Alan’s stunning layout

“Hello Al,

like a lot of other modellers, I like building things rather than spend all the time running trains. I like tweaking things to make improvements, so I thought your followers might like my latest project.

I live in the UK and in the 1950’s, where my layout is set, milk was collected from the dairy farms in churns by lorry. Each farm had a small platform or stage at the farm entrance where the churns were placed ready for collection each day. They were then transported to the local creamery and after treatment sent by rail to the towns & cities. I’ve explained this as it might not have been the same in other countries.

Anyway, I bought a set of DAPOL workmen, and selected one to be a lorry driver collecting the churns. He originally had a shovel in his hands, so I cut this off with a scalpel blade and glued a milk churn in it’s place. I hope you like the result.

My new loco needed a crew, but instead of the fireman shovelling coal like all my others, I decided to take advantage ot the more open cab arrangement and have him watering down the coal to keep the dust down.

To do this I removed the pick from his hands and carefully drilled through his fists using a mini drill. I then got the smallest diameter wire I had and threaded it thro the holes, stripping a length off and tinning it to represent water. I am very pleased with the result. You do need Patience!

Thanks Al, a great site
















A big thanks to Alan. Some of you must have the patience of saints!

I do love seeing how all of your projects and plans progress. All these years on and I still love seeing what’s in my inbox each morning.

That’s all for today, folks. Please do keep ’em coming.



PS Heading off to ebay? Latest cheat sheet is here.

40 Responses to Alan’s stunning layout

  1. Jason says:


  2. Don says:

    Hi Alan,
    Man that takes me back. In Western Australia in the fifties the milk and cream was collected exactly as you depict here. Congrats you’ve done a beautiful job.

  3. Richard Standing says:

    Merit/Modelscene do/did a railway porter figure moving a milk churn…

    Clever adaptations though!

  4. Brian Messenger says:

    Great detail in the modifications to the figures. Works very well in the scenes depicted.

  5. Paul Geigle says:

    Hello, Alan
    Thanks for posting all the latest project results on your layout. I’m just like you, as I much prefer to spend most of my time working on structures, scenery, and layout detailing. I get a little more fun and satisfaction out of that. I hope to share some of my layout work with subscribers soon on this thread. You did a remarkable job with your layout theme. I hope you post more in the future.
    Paul G.

  6. Ron Schultz says:

    I southern Hio in the 50’s milk was picked upthis way . then after the refrigerated tankers its pumpef from refrigerated holding tanks on dairy farms and dairy farms have gotten bigger now some milk 100 to 200 hundred cow.s
    ..Really big operations .

  7. Ron Schultz says:

    thats OHIO not Hio I missed the O

  8. Colin King says:

    Great conversion, really looks the part. Remember these when I was younger in Kent. Colin K.

  9. Bullfrog - eh! says:

    I also remember milk was collected from the dairy farms in much the same way in Ontario in the 50’s, although the ‘milk cans’ were of a different style. The figure adaptations are remarkable. Many ‘kudos’ to Alan for his patience, his attention to detail, and his photography – – – Bullfrog in Ontario

  10. Douglas Humphrey says:

    Very impressive Alan and food for thought for when I eventually get to build my layout.

  11. Bonny McDaniel aka Grannytoot says:

    My ex-husband hauled milk in the 1950s in Central California close to the same way. The milk cans looked a lot like the ones you have in the front of the truck/lorrie with the straighter sides and a little shorter. However the truck/lorrie was completely different as it had racks in which the cans were swung from the dock up to an upper deck when the lower deck was filled. I love these little scenes that model railroaders like you show and it brings it alive…things like the hose and remaking the figures. I’m still in the basic layout stage of my model trains but I will have several scenes…a stock yard with cowboys unloading cattle, farm scenes, etc. That is the fun part, thanks Alan.

  12. James Boyce says:

    Fantastic eye foe detail. I can remember seeing churns on a stand made out of
    Old sleepers at the end of the farm lane . Great to see that on a layout

  13. Jim C. says:

    Holy Cow!

  14. Don H. says:

    Great imagination and attention to detail. That is what I call modeling, keep it up.

  15. david howarth says:

    Some very nice detail you have added Alan

  16. ian impett says:

    very nice to see,some ideas thank you IAN

  17. Ingenious!!! Well thought out and executed.

  18. christine says:


  19. Barry Read. Devon UK says:

    Impressed ….. seriously impressed. 10 out of 10.

  20. Cord Reynolds says:

    Absolutely brilliant, Alan! The detail and realism of your layout is just wonderful. Absolutely top notch! Super job!

  21. Ian Mc Donald says:

    great work. the detail is unbelievable. i dont have the patience.

  22. Raymond Bove says:


    That is genuine modelling, loads of atmosphere. Well done.
    Recreating the atmosphere of an era, present and bygone, is the essence of railway modelling and Alan has caught it remarkably well.
    I respect and admire all those who want it absolutely right down to the last rivets, even those hidden from view, but without the atmosphere, they become showcase models.
    Raymond Bove

  23. Greg davis says:

    Awesome! Great detail and vision!

  24. paul Otway says:

    Nice work Allan,

    Where did you get the cars and trucks?


  25. Ralph Berry says:

    That’s a great use for these figures. Good idea painting them before releasing them, much easier to handle.

  26. THOMAS says:


  27. Paul Brady says:

    Indeed modelling at its best when you are able to create in miniature a past era in all its detail.

  28. Rob says:

    I remember the trains that traveled for durban to joeburg used to stop at just about every station on the way to pick up milk cans, oh my and were they slow. Seems so long ago now.

  29. wow unbelievable detail and interesting ‘scratch painting’ ideas for workmen…
    ….I’m designing a large county jail/prison (who’s got one of those??) with a rock quarry to my layout and all the ‘inmates’ will need to be ‘clothed’ in stripes, etc…..that will take some painting patience I wager….!!
    I’m thinkin the milk pickup truck should have stake-bed sides tho, to keep from ‘spillin’ the milk’…haha….jes sayin..!!
    wanna see more of your detail…how about an over-all shot of the entire layout
    …… and keep on runnin…!!

  30. Rod Mackay says:

    Beautiful job, keep it up.

  31. I really liked your innovation. Loved it.

  32. Rich says:

    Fantastic job!!! Keep up the good work.
    I visited a layout once where the creator would do surgery on the figures, repositioning the parts to create a person for a task. Yes he had patience and determination to spare.
    Rich F

  33. Kevin McArdle says:

    Very clever and realistic. Well done you.

  34. Dale Popula says:

    Alan, I am very impressed with your detailed work. I have one question that I am sure you will be able to answer? How does the driver of the lorry keep the cans on the truck when it is moving? Vibration and turns will cause the cans to move and I doubt if the drive could lift a full can back up and empty cans, will get two words from his boss. A simple chain, side, or both would due and you are really great at that type of detail. Again a very good/ great work and ingenuity.

  35. Fred says:

    Bloody brilliance…. need more figures

  36. Kenneth Seegert says:

    Very nice and imaginative I also remember going with my dad in the 50’s hauling milk from the farmer and delivering in steel milk cans to the dairy in Toledo, Ohio and then in later years from the bulk tanks that were refrigerated to our tanker truck and delivered to the Palmyra, Michigan. Thank you for the memories.

  37. plenty to see on this layout Alan , well done …Dangerous Dave

  38. Dan Hulitt says:

    I just finished building my dairy, as milk trains were an important part of many railroads. The milk cars often ran with passenger trains, as they had the speed. Well done scenes Alan. The tinned wire looks great.

  39. Hemi says:

    GREAT IDEAS! The Milk Churn is GREAT! the guy holdingthe water hose is also a GREAT one!

    BUT, may I add a little “constructive criticism?

    The guy with the water hose…. would NEVER be “soaking” the coal in a steam engine! Wet coal doesn’t burn as fast/needed for the boiler to make steam in real life! That may wind up “putting the fire out” in the firebox!

    (Not trying to knock your work), I’d simply put the guy with the water hose somewhere other then soaking the coal in a Steam engine tender! -As the guy holding the water hose looks WELL DONE for what the figure is doing and all!

    GREAT WORK on making the figures do what ya have! Keep up the work! ~Hemi

  40. Sam Walls says:

    Amazing, creative detailing. Good job. In late 40’s, early 50’s, my grandparents had a milk cow but when I visited, I would drink only homogenized milk my grandmother had to buy in town. My cousins still mention it because our grandmother did not buy milk at the store for them.

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