H type carriage
|H type carriage|
Refurbished H Set at Southern Cross station in November 2010
Interior of a carriage refurbished in 2007
|Built at||Newport Workshops|
|Replaced||Wooden bodied stock|
|Constructed||Built 1956-68 as Harris suburban EMUs
Rebuilt 1983-92 to locomotive hauled carriages
|Formation||3 carriage sets (SH, LH)
6 carriage sets (SSH)
|Doors||Manually opened but remotely closed and locked, 2 per side|
|Articulated sections||Open gangways|
|Maximum speed||115 km/h (71 mph)|
|Power supply||Head end power|
|Track gauge||1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) only|
The H type carriages are an Australian interurban passenger carriage operated by V/Line. Fitted with high-density 2+3 seating, they are typically used on short distance interurban services from Melbourne to Bacchus Marsh, Seymour and Wyndham Vale.
- 1 Overview
- 2 History and typical fleet use
- 3 Model railways
- 4 References
- 5 Further reading
By 1983, the 1981 New Deal had been such a success that the incoming Cain Government government ordered conversion of a fleet of the early Harris suburban Electric Multiple Units to replace the last of the older wooden carriage stock. The fleet eventually reached 59 carriages of multiple types.
Each carriage has two doors per side, manually opened by passengers, but remotely closed and locked by the train conductor. Toilets, drinking fountains and luggage areas are provided throughout each carriage set.
The carriage sets were originally used for commuter services between Melbourne and a wide range of regional cities. As more long-distance carriages became available, they were reallocated to the shorter runs, typically less than an hour end-to-end. A small number were also used on the Stony Point line.
H type carriages are numbered in the 101 - 200 series. Sets were issued to traffic with three types of carriage:
- BCH economy class with conductors van: 121-131, 132-133 long, 134 and 135 seat 10 more people but have a smaller van area
- BH economy class: 141-149, 150-151 were converted to BTH 174-175, 152, 153 long
- BTH economy class with terminal connections: 161-171, 172-173 long, 174-175 formerly BH 150, 151
- MTH economy class with onboard power alternators: 101-104 short
Additional cars were later constructed to increase capacity. These cars do not feature toilets:
- BIH economy class intermediate: 181-194
Since November 2012, the H type carriages have been fixed into semi-permanent sets, identified with the following codes, in conjunction with a unique number:
- SSH: 6 short carriages
- SH: 3 short carriages (normally coupled with another 3-carriage set)
- LH: 3 long carriages (two LH sets exist - they were created from 75 feet (23 m) long Harris trailers)
Prior to this change, H sets were arranged as follows:
- SH: 3 carriages
- FSH: because of the F, this means that the sets contains 4 carriages
- VSH: the V means that the set contains 5 carriages
- VLH: the L meaning long
Sets originally entered service as 3 car sets, later having additional cars added to bring them up to four cars. With the breaking up of some sets and reallocation of carriages, longer carriage sets have since been formed.
MTH (loose) carriages
Originally designed for use as trailer carriages for the Tulloch railmotor fleet, four carriages were built with a similar internal configuration to the BH type, but with automatic couplers at both ends.
Following withdrawal of the Tulloch fleet around 1994, the four MTH carriages (63 seats each) were used on the non-electrified suburban Stony Point line, hauled by whatever locomotives V/Line (later V/Line Passenger) had spare at the time. Typically, two carriages would be used on weekdays and a third kept at Frankston for additional weekend capacity, with the fourth under routine maintenance in the city. Carriages were rotated weekly, with a locomotive transfer usually on Mondays or Thursdays and carriages swapped as part of that cycle. When V/Line Passenger was formed the company fleet was cut down to the A class, N class, P class and Y class engines; the P and N class with head-end-power were less useful hauling MTH carriages, so the typical Stony Point Line motive power became the A class.
This pattern continued under various private operators until 26 April 2008, after which Sprinter trains were introduced on the route in lieu. The cars were placed into storage at Newport Worksohps until 2011, when MTH 102 was converted to an inspection car for Metro Trains Melbourne. It now operates between two T class locomotives as IEV102 for inspection trains. The other three MTH carriages are stored, along with unused BH141.
History and typical fleet use
Cain/Crabb order, 1983
The contract was awarded to Clyde Engineering, and the initial plan was to convert 33 Harris cars to 11 semi-permanently coupled sets of BCH-BH-BTH. Originally there were concepts to pair each of the carriage sets with a permanently-coupled locomotive at the West (non-conductor) end, and to fit the East-end BCH carriages with a small driving stand for controlling the P class locomotives; but this fell through on grounds of safety and inability to stop the locomotive powering instantly in case of a collision, which would have caused the carriage set to telescope.
The first four sets of three carriages (sets SH22, 23, 24 and 25) were delivered in the middle of 1984, and deliveries continued at a steady pace through to the end of that year with twelve 3-carriage sets, SH21 to SH31 inclusive and LH32, in service. Set LH33 entered service in February of 1986, a full six months after the twelfth set.
The H sets were initially used on commuter runs from Spencer Street to Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Leongatha, Shepparton and Traralgon. During the long weekend holidays, H sets would occasionally be extended from Shepparton to Cobram as higher capacity rollingstock was needed elsewhere.
Otherwise, for events like football matches and the biannual runs to Lara for the Australian International Airshow at Avalon Airport, trains would be formed with nine carriages, a locomotive on each end and another between sets, near the middle. Because of the underfloor multiple-unit cabling, all locomotives on the train would work together from a single control stand; but each set of carriages was powered by its nearest P class locomotive because the power cables, for things like lighting and airconditioning, were only designed for a maximum electrical load equivalent to four carriages.
H sets were normally hauled by either N or P class locomotives, both able to supply the required head end power supply for lighting and air conditioning operation. When hauled by other classes of locomotives, a separate power van was coupled to the set to provide that same function. The MTH cars could be hauled by anything and everything, because they had onboard alternators negating the requirement for any sort of external power supply.
A further four MTH carriages were converted in 1984, essentially BH carriages with an underfloor alternator fitted and with regular automatic couplers in place of drawbars. These were intended to be used as trailers for the Tulloch Railcars, as the older trailers were of timber construction with no airconditioning, and well past their use-by dates.
With the 1990 election quickly approaching and the last of the electric Harris fleet due for withdrawal, the Cain government elected to order conversion of another eight carriages to a new class, BIH. These were functionally identical to the BH carriages, but toilets were not provided, instead being fitted with additional seating. The order also featured two more BCH conductor carriages, though these were fitted with smaller vans and an additional ten seats, compared to their predecessors.
BIH carriages 187 and 188, and the two new conductor cars BCH134 and BCH135, were converted from Grey Ghost stock - previously refurbished less than ten tears ago - while the remainder came from regular blue Harris stock.
The new BIH carriages were inserted into sets SH21 thru SH28, bringing their capacity up to approximately match the long sets LH32 and LH33. Sets SH29, SH30 and SH31 were left untouched, and as far as can be determined, the two additional BCH cars were left unused until 1992, when two BH carriages were converted to BTH allowing the formation of new sets.
Once the FSH sets became available, event traffic like the Airshow trains increased to twelve-car trains with a locomotive on each end and a third between carriages eight and nine.
Kirner/Spyker order, 1992
By 1992, Steve Crabb had long-since been replaced as the Victorian Member of Parliament with the Transport Portfolio. His successor, Peter Spyker, authorised an order for the final six BIH carriages. These were delivered in 1992 and allowed the remaining three Short sets to be extended to match capacity. These final carriages were converted from previously-refurbished "Grey Ghost" Harris stock, rather than the original blue cars. At the same time, two BH carriages had automatic couplers fitted at one end and these were reclassed BTH.
Around this time the Tulloch railmotors were withdrawn from service, freeing the four MTH cars. Consideration was given to converting them to other classes for incorporation in normal H sets. However, it was decided to instead operate the MTH carriages exclusively on the Stony Point route, because an infrequent, isolated shuttle service would have been a waste of one of the N or P class locomotives with head-end power, better used elsewhere. If the Stony Point line had run from Spencer Street in lieu of Frankston, then it is quite possible that the H fleet would have been reworked with thirteen FSH and two LH sets (plus one spare carriage), all with about 250 seats.
With the MTH cars separated from the rest of the fleet, the final BIH carriages were allocated largely at random, with the result by end of 1992 being:
- FSH21-29 and LH32 all of roughly equal capacity (247-249 seats)
- SH sets 30, 31, 34 and 35 with only three carriages each (184-194 seats)
- FLH33 as an orphan (316 seats).
High-ranking staff within V/Line were aware at the time that the last of the Harris electric fleet was being withdrawn, and tried to facilitiate conversion of the remaining six Grey Ghost vehicles to add to the H car fleet. This was knocked back because, at the time, it was thought that more than just 22 of the new Sprinter railcars were going to be ordered.
In 1995, the entire H-series fleet was passed from V/Line to V/Line Passenger.
In 1999, the fleet was reorganised. Previously, there had been four SH, nine FSH, one LH and one FLH set. In September of that year, set SH35 was split up, and set FSH28 lost its BIH carriage. The now-loose four carriages were reallocated to sets 22, 26, 29 and 32, so the new split became four SH, five FSH, three VSH and two FLH sets. Other than the remaining FSH sets (all 247 seats), the new set makeup had nearly every set with its own consist and differing capacity. Each of the different consists also had slightly different weights, lengths, capacities and door layouts, affecting the timetabling.
- The SH sets, 28, 30, 31 and 34, respectively had 180, 184, 184 and 194 seats.
- The FSH sets, 21, 23, 24, 25 and 27, all had 247 seats.
- The FLH sets, 32 and 33, had 316 seats
- The VSH sets, 22, 26 and 29 had 310, 314 and 311 seats respectively.
As a result, rosters were often written with specific sets in mind; the VSH and FLH sets could be grouped into a fleet of five sets for the longer runs, and the FSH sets for the shorter runs. The SH sets were either run individually on the shortest runs, or in pairs on the longest.
When the five-carriage sets were formed, the end BTH and BCH cars were recabled with higher-capacity wiring, to avoid any risk of overheating. However, the P Class locomotives were only able to supply power for four carriages' worth of air-conditioning and lighting and did not have sufficient power for acceleration of a five-carriage set, so those trains had to be hauled by N class engines, or A class engines with a PH power van attached. Additionally, because of the drawbar and inter-carriage doorway arrangements, BCH135 and BTH175 were reversed for coupling to Set #29.
Later in this period, patronage spikes would require coupling an FSH with SH set, for a seven-car consist. These services became colloquially known as the "Poor Man's XPT", with a P class locomotive on each end of the consist, controlled by a single crew. No trials were performed with push/pull 2xFSH sets, because it was clear from P-FSH-SH-P sets that any such consist would have been too heavy for passenger train schedules, requiring a minimum power to weight ratio.
In 2004, carriage BIH187 was pulled from set FSH27, and stored at Newport Workshops. It was returned to the set about three months later.
2006 saw another reorganisation of the H cars, this time on account of VLocity deliveries with Regional Fast Rail project. The VLocities were supposed to replace the H sets, but patronage booming meant they had to be retained. As part of the reorganisation, the H type carriages were refurbished and repainted into the new V/Line livery from September 2007.
As a result, set SH34 was split up, and sets 21, 27 and 32 lost their BIH coaches. Like when SH35 had been broken up, carriages BCH134 and BTH174 were reversed, for coupling to Set #32. The six freed cars were reallocated to sets 23, 28, 32 and 33, with the new outline thus-
- The SH sets, 21, 27, 30 & 31 had 180, 180, 184 and 184 seats respectively.
- The FSH sets, 24, 25 & 28 each had 247 seats.
- The VSH sets, 22, 23, 26 & 29 had 310, 314, 314 and 311 seats respectively.
- The VLH sets, 32 & 33, had 376 and 383 seats respectively.
With the deliveries of the VLocity fleet, the H sets were largely replaced by railcars on the longer runs, and so they began running more frequently on Melton and Bacchus Marsh, Sunbury and Kyneton, and Seymour services.
In conjunction with a new timetable of 18 November 2012, the H fleet were reorganised to give three six-car sets as well as twelve semi-permanently-coupled three-car sets, giving an effective total of nine six-car sets in service. These trains usually provide peak-hour services to Bacchus Marsh, Wyndham Vale and Seymour, hauled by N and P class locomotives. Stock shortages of other classes mean there are almost daily runs of H carriage sets to Marshall and Traralgon.
All carriages have now been recabled to allow a single head-end-power unit to operate the entire train from one end, rather than requiring a separate power source for carriages beyond the fourth or fifth.
The current capacities are:
- SH21+SH27 and SH23+SH24, 364 seats; SH25+SH30, 368 seats
- SH29+SH35, 378 seats; SSH sets 22, 26 and 28, 377 seats each
- SH31+LH33, 433 seats; LH32+SH34, 443 seats
Loose carriage BH141 (63 seats) is currently stored at Newport Workshops, along with unused MTH 101, 103 and 104.
As of July 2015, there are no regularly scheduled H sets on the Northern or Eastern regions, or anywhere at all on weekends, though occasional carriage shortages see these sets filling in for other services. Quite often, H sets fill in on Geelong & Shepparton runs, resulting in first class and buffet facilities being unavailable.
SSH sets are used on the Seymour and Bacchus Marsh runs, twice per weekday, and the SH+LH sets run exclusively between Bacchus Marsh or Melton and Southern Cross with three daily return trips. All these rosters are hauled by N class locomotives, except when A66 is being used for crew training or to cover for a failure. In that scenario, a PH van will be attached to provide head end power. Separate to those, the P+SH+SH+P sets run a morning Bacchus Marsh to Southern Cross service, then an evening Southern Cross to Wyndham Vale service with empty car movements either side, and overnight stabling in the city. When in push/pull mode, the head-end-power cable is uncoupled between the two carriage sets, so that each P class locomotive is exclusively responsible for powering three carriages. This is to ensure equal fuel consumption, and also that a fault in any of the carriages or locomotives will be isolated to half the train.
In theory, two P class locomotives on one end would be sufficient to power a single SSH set, but the lower maximum speed limit of 100 km/h imposed by choice of locomotive would cause problems with the timetable. It is not clear if the SSH sets are wired to allow push/pull operation.
Note: Colours are representative only, and do not directly correlate to liveries worn in the era.
|Code||Set No.||From||To||Car F||Car E||Car D||Car C||Car B||Car A (East end)||Capacity||Weight||Length||Changes to achieve||Notes|
|FSH||21||1989-07-06||2006-10-xx||BTH161||BH141||BIH181||BCH121||247||138t||77m||Add BIH181, new build|
|SH||21||2006-10-xx||2012-11-26||BTH161||BH141||BCH121||180||105t||58m||Remove BIH181 to Newport Workshops|
|SH||21||2012-11-26||Current||BTH161||BIH181||BCH121||184||104t||58m||Add BIH181 ex Set #25, remove BH141 to Newport Workshops||Paired with SH27|
|FSH||22||1989-07-17||1999-09-xx||BTH162||BH142||BIH182||BCH122||247||138t||77m||Add BIH182, new build|
|VSH||22||1999-09-xx||2012-11-xx||BTH162||BH149||BH142||BIH182||BCH122||310||172t||96m||Add BH149 ex Set #29|
|SSH||22||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH162||BH149||BIH184||BH142||BIH182||BCH122||377||205t||116m||Add BIH184 ex Set #24|
|FSH||23||1989-07-13||2007-09-25||BTH163||BH143||BIH183||BCH123||247||138t||77m||Add BIH183, new build|
|VSH||23||2007-09-25||2012-05-xx||BTH163||BIH181||BH143||BIH183||BCH123||314||171t||96m||Add BIH181 ex Newport|
|FSH||23||2012-05-xx||2012-11-xx||BTH163||BH143||BIH183||BCH123||247||138t||77m||Remove BIH181 to Set #25|
|"FSH"||23||2011-11-xx||Current||BTH163||BIH183||BCH123||184||104t||58m||Remove BH143 to Set #26, BIH181 to Newport||Paired with SH24|
|FSH||24||1989-07-27||2012-11-xx||BTH164||BH144||BIH184||BCH124||247||138t||77m||Add BIH184, new build|
|"FSH"||24||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH164||BH144||BCH124||180||105t||58m||Remove BIH184 to Set #22||Paired with SH23|
|FSH||25||1989-08-02||2012-05-xx||BTH165||BH145||BIH185||BCH125||247||138t||77m||Add BIH185, new build|
|VSH||25||2012-05-xx||2012-11-14||BTH165||BH145||BIH185||BIH181||BCH125||314||171t||96m||Add BIH181 ex Newport|
|"VSH"||25||2012-11-14||2012-11-xx||BTH165||BIH185||BIH181||BCH125||251||137t||77m||Remove BH145 to Set #28|
|SH||25||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH165||BIH185||BCH125||184||104t||58m||Remove BIH181 to Set #21||Paired with SH30|
|FSH||26||1989-06-28||1999-09-xx||BTH166||BH146||BIH186||BCH126||247||138t||77m||Add BIH186, new build|
|VSH||26||1999-09-xx||2012-11-xx||BTH166||BIH188||BH146||BIH192||BCH126||314||171t||96m||Remove BIH186 to Set #32, add BIH188 ex Set #26, add BIH192 ex Set #35|
|SSH||26||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH166||BH143||BIH188||BH146||BIH192||BCH126||377||205t||116m||Add BH143 ex Set #23|
|FSH||27||1990-07-20||2004-12-xx||BTH167||BH147||BIH187||BCH127||247||138t||77m||Add BIH187 new build|
|SH||27||2004-12-xx||2005-03-xx||BTH167||BH147||BCH127||180||105t||58m||Remove BIH187 to Newport|
|FSH||27||2005-03-xx||2006-10-xx||BTH167||BH147||BIH187||BCH127||247||138t||77m||Add BIH187 ex Newport|
|"FSH"||27||2006-10-xx||2012-11-xx||BTH167||BH147||BCH127||180||105t||58m||Remove BIH187 to #28|
|SH||27||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH167||BH147||BCH127||180||105t||58m||Paired with SH21|
|FSH||28||1990-09-29||1999-09-xx||BTH168||BH148||BIH188||BCH128||247||138t||77m||Add BIH188, new build|
|SH||28||1999-09-xx||2006-04-03||BTH168||BH148||BCH128||180||105t||58m||Remove BIH188 to Set #26|
|FSH||28||2006-04-03||2012-11-xx||BTH168||BH148||BIH194||BCH128||247||138t||77m||Add BIH194 ex Set #34|
|SSH||28||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH168||BH145||BIH194||BH148||BIH187||BCH128||377||205t||116m||Add BH145 ex Set #25, BIH187 ex Set #27|
|FSH||29||1992-06-26||1999-09-xx||BTH169||BH149||BIH189||BCH129||247||138t||77m||Add BIH189, new build|
|VSH||29||1999-09-xx||2012-11-xx||BCH135||BTH175||BTH169||BIH189||BCH129||311||175t||97m||Remove BH149 to Set #22, add BCH135 & BTH175 ex Set #35|
|SH||29||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH169||BIH189||BCH129||184||104t||58m||Remove BCH135 & BTH175 to Set #35||Paired with SH35|
|SH||30||1992-06-25||2003-xx-xx||BTH170||BIH190||BCH130||184||104t||58m||Add BIH190, new build; Remove BH150, convert to BTH174|
|SH||30||20xx-xx-xx||Current||BTH170||BIH190||BCH130||184||104t||58m||Repainted||Paired with SH25|
|SH||31||1992-06-24||20xx-xx-xx||BTH171||BIH191||BCH131||184||104t||58m||Add BIH191, new build; Remove BH151, convert to BTH175|
|SH||31||20xx-xx-xx||Current||BTH171||BIH191||BCH131||184||104t||58m||Repainted||Paired with LH33|
|FLH||32||1999-09-xx||2006-04-30||BTH172||BH152||BIH186||BCH132||316||151t||90m||Add BIH186 ex Set #26|
|VLH||32||2006-05-01||2012-11-xx||BCH134||BTH174||BTH172||BH152||BCH132||376||189t||109m||Remove BIH186 to Set #33, add BCH134 & BTH174 to Set #34||First roster Roster #8306 & #8323 M-F (0701 up / 1732 down SEY)|
|LH||32||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH172||BH152||BCH132||249||118t||70m||Remove BCH134 & BTH174 to Set #34||Paired with SH34|
|LH||33||1986-02-28||1992-07-03||BTH173||BH153||BCH133||249||118t||70m||As Built||Fitted with Socimi bogies, allowed to run at 160 km/h|
|FLH||33||1992-07-03||2006-04-xx||BTH173||BH153||BIH193||BCH133||316||151t||90m||Add BIH193, new build|
|VLH||33||2006-04-xx||2012-11-xx||BTH173||BIH186||BH153||BIH193||BCH133||383||184t||109m||Add BIH186 ex Set #32||Position of BIH186 unclear|
|LH||33||2012-11-xx||Current||BTH173||BH153||BCH133||249||118t||70m||BIH186 to Set #35, BIH193 to Set #34||Paired with SH31|
|SH||34||2006-04-03||2012-11-xx||Nil||Nil||Nil||Split - BIH194 to #28; BCH134+BTH174 to #32|
|SH||34||2012-11-xx||Current||BCH134||BIH193||BTH174||190||105t||58m||Reformed - BIH193 ex #33; BCH134+BTH174 ex #32||Reversed; paired with LH32|
|SH||35||1999-09-xx||2012-11-xx||Nil||Nil||Nil||Split - BIH192 to #26; BCH135+BTH175 to #29|
|SH||35||2012-11-xx||Current||BCH135||BIH186||BTH175||194||104t||58m||Reformed - BIH186 ex #33; BCH135+BTH175 ex #29||Reversed; paired with SH29|
|MTH||101||1984-06-18||Current||MTH101||63||39t||19m||As Built||Stored since 26 April 2008|
|MTH||102||1984-06-29||2011-12-07||MTH102||63||39t||19m||As Built||Stored since 26 April 2008|
|IEV||102||2011-12-07||Current||IEV102||Nil||39t||19m||Modified ex MTH102||Track and Overhead inspection vehicle; restricted to 80 km/h|
|MTH||103||1984-07-27||Current||MTH103||63||39t||19m||As Built||Stored since 26 April 2008|
|MTH||104||1984-08-21||Current||MTH104||63||39t||19m||As Built||Stored since 26 April 2008|
Trainbuilder released a range of brass H-type carriages in 2013, as single cars for $575 each, three-packs for $1700-$1800 each, four-packs for $2200 each and five-packs for $2850 each. In August 2015, a discount of 10% was applied to the few remaining sets.
- Lee, Robert (2007). The Railways of Victoria 1854-2004. Melbourne University Publishing. p. 255. ISBN 978-0-522-85134-2.
- A Handbook of Australian Government and Politics, 1985-1999, C. A. Hughes, pp.103; https://books.google.com.au/books?id=LoDZB0oAYygC&pg=PA103&lpg=PA103&dq=victoria+transport+minister+allan+spyker+crabb&source=bl&ots=SmoSG6KwPA&sig=KLzOZ8nnl10Gj1KnjATzD_mFLI0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjElOPSgdfKAhVlLqYKHWdpApoQ6AEIODAF#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Carriage & Sprinter Refurbishment Program & New V/Line Livery V/Line 12 September 2007
- New Look V/Line Fleet Takes to the Tracks Minister for Public Transport 12 September 2007
- H Cars information Vicsig
- H Type Carriages V/LineCars.com
- Peter J Vincent: BCH cars
- Peter J Vincent: BH cars
- Peter J Vincent: BTH cars
- Peter J Vincent: BIH cars