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LMS Route: Trent Valley Line

Shilton Station: lnwr_shil2378a

Close up showing the timber platform erected on the up slow goods line specifically to handle milk traffic

Close up of image 'lnwr_shil2378' showing the timber platform erected on the up slow goods line specifically to handle milk traffic. The milk churn are of a standard size, the older galvanised iron conical type held 17 gallons, the cylindrical type with the mushroom shaped lid introduced in the 1930s held ten gallons. Each churn carried a brass plate near the top to identify the owning company and when full it would have a white paper label (tied to the handle on the lid of the conical type and to the side handle of the cylindrical type), which was used for accounting purposes by the creamery or dairy. Milk churns were heavy so the normal practice was to tilt them on one side and roll them along, the sketch shows both the older conical churn and the later cylindrical type being moved in this way. Milk churns were loaded into both luggage compartments of passenger trains as well as milk vans, a farm hand assisting a porter was a common practice. Note the loaded churns would all have a white paper label attached to one of the handles. By 1883 one farmer alone was sending 19,000 gallons a year to Birmingham and by the late 1880s entire trains of milk churn vans were a feature of railway operations. The milk churns remained part of the railway scene into the 1960s possibly the 1970s, bringing the milk from the farms to the country dairy and also travelling to the smaller towns and communities along the line. Milk churns remained the principal method of collecting milk from farms for many years.

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