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Discussion in 'Infrastructure & Stations' started by Karhedron, 20 Dec 2010.
The bay at West Ealing is still there, albeit overgrown, behind platform 3.
I was a Fireman at Guildford in the 1960s, with Nine Elms depot being so short of staff I was often sent "on loan"to do the crap jobs that Nine Elms men did not want. These jobs included Clapham Waterloo empty stock working, shed shunting, P&D Preperation and Disposal. One of the better jobs was the Vauxhall milk where the tanks were unloaded in what is now the up Windsor Slow platform. You could snooze on the engine ( normally an M7 their nickname was a motor tank )for up to four hours while the tanks were emptied, some times you got relief and had not turned a wheel. The stainless steal pipes were laid along the platform so the platform could not be used for passenger trains. One day having got relief having been on loan with a Guildfod Driver whose spelling was even worse than mine, we were going home pass on a fast train to Guildford during the rush hour with a compartment full of comuters when he started making his Driver's ticket ( a daily work sheet) out. He then said in a loud voice " Bill how many K's in Vauxhall.
Thanks for putting these photos up - I have seen a number of references to milk trains serving Vauxhall and could never work out where they went to (assuming they served some siding or depot). It amazing to see them pumping milk into a pipe network on the actual platform. Any idea where the pipes then went to?
Yes, they dropped down through the platform into the bottling plant which was located in the arches underneath.
Here is an interesting one I have come across. This is the former United Dairies depot at Finchley Central (now in use as a car wash). The line to Mill Hill East is the lower one while the High Barnet Branch is towards the top of the picture.
I do not know if this facility ever had a rail connection although I am guessing not. There is a height difference of a couple of metres on the cutting side. Anyone shed any light on this?
Another one for the Album here. The United Dairies depot in Forest Hill was converted from a former brewery that had been used by the Air Training Corps.
Found this link on another forum.
Nice article about Wimbledon to Sutton line history.
Toward the end a picture of Morden South Express Dairy sidings and building and at the end a description of the dairy train workings.
I doubt if this helps much, as someone mentioned it earlier, but I've been led to believe that the Manifold Valley Line's principle source of income was from shipping milk. There were about 8 stations on the line, the majority of which had at least 1 siding, specifically for milk trucks. Check out...
...which shows the line. There is clearly some milk churns on a truck visible through the loco window.
A shot of Morden dairy tracked down on flikr
A few other random photos of milk trains also on flikr - some not so good quality, but one interesting shot of road-rail tankers on the move - apologies if anyone has listed any of these already
a good shot of a preserved milk van
also several shots on flikr from India and New Zealand of milk tanks by rail
Preserved museum stock tracked down on line seems to be found at
Covent Garden - Metropolitan milk van no3
Severn Valley - GWR milk brake 1399
York NRM - United Dairies 44057
GlosWarks - St Ivel DW3043
N Yorks Moors - Express Dairy B3192
Quainton - Unigate 2536
Keighley Worth Valley - 6 wheeler in departmental use ADW44082
Midland Rly Butterley - United Dairies ADW44018
Servern Valley - W2504
Rutland - underframe only B3176
Tyseley - under restoration 44069
Help or not, this was a great little film of a most interesting 2'6" railway. Opened in 1904, closed in 1934. And what a winding route it was, too!
I really enjoyed the hand-shunting of the standard-gauge car up onto the narrow-gauge flat car.
Just FYI - I counted 10 stations on the line inclusive from Waterhouses to Hulme End.
I also see it is still a hiking trail. Has anyone done the path?
The Manifold Valley is close to my home, I know it well.
The trackbed has been tarmaced over, a small part is open to motor vehicles, the rest only for cyclists and walkers. Swainsley tunnel is a particular attraction for kids, and for adults who appreciate it, it's noticeably higher than you would expect because of the transporter waggons.
There is nothing visible of the creamery at Ecton, although you can make out the platform edge of the old station and if you know what you are looking at, you can imagine the track layout . If anyone wants photos, I can get some in three or four weeks, but they won't add to the story of milk by rail, there's nothing relevant to see.
I would love to see some photos. Either links here or under a more appropriate topic.
Thanks for the offer...
At last, I've been able to visit the North end of the former Leek & Manifold railway.
They've done a good job of restoring the former Hulme End terminus - it was a council road maintenance depot, but almost nothing else is visible. You must use your imagination to see where the dairy was at Ecton, although it's not too difficult if you watch the file refered to above.
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Compare my photos of Ecton in 2011 with two similarly positioned shots from about 1930
added to my flickr photos at the above link
Two four wheel milk tanks ran every day from 1929 via Waterhouses, Leek, Ashbourne, Uttoxeter and Derby to Finsbury Park for United Dairies until September 1930. Ecton creamery finally closed in September 1932. The whole line closed after the 4.55pm train from Waterhouses and return on Saturday 12 March 1934
I have found some pictures of the creamery at Pont Llanio. Not in the best of shape now.
"British Railways Illustrated" magazine vol.21 no.6 March 2012 now on sale has a well illustrated article "Milk on the South Western" it's part 1 'to be continued' but doesn't say how many parts will follow. The next issue will be on sale from 29 March, presumably containg part 2.
Lots of detail of timings, loadings etc.
That is right. The MMB retained a small fleet of tankers and gave them a fairly spiffy refurbishment. They lived on the siding at Lostwithiel for a while and can be seen nicely here.
My grandfather used to talk about coming home from London to Kent in the late sixties in the early hours and having missed the last regular train, would catch the milk train home.
Did milk trains carry passengers, or were there effectively stowaways on freight trains? Or was the term "milk train" just being used for any late night passenger train (possibly with freight wagons added)?
Very much a generic term - you wouldnt move milk from London !
It could have been a mail and parcels / newspaper train. Many ran into the small hours from London terminii (and Manchester , where there were out based printers)
Interesting. I suspected it might be a generic term, but it's usage must have derived from somewhere.
If milk tankers came into London, would bottled milk ever go in the opposite direction?
Not bottled milk, no. "Pintas" had no insulation so once bottled they relied on being refrigerated to keep them fresh. Bottled milk usually went out on milk floats for delivery to people's doorstep.
There were plenty of bottling plants outside London to serve their own local areas. The majority received their milk by lorry from local farms but some were rail-served. Liverpool used to receive a milk train from Bangor until well after WW2.
Sometimes you could get milk going in odd directions. Some larger country creameries had facilities for processing milk into other products (butter, cheese, powdered milk etc). So in times of high production, these would often receive milk in by rail for processing.
There was a regular flow from the west country to Cumbria that lasted almost until the end of milk on the rails. I have not been able to find precise details but my guess is that it was bound for the creamery at Appleby and used for makign cheese. There is a nice shot of the empties returning to Swindon behind a class 40 (last picture on page).
Much of the milk was about 3 days old when consumed. (but obviously OK)
I tried to reinvent the milk traffic in the late 80's - the old tankers were a liability as were reduced to 35mph ! (we tried to sell modern VTG bogie tanks with offers of special rates from the West Country and Carlisle) - not interested , as apart from the power of road haulage , the pattern of milk production had changed such that much of Londons milk now came from the Home counties - West Wales etc making milk powder , cheese etc not bulk milk for transit.
The tanks were scrapped (thought the tanks themselves were re-sold to farms etc, some of the older ones were saved for preservation , - end of an era)
Traffic had been declining for years though....
Good to hear from someone who worked on getting milk back on the rails.
I remember a couple of trail runs from Chard many years ago. Sadly they never resulted in regular traffic. I also remember a plan to set up a reload depot at Semley using rail rather than long tom road tanks. The road lobby won the argument in that case.
I've unloaded many container tanks in Cornwall several years ago now but have often wonder if they could be transhipped by rail rather than road. In effect replacing rail tankers with containers that could either be off loaded in the dairy siding or road hauled to the final destination.
There used to be demountable road-rail milk tankers, you can see one in this shot here.
Part of the problem was one of reliability. Whilst railways did their best to treat milk as urgent, there were still plenty of incidents where a failed loco meant that milk arrive late and spoiled or missed the critical loading time at the bottling plant. The dairy companies ddin't trust the railways and started to take the traffic back into their own hands as soon as lorry tankers became available.
Lostwithiel opened in 1932 as Nestle creamery, later sold to Cow & Gate etc
The sidings were still named 'Nestle's' in the S Box in the 70's!
I believe the site is still fairly intact, the large buildings used for light industrial.
added photo link.
Ironic really as I believe the lostwithiel site still acts as a base for the bulk farm collection tankers for much of Cornwall. With the sidings still intact there could be a opportunity to move again by rail, subject, of course, to suitable tanks being available and the need for milk to be moved. I would guess that most of Cornwall's milk goes to Davidstow. However, given the state of the milk market at the moment and London contracts attracting a premium there might, yet again, be an opportunity for rail to deliver .
I have also heard talk/gossip that milk is coming in from France, in consumer packaging, via the tunnel. Business for rail, not much help to the British farmer.
There is a distribution depot operating from the site (Gregory)
There may be a possible use for the sidings in the future?
The goods loop is often used by Fowey clay trains.
A few more photos that may be of interest. Melksham was not directly connected to the railway as far as I can tell but I think it still dispatched milk by rail for a while.
And here is a nice shot of a T14 on a Vauxhall milk train around nationalisation. This is the earliest photo I have seen showing a milk train composed exclusively of tankers. I would guess this is because the bottling plant as Vauxhall did not handle churns as they would have to be manhandled through the station and then down a lot of stairs to the bottling plant which was located under the arches.
Looking back at this thread, I've realised I never came back with information from my WTT for 1970/71. There was a regular milk tanker train - 6E15 - from the WR to Ilford every day except Mondays. It ran via Kensington Olympia (02:44) to Channelsea Carriage Sidings (03:30) where an ER loco took over to take the train to Ilford (Arrival time not given!)
The Empties were worked back as 6M12 leaving Ilford at 13.50, Channelsea CS at 14:12, change to LMR loco and left at 14:30
The times on Sundays were a little different for the incoming train and rather later for the empties.
There is no mention of this train whatsoever in the WTT for 1974/74 that I have for the same area, so I assume it had stopped running by then.
Found this aerial view of Pont Llanio, and there's also info on Felinfach on the site.
There was a lecturer at Lampeter University who was a rail buff and had a lot of photos of the last days on the rails in that area but that was, of course, long before the internet era and unfortunately he's since retired and passed away so sadly they may be lost forever.
Never one to ignore a challenge I did indeed put pen to paper. The result was not a book but at least an article on modelling milk trains and facilities in the December 2012 issue of Railway modeller.