Just a quickie, in the UK milk was transported not only in churns but in
milk tanks which were on the whole express vehicles how was this done in the
USA? or was it done by rail at all?
Yes, in dedicated milk tank cars, most of which were enclosed in
boxcars; only the lettering on the car provided any clue as to its
contents. (Liquid oxygen was and is also carried in tankcats enclosed in
boxcars.) Borden had milk tank cars of a characteristic shape, models of
which have been offered from time to time. Google on "borden milk cars"
- you should find lots of info.
I've seen brass models of American milk tankers which didn't look like
regular tank cars. Don't know any details.
I suspect that in the churn era the distances would have been to long
- British vehicles ran at fast passenger speed instead of slow
freight, and were cooled by airflow through slatted or louvred sides.
It didn't get as hot as most parts of the US get in Summer, either.
In earlier days, it was also transported in milk cans of, IIRC,
5-25 gallon capacity. The farmers brought it to a platform and
the RRs loaded it into boxcars for transport to a dairy and left
the empty cans from the previous trip. Often there were
dedicated "milk trains" which did nothing else.
If you look up milk trains on Google, there should be some info
Milk was supplied to US cities by rail up thru the '60's, after which
the business went to trucks. Boston's milk came from as far away as
Wells River, Vermont. Some was shipped in bottles, some in standard (10
gal?) milk cans and a lot in bulk milk tankers.
Bulk tankers saved steam cleaning, loading and returning all the
cans. Health regs required steam cleaning of all containers before
reusing them. It was easier to clean one bulk tank than endless 10
Athearn and MDC offer US milk cars painted for a variety of dairies.
The Athearn car is their "express reefer", a 50 foot wood car with a
round roof. The MDC car is also 50 foot, but a different body style, a
pitched box car like roof. Both models have ice hatches which were not
prototypical for the tank cars. Bulk milk was chilled at the creamery,
loaded into tanks cold and relied upon the insulation of the tank to
stay cold in transit. No ice, no mechanical refrigeration. Naturally a
breakdown on a hot summer day could cost you the whole cargo if it
warmed up and spoiled.
Externally the tank cars looked a lot like the cars used for bottles
and cans. The tanks were glass lined for cleanliness and mounted on the
floor of an other wise ordinary express reefer. The milk trains were
priority traffic, and moved at a good clip to make it to market before
the cargo went bad. A fair number of milk trains were passenger trains,
perhaps one or two coaches at the end of 10 or 20 milk reefers.
On Mon, 21 Jun 2004 15:08:33 UTC, "Beowulf"
Milk in the standard cans was also shipped in express cars, i.e. in
passenger or mail trains. These were not express trains but were a
lot faster than freights and the milk was not run through the freight
Someone once mentioned something about the Borden "butterdish" milk cars.
Funaro & Camerlengo offers such a kit in HO.
I thought it was interesting that he should do it the same day a friend of mine
had ordered some milk car kits.
Two Percent, NJ
SC> > - British vehicles ran at fast passenger speed instead of slow
SC> > freight,
SC> While in the US, "milk train" is a synonym for slow coach (more due to
SC> stopping at every farm loading dock than sheer lack of velocity).
I suppose that 'Milk Run' is another term for this sort of thing (and
applies outside of railroading).
Robert Heller ||InterNet: firstname.lastname@example.org
I grew up on a dairy farm, and we never shipped milk in cans -- but we did
ship cream in 5 and 10 gallon cans. We had wired tags to put on the cans to
identify them and left them on the depot platform. The empty cans would
come back to us with our ID on them. Sometimes the cream got pretty rank,
sitting in the sun on the platform [since it was already several days old].
We usually shipped twice a week. Later, a local cream station bought the
cream and trucked it out. harrym
Borden had two styles of tank car. One was the familiar "butterdish"
style, which was created when they removed the wooden carbody from some
of their cars and replaced it with a metal cowl.
The other style of Borden car had two detachable tanks, which could be
loaded onto a truck for road transport.
None of which are even remotely accurate.
Apparently it is based on a drawing that appeared in RMC for March 1954.
As a model it has a number of shortcomings, the carbody is about a foot
too narrow, and the trucks should be 8' wheelbase, rather than 6'.
The MDC milk car I have seen is based on the Lehigh Valley cars, and has
a shallow radial roof. It is the better of the two kits, at least as far
as basic dimensional accuracy goes. About the only similar cars that
could be kitbashed from the MDC kit are the CN and NP cars built during
C&O had milk cans picked up from farms along the way. I have four milk cans
with brass placards on them which gave the farm name and the railroad name.
One of them makes a neat umbrella stand.
All the cans I have came from country auctions located near the Greenbrier
subdivision. I never did find out where the milk was shipped to.