Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village

Preservers of the Historic Ma & Pa Railroad

Ma & Pa Railroad Walking Tour - Milk Collection Building

Milk Collection Building

With the coming of the railroad, dairy farming became an important agricultural activity in rural areas that had previously had no practical way to transport milk to urban markets. Essentially all milk transported on the Ma & Pa flowed to Baltimore, in quantities so large that the railroad and its early morning train were commonly called The Milky Way.

Insulated milk cans tagged with the name of the originating farm were picked up from special milk platforms at every station by the morning train and returned empty by the evening train. Some stations, such as Fallston, originated so much milk that a special car was spotted there in the evening so that it could be loaded in advance for pick up in the morning.

The building in the picture was built in 1917 by a Baltimore dairy that rented this site from A.M. Grove. Although the building is sometimes called a creamery, it is more accurately described as a milk collection building since no processing was done here. It has a solid concrete basement that was flooded with cold water flowing from a spring through underground pipes. When farmers delivered cans of milk here they were placed in the water to keep them cool. Milk originating at Muddy Creek Forks was picked up later in the day and had a longer trip on the uncooled baggage car than milk loaded at stations south of Delta.

This building has been modified and is now rented as a residence, but it is clear that there was originally a loading door on the track side. It is not known whether the quantity of milk shipped from Muddy Creek Forks was ever great enough to merit a special car loaded on the siding, but most likely milk was loaded directly onto the passenger train standing on the main line.

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