Victorian Railways motor car transport

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Motor car transport
Manufacturer Victorian Railways
Built at Newport Workshops
Bendigo Workshops
Constructed From 1958
Number built 22 (AA), 58 (ALF)
Number scrapped 2
Line(s) served Melbourne to Mildura, Adelaide and Sydney
Various freight routes
Car length 58 feet 9 inches (17.91 m) (short)
75 feet 10 inches (23.11 m) (long)
Width 9 feet 8 inches (2.95 m)
Height 14 feet 0 inches (4.27 m) (loaded)
Maximum speed 60 mph (97 km/h) (except AA class)
Track gauge 5 ft 3 in (1,600 mm) and 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The Victorian Railways and successors used a variety of railway wagons for the transport motor cars.


A single wagon was built in 1958, but it was not until 1960 that any more emerged. The early usage of wagons was for carrying finished motor cars from Melbourne to Sydney and Adelaide.[1] The Ford Motor Company plant at Broadmeadows was one major source of the traffic, with Holden being the other between Melbourne and Adelaide.[2] This traffic ended by the 1990s and the wagons were put into storage.[3]

The other traffic was the motorail service provided to passengers on long distance trains, allowing them to bring their car along with them. From the 1970s wagons were assigned to the Vinelander service from Melbourne to Mildura,[4] with additional wagons used on the Southern Aurora between Melbourne and Adelaide,[5] and The Overland between Melbourne and Adelaide.[6] The latter train is the only one still running today, but has not had a motorail facility available due to the redevelopment of Southern Cross Station.[7]


'Short' wagons[edit]

When the need arose for a form of motor car body transportation between Melbourne and Adelaide in 1958, a new vehicle class was created. A single wagon was built using the underframe of a scrapped Swing Door suburban train, with skeletal truss sides and appropriate tie downs. In 1960 the wagon was modified to permit roll-on roll-off loading and unloading, and by 1961 there were 22 wagons of this type,[8] each capable of holding eight vehicles. These wagons, which were 58 feet 9 inches (17.91 m) in length, were built at Newport Workshops and received the code 'AA'.[9] Closed in sides were later added to the wagons. Subsequent bogie modifications saw these wagons recoded to 'AF' and then to 'AX'.[4] With the introduction of Railways of Australia four letter codes in 1979 the wagons were recoded to 'VMAX',[4] and then received a succession of 'VMxx' series codes.

'Long' wagons[edit]

The 75 feet 10 inches (23.11 m) long motorail wagons were built at either the Newport Workshops or Bendigo Workshops. Again with skeletal truss sides, only some were closed in like the shorter wagons. Initial codes were 'ALF' and 'ALX' with the similar 'MLX' added and reclassed later. With the introduction of four letter codes in 1979 they became 'VMBX' and then 'VMBY'.[6] A number of these wagons were sold to the National Rail Corporation in 1994.[9]

Car Parts Transport[edit]

Aside from the above bogie wagons, there were also the KF and KW four wheel wagons, and the larger BFW/VBCW wagons used for transporting car parts.


The majority of the wagons received the standard Victorian Railways freight livery of wagon red. However, those used in motorail service later received a dark blue with white lettering scheme, then a tangerine scheme with the introduction of VicRail and V/Line.[4] Also, at one point the BFW/VBCW class were labelled with a large Ford logo.


  1. ^ Mark Bau. "AX automobile transport". Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  2. ^ Peter J Vincent. "MLX - Motor Car Transport". Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  3. ^ Peter J Vincent. "VMBX / VMBY - Motor Car Transport". Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  4. ^ a b c d Peter J Vincent. "AX / VMAX - Motor Car Transport". Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  5. ^ Peter J Vincent. "MBK / MBY - Motorail Transport". Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  6. ^ a b Peter J Vincent. "ALF / ALP - Motorail service". Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  7. ^ "The Overland Motorail". Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  8. ^ Peter J Vincent. "AA / AF - Motor Car Body Transport". Retrieved 2008-09-11. 
  9. ^ a b Norm Bray and Peter J Vincent (2006). Bogie Freight Wagons of Victoria. Brief History Books. pp. 122–131. ISBN 0-9775056-0-X. 

Further reading[edit]