Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Silver Milk Churns On Severn Valley Railway

Railway Night Photography

Night photo of milk churns on a railway station barrow at the Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster
Photo: Charles Moorhen

Drinka Pinta Milka Day!

Milk churns such as these - photographed at night on a platform of the Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster - were once a common sight at railway stations throughout Britain's rail network.

The churns were collected from farms or dairies and delivered to the local station.  

To identify the owner of the churn either a metal nameplate was attached to the container or the farm/dairy name was stamped into the metalwork.  In addition to this a label was attached to the handle stating whether or not the milk churn was full or empty.

This system of transporting milk survived for decades until a modern system was introduced whereby milk was collected directly from farms by motorized tanker vehicles.  The milk was subsequently transferred to specially-built milk tank wagons operated by the railway.

The system ceased completely in the 1970's

In the early 1920's around 282,000,000 gallons (339,000,000 litres) of milk was transported by the four national railway companies.

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