Hi everyone.

I like butter dish milk cars and have several prewar American Flyer ones.

It's time to have a scale sized, scale looking one on my roster, but the brass ones are a bit too pricey for me.

My plan is to take two of the Lionel O-27 cars and cut/splice them to scale length and mount that on a scale flat car.

Herein lies the question: How long is the flat car? 40 feet? 50 feet? Something in between?

Please let me know.


Original Post

I typed into Google "Borden's Butter Dish milk car" and got all sorts of results. Plus, there ia a real restored car, at the Illinois Railway Museum, which you could probably measure yourself.

Thanks. I looked at that site, but didn't see the detailed info on the car dimensions. Looks like a 40 foot flatcar will do the job.


 I purchased this car on the bay. Was in a lot of 3. I love milk trains. This car got my curiosity and there was another car in the lot that I liked. It has 2 rail wheelsets and Kadee’s. It is based on a Lionel Scale milk car chassis. With the body removed. With this you will get the high speed trucks and a correct chassis. The prototype butter dish car was simply done by removing the wooden sides and building a dished cover over the 2 tanks. They car needs some finishing up. The body itself was a nicely done wood carving. Someone more creative than me. Could probably 3D print one. It’s held on by small screws. The same holes Lionel used to mount their tanks.


 If you need decals. Contact me {e mail is in my profile] and I can give you a good source with a reasonable price.


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Join the NMRA and then  ask the library for the prototype plans.    You may not even have to be a member.    they have plans for all sorts things in their archives.

Dave_C posted:

The body itself was a nicely done wood carving.

Some years ago in RMC, I think, there was a good article on scratchbuilding this car using wood shapes to build the tank - two pieces of 3/4" square and two pieces of 3/4" quarter round.  This might be the result of that article

Evil is just plain bad! You don't cotton to it! You gotta smack it in the nose with the rolled up newspaper of goodness...Bad dog! Bad dog!

Last edited by mwb

 I did purchase a Precision Scale car a while back. Got it for a reasonable price. It was painted but not lettered. I took a chance that I could at some point. Get a reasonably priced decal set. It tracks the layout without derailing. So I kept it as is. Pretty close as far as body and chassis. The length appears to be spot on.


 The Lionel car has the wooden body and tanks removed. Without examining another car. I’m really not sure how it was done. I’m guessing the body was carefully sawed off. Then sanded flush. Seems to track the layout well. If I ever run into a problem. It’s good to know. I can convert the trucks back and simply shim the Kadee’s.




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I have admired those too, and wondered if anybody had ever done a plastic or even an "antiqe" wooden body kit model of one.  My other question was, "Where did they run...west of Mississippi, or only east?"


??Another one of THOSE!!??  What you want to sell is not what I want to buy!

 They ran typically to large cities where there were Borden’s plants to process the milk. NYC and Chicago are two I know of. Possibly Philadelphia. I model the Rutland. They sent a number of cars daily to NY city via the NYC.

 Anyone with an interest in milk trains. Kalmbach just released a new book. Titled,  Milk Trains and Traffic. It’s a good read.

Will the width to length ratio be proportional too?  I.e. proper width here already?

With that tub shape, those curves; if you.want a good visual replication you'll need to be proportionally correct more so than proper length alone.

For a "krafty" billboard side that would warrant some doubletakes and raised eyebrows, Parkay comes in a bottle too 🙃

"Still trying to not shoot my eye out"


"Nursing insomnia one railcar at a time"

My aroma therapy? Smoke Pellets.


RoyBoy posted:

Thanks. I looked at that site, but didn't see the detailed info on the car dimensions. Looks like a 40 foot flatcar will do the job.

What particular dimensions are you looking for?  From the link IRM link above:

Year Built:1935
Length:44ft 9in
Width:9ft 11in
Height:13ft 2in
Weight:70000 lbs
Trucks:4 Wheel Hi-Speed
Description:Steel Milk Car

If you need more detail, phone or email the museum; I've had good luck doing so with historical societies supplying info not on the website.


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