Milk Car Question....

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Iron Goat, Aug 7, 2006.

  1. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    I am planning on having a Creamery operation on my layout, and I have a question about the milk cars (i.e.: Roundhouse models with dairy names like Hood, Borden, etc.). They appear to be standard wood reefers, but did they carry milk/cream in conventional milk cans, or did they have an internal glass/stainless tank for bulk transport?

    If there was an internal tank, how did they load the product ? I have seen the "butter dish" type milk cars before, and that got me to wondering about the processes involved. So far, my Google searches have left those questions unanswered, and since I got all my questions on Ore Mines answered here on the Gauge, I thought I would try again.

    Thanks, Bob :confused:
  2. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I'd imagine that the reefer cars DID carry the milk cans, it would be the only way it would make sense for loading and unloading!
  3. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Lot of the older "milk refeers" did have glass lined tanks, one one each end, inside an ice bunker. Some did carry the cans also.
    I'm guessing, that there was a funnel shaped filler neck which to dump the cans into the tanks.But thats just a guess.
    The only pics of "Butter dish milk" cars I've seen were on New York Central trains. I did see a pic of a NYC wreck, where the top of the butter dish fell of when the car tipped over. But the angle was so, You couldn't see what was behind the cover.
    Here's a yahoo group I found thats dedicated to milk trains, they probably have more info:
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    what era are you modiling there use to be a milk car or two on the head end of local passenger runs they had high speed trucks early on there were trains of just milk cars as a kid i can (just) rember my great uncle hauling cans of cream to the cordon depot to be loaded( i think) on to the baggage car .
  5. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Well, Bob, it took a little digging, but I found lots of info in the 1986 February and March issues of Railroad Model Craftsman. The cars that the Roundhouse models are patterned after had a 3000 gallon glass-lined tank in either end of the car. The original cars had removeable roofs, to allow for changeout of damaged tanks, but this feature was later eliminated on more recently built cars. The cars (and most milk cars, incidently) were insulated but had no ice bunkers. Where milk cans were used, they were either brought by the farmers to nearby stations for pickup, or were picked up from conveniently located platforms along the line. The cars were sometimes pre-cooled, or ice was spread over top of the full cans. Cars for carrying milk in cans could be boxcars, baggage cars, or reefers without ice in the bunkers, as the length of the trip was generally short and the milk was already cooled before shipment. The milk cans weighed 27 pounds empty and held 86 pounds of milk. This tare weight equal to almost 1/3 of the product weight was one of the reasons for going to the cars with the internal tanks. When the bulk cars were introduced, milk was taken by the farmers to local creameries, which had been set up by large dairy companies. Here, the milk was processed, then loaded into the glass-lined tanks for shipment to bottling plants in larger urban centres. The milk was loaded into the glass-lined tanks through a small, sliding access door over the side entry doors, using a loading hose. Unloading was through the bottom tank valves and a pipe out the main doorway, the tanks being canted slightly towards the centre of the car. Other equipment inside the centre of the car included piping for the brine coils used to cool the car at the creamery, electric lights, and agitation mechanisms to stir the milk within the tanks while the car was sitting at the receiving station. This distributed the butterfat throughout the milk and helped to keep the temperature even. This equipment was electrically operated, and was plugged in during loading.
    It's also mentioned that the space between the tanks was sometimes used to carry cheese or cream.
    While the milk cans used by the farmers were never completely replaced by these cars, especially in areas that didn't generate enough milk to justify the special cars, each farmer had to have two sets of milk cans in service: one set on hand for filling, and one set in transit. The bulk shipment cars also reduced the cost of shipping back the empty cans and proved to be a more sanitary way of handling the product.

  7. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

  8. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    Thanks, Doc and Jim for the great information.... that will help immensily. Bob

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