

As with most NPCS the basic livery was grot - at least in 1975 ...... in this case grot over 'StIvel'. ( tankers - and loco - not identified

 

 

8.18.jpg

I'm just amazed that vehicles that were designed to carry such sensitive foodstuffs were allowed to get quite so dirty. You would have thought this was one type of vehicle to keep clean.

 

Were all tanks discharged via the end valve, and if so how was the tank cleaned out? Flushesd from the top with water?

Ian

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4 minutes ago, ikcdab said:

I'm just amazed that vehicles that were designed to carry such sensitive foodstuffs were allowed to get quite so dirty. You would have thought this was one type of vehicle to keep clean.

Ian

But the cleaning regime for the insides, which is where it really matters, were famously rigorous. And must have been effective for the milk to have been acceptable to drink. A Windsor-lines platform at Vauxhall comes to mind, w water pipes and men in special garb. 

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4 minutes ago, Oldddudders said:

But the cleaning regime for the insides, which is where it really matters, were famously rigorous. And must have been effective for the milk to have been acceptable to drink. A Windsor-lines platform at Vauxhall comes to mind, w water pipes and men in special garb. 

Yes, that's true, I'm just thinking about public perceptions. Maybe I'm looking at it too much with modern H&S rules. 

Ian

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Perceptions were important “back in the day”, because milk could be a significant carrier of disease if not handled correctly.
 

In the 1930s the dairies made a really big thing of the tank wagons partly because they were more hygienic than a bunch of often grubby old churns, and they seem to have tried to keep them clean externally for that reason and to promote their names.

 

To me, it seems that it all went to pot during WW2 and after when labour became scarce/expensive. 
 

The ‘St Ivel’ re-brand and re-paint c1967 was a deliberate attempt to return to a clean, smart image for rail tanks, which sadly seems again to have fallen victim to the cost of cleanliness.

Edited by Nearholmer
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10 hours ago, ikcdab said:

Were all tanks discharged via the end valve, and if so how was the tank cleaned out? Flushesd from the top with water?

 

Spot on on both counts. You can see the end valve pretty clearly here on this preserved example.

 

express-dairy-milk-transportation-tanker

 

Cleaning was done via the large manhole cover at the top. I presume it was originally a manual process but some facilities eventually received automatic cleaners. You can see the one at St Erth in operation in this photo. It seems to have splashed quite a lot.

 

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/uploads/7/6/8/3/7683812/3297982_orig.jpg

 

In addition to rinsing, tanks were also cleaned with steam lances to sterilise them. You can see one in use on the nearest tanker in this shot at Vauxhall in 1975.

 

5375845579_36bb121a2f_b.jpg

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23 hours ago, Karhedron said:

 

Spot on on both counts. You can see the end valve pretty clearly here on this preserved example.

 

express-dairy-milk-transportation-tanker

 

Cleaning was done via the large manhole cover at the top. I presume it was originally a manual process but some facilities eventually received automatic cleaners. You can see the one at St Erth in operation in this photo. It seems to have splashed quite a lot.

 

http://www.cornwallrailwaysociety.org.uk/uploads/7/6/8/3/7683812/3297982_orig.jpg

 

In addition to rinsing, tanks were also cleaned with steam lances to sterilise them. You can see one in use on the nearest tanker in this shot at Vauxhall in 1975.

 

5375845579_36bb121a2f_b.jpg

Were they similar to the Butterworth tank cleaning machines used at sea on oil tankers?

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1 hour ago, 62613 said:

Were they similar to the Butterworth tank cleaning machines used at sea on oil tankers?

 

I am afraid I don't know but I would expect something along those lines.

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This is a really interesting thread, thank you!

 

Was the milk loaded through the manhole at the top?  How did they stop other stuff falling through the hole and contaminating the milk?  
 

Could tankers be loaded directly from road tankers or did they have to go via some sort of dairy first?

 

Sorry if these were really silly questions!

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The creamery at Torrington was some way from the station, so lorries would come into the goods yard to load into the tank wagons. Originally the line through the goods shed was used with only about 3 wagons able to be loaded.

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.disused-stations.org.uk%2Ft%2Ftorrington%2Ftorrington(alsop9.1967)old4.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.disused-stations.org.uk%2Ft%2Ftorrington%2Findex4.html&docid=UsNfQa_VmwM4VM&tbnid=Qb1tXK7DwldBdM&vet=1&source=sh%2Fx%2Fim

Towards thed end of traffic, the station platform had pipework fitted over it an the lorries could park on the forecourt. Can't find pictures of this online but certainly in one of my books - bit late to be looking now!

I believe a similar arrangement of a siding, remote from the creamery, with loading from lorries existed at Dolcoath in Cornwall.

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The two-axle TRV/TRF tanks did see some use. In 1984 a short-term contract saw a new milk train start from Swindon to Carmarthen. The Swindon loading point had been busy from the 1970s, sending milk to West Wales, Cornwall and Carlisle to suit creamery capacity. At Carmarthen the milk was transferred to road tankers and delivered to the Green Grove creamery at Felin Fach. The refurbished two-axle tanks were in pool 0345 at the time while the three-axle refurbished versions were, at the same time, working to and from Whitland.

 

Hope that helps?

 

Hywel

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