Milk Trains and Traffic

Jeff Wilson
Item #12815

Understand all the aspects of milk and dairy traffic in this new book dedicated to milk trains and operations. This book is a key source for railfans and rail historians, as well as modelers who want to add creameries or milk platforms to their layouts.

has been added to your cart.
An unexpected error has occurred and we are unable to process your request at this time.

Milk was once an important commodity for the railroads. Before refrigeration became mainstream, high-speed delivery was critical. Trains carried butter, milk and cheese from small town collecting stations and creameries to the production creameries in the big cities.

In Milk Trains and Traffic, explore how these creameries operated, how dairy products were processed, and how everything evolved over time. Understand all the aspects of milk and dairy traffic through the use of photography in the only book on the market dedicated to milk trains and operations. This book is a key source for railfans and rail historians, as well as modelers who want to add creameries or milk platforms to their layouts.

Author: Jeff Wilson
Size: 8.25 x 10.75
Pages: 96
Author Bio
Jeff Wilson has written more than 30 books on railroads and model railroading. He enjoys many facets of the hobby, especially building structures and detailing locomotives, as well as photographing both real and model railroads.
Table of Contents
1. History of milk and dairy operations
2. Creameries and dairy processing plants
3. Railroad-owned milk cars
4. Milk tank cars and containers
5. Milk train operations
6. Milk and dairy trucks

Milk Trains and Traffic is a new book from Kalmbach Media. It is part of the Kalmbach series Model Railroaders Guide to Industries. Authored by prolific railroad author and modeler Jeff Wilson, this 93-page book contains scores of mainly black-and-white photos, and a few color ones.

Milk Trains and Traffic is presented through 93 pages in six chapters. The text is supported with graphics. Sidebars and text boxes highlight specific topics, as do charts, illustrations, and tables. Throughout the book are callouts of topics including:

    • Traction companies
    • Milk tank car classes
    • Ownership and leasing
    • Milk car classes
    • Whole milk sold by state, 1929 and 1939
    • Milk and dairy timeline

Mr. Wilson introduces the History of milk and dairy operations with a brief overview of the need for milk traffic - the growth of urbanization and industrial revolution. The 15-page chapter begins in 8000 BC and examines the history of human consumption of dairy products. The story continues with milking by hand succeeded by milking machine, health and purity progress, growth of cow herds, and industrial milk operations. Creameries and dairy processing plants is an educational chapter which presents the physical plant and accessories of dairy production. It describes and illustrates design and workings of small neighborhood dairy receiving facilities as well as huge multi-story industrial plants. The change from manual to automated mechanical processing is discussed, as is the design of milk cans. It even touches upon the affect of anti-pollution requirements and the effect on the industry.

Railroad-owned milk cars is an interesting 14-page overview of the rolling stock that transported the industry. It presents the designs, equipment, and appearances of the cars. Further innovations resulted in individual milk cans supplanted by uniquely shaped cars, and eventually the effect trucks and trailers revolutionized hauling milk.

Milk Tank Cars and Containers introduce the modeler to the variety of rolling stock that hauled milk. The enterprise evolved from simply loading milk cans into available train cars, through conventional purpose-built cars, through unique specialty cars complete with decorative fins a ’la classic cars of the 1950s! Even piggyback tanks were used. This chapter discusses apparatus and special features of some cars, as well as unique characteristics of design. Milk train operations presents the loading and unloading process, including descriptions of loading platforms, milksheds, and stations. Dozens of specific railroads owned their own cars and each is described. Ownership and leasing are discussed, affording modelers to accurately represent a fleet for their layout.

The chapter continues to describe:

    • Milk operations
    • Train routes
    • Train scheduling
    • More than a dozen individual railroads heavily involved in the milk industry
    • Regional and individual city milk rail operations

The final life of milk traffic naturally concludes 39 informative pages for the two chapters.

Finally, Milk and dairy trucks detail what ended the era of rail transport of milk. It presents the vehicles - Wagons, Can trucks, Bulk trucks, Delivery trucks - each with a brief history and example photograph.

I think that this book equips the modeler to accurately model creamery processing, transport,and distribution.

Kalmbach has access to enormous photographic resources. This book is full of photos, several in color. Each image is very high quality. Many of the photos of individual rolling stock are builder's portraits. I found only twp pages lacking a photo or illustration, although each page has an informational text box.

More than just photos visually enhance the text. Clear and informative tables and illustrations are used, too.

a. Prototype blueprints of milk platform of the New York, Ontario & Western
b. USDA guideline diagram of layout for milk plant
c. Dairy herd concentrations in USA for 1880 and 1920
d. Dairy breeds
e. Cow terminology

1. Chicago Milk Traffic 1900 and 1910, average number of milk cans per day, by railroad
2. General American-Pfaudler cars (GPEX) number series; length; construction; capacity (gal)
3. Summary of types, length by wood or steel
4. Summary by capacity, 1943, 1955, 1962
5. Private-owner milk tank cars by railroad, reporting marks, for the years 1930, 1943, 1951, 1962
6. Milk can car rosters, cars by railroad, reporting marks, for the years 1920, 1930, 1943, 1951, 1962
7. Cheese and butter production, top 10 states, 1921
8. Milk cans
9. Classes of milk plants
10. Cooperative vs. proprietary creameries
11. Major dairy companies

Those graphics fully enhance each page of text.

Milk Trains and Traffic from Kalmbach is another amazing book for modelers and historians. It features learned text of an academic quality and an excellent gallery of photographs, in black-and-white as well as color. Graphics are further enhanced with tables and text boxes.

This title presents over a hundred years of transporting milk and associated products by rail. I have no complaints about this book and consider it to be another exceptional guide to an important industry served by railroads. Recommended.

- Frederick Boucher, KitMaker Network

Classic Toy Trains Classic Trains Finescale Modeler Garden Railways Model Railroader Trains Magazine Kalmbach Books