Victorian Railways wooden bogie passenger carriages

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This page outlines the history and evolution of Victorian Railways bogie passenger carriages, constructed with steel underframes and timber bodies up to 59 ft 90 in (20.2692 m) long, along with a handful of other carriages from the era.

A total of 640 wooden-body, bogie locomotive-hauled carriages were constructed, mostly to variants of the basic design between 1874 and 1903. All carriages were designed to fit within the Victorian Railways' loading gauge, and to run on rails spaced 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) apart. All were fitted with buffers, or later buffing plates, and all couplings were of the screw type.

Then on 5 March 1903, a Canadian, Thomas Tait, was brought to Australia as the new Chairman of Commissioners for the Victorian Railways.[1][2] He immediately set out to introduce a new type of carriage inspired by the latest trends overseas; these would later be known as the E type carriages, with the first introduced to service in late 1906.



All carriages started in the Victorian Railways' then-standard dark maroon livery over a black underframe, with yellow pinstriping and details. During and after World War 1 the detailing was abolished and cars were plain red, with black rectangles behind white text for running information - class and identity.

1954 saw a change to a much brighter red livery. Not many cars survived to the 1972 change from "Second" class to "Economy".

The first bogie carriage[edit]

Constructed 18xx
Scrapped 1957
Capacity 52 sitting over two compartments
Operator(s) M&HBURC, later Victorian Railways
Line(s) served South Suburban
Car body construction 39 ft 0 in (11.89 m)
Car length 42 ft 1.5 in (12.84 m)
Width 8 ft 0 in (2.44 m)
Height 12 ft 1 in (3.68 m)
Doors 2 each side
Weight 16t 2cwt
Bogies 26 ft 0 in (7.92 m) apart

The oldest wooden bogie passenger carriage owned by the Victorian Railways was purchased from the M&HBURC as their carriage no.21. At purchase it retained the number, with a note attached indicating that it was part of the South Suburban system. In 1879 it was reclassed 1AA, then in 1888 it changed again to 11BB, and the 1910 recoding saw it relabelled 11B. In 1940 the car was withdrawn from regular service and converted to workmens' sleeper 9WW, and it was finally scrapped in 1957.

The body had two doors either side for two compartments seating 26 each; seats were installed against all walls making for a sort of lounge arrangement.

American Saloon cars[edit]

When the Victorian Railways first started looking into bogie passenger carriage design, Britain didn't have many examples to follow, so the general styles selected were copied from American railroads of the era.

Between 1874 and 1892 a total of 27 American Saloon-styled carriages were constructed, all bar two to a standard design.

Standard design[edit]

Constructed 1874-1881
Fleet numbers 25 + 2
Operator(s) Victorian Railways
Car body construction 44 ft 0 in (13.41 m)
Car length 50 ft 8 in (15.44 m)
Width 9 ft 7 in (2.92 m)
Height 12 ft 8.5 in (3.87 m)
Weight 16t 3cwt (some later up to 19t)
Bogies 33 ft 9 in (10.29 m) apart

44'6" car Albert[edit]

3AA / Albert / 129AA / 83ABAB / 5ABDABD / 5ABC

45'0" car Victoria[edit]

19A / 19AA / Victoria / 11WW

End-platform cars[edit]

39'1" saloon (?) cars[edit]

65'2" side-corridor cars Pioneer 1st/2nd, later 12BL/13BL, Enterprise/Pioneer[edit]

Pioneer 1st[3] and 2nd[4] were built in 1893 for use on the Bendigo Line. Both were 65'2" over body with a side corridor and sheltered end platforms and mounted on six-wheel bogies. The cars operated as a pair, one for first-class passengers (8 compartments including 2 smoking, 2 ladies, seating 64) and the other for second class (9 compartments including 2 smoking, 2 ladies, seating 72), but premiums were charged for travel in either.

Both cars were fitted with two lavatories by 1895.

In 1921 the two carriages were converted to 12BL and 13BL.[5]

During World War II 13BL was used as part of an ambulance train as a staff carriage; it is thought that 12BL was stored during that time period.

Both cars were used as accommodation on the Wirth's Circus Train in the 1950s.[6] The circus staff complained about poor conditions in the carriages, which by that stage were over 60 years old.

In 1962 the pair were withdrawn from the circus train; in 1968 they were returned to service as Vintage Train stock, and renamed Enterprise and Pioneer respectively. The name "Enterprise" had last been used on the carriage later known as State Car No.1.[7]

Both were placed on the Historic Vehicles Register in July 1983.

Fully enclosed compartment cars (45' 0" type)[edit]

This section covers all fully enclosed wooden bogie passenger carriages, initially built at 45' 0" over body, as well as later conversions and extensions.

Rebuilds / extensions[edit]

Fully enclosed compartment cars with corridor (AC, ABC, AL, BL, ABL type)[edit]

Corridor cars AC, later AL, BL, 59ABL (45' 0")[edit]

1-12AC converted ex AA swing-door cars in 1902, by adding corridors through one side of the carriage, reducing the size of all six compartments. Each compartment was given a new face into the corridor, but the external doors on both sides were retained. The reduced compartment sizes changed capacity from 60 seats to only 34.

10AC was destroyed in 1906 at Kirkstall.

Recoded 1AL-10AL (ex 1-9, 11), 59ABL (ex 12) in 1910, then 1-10BL in 1913 and 11BL in 1918.

Corridor cars ABC, later ABL (50' 2")[edit]

The initial build was of 58 ABC carriages, 50ft2in over body but with an internal corridor along one side, as opposed to the then-standard individual compartment design. The cars were released to service over the period 1899-1903, numbered 1 through 58. Most of the cars had capacity for 16 1st and 32 2nd class passengers, though numbers 40, 48 and 53-58 had a different interior with room for 18 1st and 28 2nd class passengers. Unlike most rollingstock, the ABC/ABL cars had a vertical white line painted on both sides of the carriage, showing the gap between 1st and 2nd class accommodation.

In 1910 the carriages were reclassed ABL.

59ABL was converted from 12AC in 1910, but converted to 11BL in 1918. During its time as an ABL it was shorter, with less capacity, than the rest of the class.

Cars ABL 3, 5, 10, 31 were converted to workmens sleeper cars in the early 1960s, taking numbers 85-88WW. All other cars were withdrawn between 1959 and 1968, and 29ABL was the last to be scrapped in 1973 (though it had been withdrawn in 1962).

Fully enclosed cars (50'2" type)[edit]

Rebuilds / extensions[edit]

V type carriages[edit]

AV type carriage
Manufacturer Victorian Railways
Family name V-series
Constructed 1897–1899
Operator(s) Victorian Railways
Car length 50 ft 2 in (15.29 m)
BV type carriage
Manufacturer Victorian Railways
Family name V-series
Constructed 1898–1899
Operator(s) Victorian Railways
DV (later CV) guards van
Manufacturer Victorian Railways
Family name V-series
Constructed 1898 & 1906
Number built 2+5

Despite some records, these classes were never "doubled" to reflect their bogies; for example, the class AVAV never existed.


In the closing years of the 19th century, the VR found itself in need of more passenger carriages.

In 1897 the design was settled upon and carriage AV285 was brought into use. The number 285 was a follow-on from the AA class of carriages; the last of these was numbered 284. The "V" indicated a vestibule (walkthrough interconnection to the next carriage).

The new carriage was 50 feet, 2 inches long and internally was laid out similar to the later E, S and W cars with a side corridor and compartments. It was the first passenger carriage to feature toilets, which were becoming more and more important with longer travelling being made possible.

With the trial a success, construction continued with AV's 286 and 287; but all three cars were renumbered to the AV1-3 series prior to service. By 1898 cars AV1-7 were all in revenue service; these were joined by AV8-35 by the end of 1899.

Some of the carriages were used as Joint Stock for running between Melbourne and Adelaide, and entered this service directly from the production line. They were painted as the OA class, but this was never officially recorded. OAs 31, 32, 34 and 35 were AV 31, 26, 5 and 11 in that order. The cars returned to their AV designations about 1907, but maintained their alternative designs with only four doors per side instead of the normal six (doors two and five were deleted, and the space replaced with wider windows). Cars AV 21 and 23 also had some role in Joint Stock services, but it is not known whether they were ever recoded.

The carriages were kept in service until the early 1960s, being withdrawn and scrapped between 1962 and 1970.

A handful of cars were however retained, some converted to the Display Train (see below) and some for heritage operations.


In parallel with the production of the AV class, second class vehicles were also constructed. The same dimensions and general layout were used, with construction lasting through 1898 and 1899. A total of 25 vehicles were built, numbered from BV1 to BV25.

Again, joint stock vehicles were drawn from the class. OBs 33 and 36 were converted from BV's 23 and 6 respectively - however they were never officially recorded as the OB class.

CV, DV[edit]

Usually when the Victorian Railways developed a new type of passenger car, they also produced a matching guards van. The V series was no different, producing DV1 and DV2 in 1898.

These vans were fitted with guards compartments at each end, with a large baggage area in the centre. Vans 1 and 2 were fitted with small side areas known as "duckets" - these were to be used by the guard to peer along the side of the train through narrow windows. This was in lieu of the more regular raised observation compartments, and as such CV's 1 and 2 were unique for their era in having flat roofs.

In 1906 the class was increased with DV3 through DV7 brought into service. None of these vans had duckets, instead returning to the norm of raised observation areas.

In the 1910 recoding the DV class was recoded to CV, but the numbers were unchanged. The class outlasted the AV and BV passenger carriages by about two decades, with all vans still in service in 1980. Over time the class had their timber sides replaced with steel sheeting, but otherwise they remained in as-built condition for most of their lives.

The Display Train[edit]

As new carriages were introduced in the mid-1960s, it was found that the V-series passenger cars were becoming surplus. Rather than scrapping the fleet, in 1966 cars AV 22, 4, 6 and 29 lost the AV classification and became cars 1-4. in 1968 these were joined by BV's 9 and 21, these being renumbered simply "5" and "6". In 1975 guards van CV2 was modified to become a power generator for the set, but it was not externally altered.

The carriage interiors were obliterated and replaced with advertising material; the outsides were sheathed in aluminium cladding, essentially creating a set of billboards on wheels. However the original carriages were more-or-less retained under the shell; photos exist of some of the carriages with the shell half-removed [1], revealing the passenger car's original exterior in worse-than-average condition.

Of course the train was not in use every day, and for most of its life it was stored in Newport Workshops, with tours about every two years. By the late 1980s it was obvious the idea was a mistake, so the cars were scrapped with the metal content sold to a metal reclaiming company in Coburg.

Victorian & South Australian Railways Joint Stock[edit]

On Wednesday 19 January 1887, the Victorian Railways' Western Line to Dimboola,[8] and the South Australian Railways' Wolseley line, met at Serviceton. Since both sides shared the broad gauge of 5'3", an agreement was found allowing a pool of carriages, classed O, which were specifically allocated to interstate trains linking the capitals of Melbourne and Adelaide. The new train was to be called the Intercolonial Express.[9] The operating and maintenance cost would be funded by both railways, roughly 60% paid for by the Victorian Railways and 40% by the South Australian Railways.

Mann cars (1-4O, 29O, 30O)[edit]

1-4, 29, 30O, Willochra, 117, Broughton, ViceRegal Car 3, Sleeper No.6, Avon, Mildura, Kiewa, Latrobe, Hindmarsh
Constructed 1886
Scrapped 1929-1932
Capacity 20 berths
Operator(s) Victorian and South Australian Railways
Car body construction 61 ft 2 in (18.64 m)
Car length 70 ft 8.5 in (21.55 m)
Width 9 ft 8 in (2.95 m)
Height 13 ft 3 in (4.04 m)
Weight 35t 7cwt 3qtr
Bogies 46 ft 0 in (14.02 m) apart

In 1886, delivery was taken of four sleeping carriages built by the Mann Boudoir Car Company of New York.[10]

The first two, 1O and 2O, were delivered on 22 October 1886, and 3O and 4O entered service on 24 December of the same year. The cars had twenty berths attached to a corridor, with exposed end-platform diaphragms.[11]

Additional cars 29O and 30O entered service on 30 October 1889, identical to their predecessors. It is possible that 29O was constructed at Newport Workshops, having been delivered as a kit of parts.

In 1907 the E type carriage sleepers were entering service and rendering these sleepers obsolete, so the O fleet was split roughly equally between the two railways. In March 1908 the Mann Boudoir cars were reallocated; 1O and 4O went to the South Australian Railways; the pair were issued numbered 116 and 117 in the SAR fleet, while 2O and 3O became Sleeper No.6 and Mildura in the Victorian Railways' fleet. 29O and 30O were retained in Joint Stock service until further E type sleeping cars had been delivered, but they were allocated names Latrobe[12] and Hindmarsh[13] respectively.

South Australian Railways[edit]

Cars 116 and 117 entered SAR-exclusive service in 1908.

116 was fitted with electric lighting, and one end was altered to an observation car profile for departmental inspection tours, in 1909. It was renamed Willochra in 1910 and retained in that service until 1933 when it was officially condemned, though reports exist of it having been part of the 1934 Royal Tour Pilot Train.[14] The car was sold to Rofe and Co in 1935.

117 was named Broughton in 1911, and altered like Willochra as an observation car in 1913 (presumably including fitting of electric lighting). In April 1930 it was converted to State (ViceRegal) Car No.1, and it was retained in that capacity until 1940 when it was withdrawn and sold to W.Brown and Sons Ltd. It ended its days as a house boat at Goolwa. Eventually it fell into disrepair and was broken up about 1974.[15]

Hindmarsh was allocated to the SAR in 1920, and it is known that it was used on that railway's Renmark Express service during 1927-1929. The car was recorded as scrapped in 1933, but it had been used as part of the 1934 Royal Tour (Duke of Gloucester)'s Pilot Train between Tarlee and Adelaide. Carriage no. 118 had long-since been allocated to a different vehicle, so the car kept its name as the only identity.

It is thought that the vehicle was sold and moved to a property somewhere in the Two Wells - Virginia region.

Victorian Railways[edit]

By August 1908 Mildura had been rebuilt with fourteen berths removed and replaced with a kitchen and dining area, and renamed Kiewa.[16] Sleeper No.6 followed in 1911 with the same conversions made, and it was named Avon. Externally the cars were still marked as first-class sleepers, with no reference to the kitchens.[17]

Latrobe was given to the VR in 1920, but no records exist of any conversion away from the sleeping car configuration.

Kiewa and Latrobe were withdrawn in 1929, and Avon in 1932.[18][19]

Mansard Roof Composite Sitting (5-12, 25-28O)[edit]

5-12O, 233-238, 77-82ABAB, 75-80AB, later conversions
Constructed 1887-1891
Scrapped 1936-1976
Capacity 32 1st, 20 2nd sitting (later 60 2nd for SAR)
Operator(s) Victorian and South Australian Railways
Car body construction 39 ft 6 in (12.04 m)
Car length 42 ft 10.5 in (13.07 m)
Width 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
Height 12 ft 2 in (3.71 m)
Weight 18t 10cwt
Bogies 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m) apart

From 17 January 1887, a small fleet of composite 1st/2nd sitting carriages were built by the Victorian Railways' locomotive and carriage department, and allocated to the Intercolonial Express. Cars were given identites 5O through 12O, as numbers 1-4 had been taken by the Mann sleepers. The cars were of a side-loading type, 44ft1in long and with capacity for 32 1st and 20 2nd class passengers.[20]

A later delivery added numbers 25-28 to the fleet, with these vehicles entering service over the course of 1889-1891. Again, all were built at Newport, with the exception of number 25 which had been constructed at the South Australian Railways' equivalent.

When the cars were superseded by the OA/OB fleet in 1900, half the cars (6-8, 10, 11, 25) went to the South Australian Railways as numbers 233-238, and the rest (5, 9, 12, 28, 26, 27) went to the Victorian Railways as cars 77-82 ABAB.[21]

South Australian Railways[edit]

The South Australian carriages were converted in 1929 to sit 60 2nd class passengers, and most were scrapped in 1938 (233 in 1936; 238 in 1953).[22]

Victorian Railways[edit]

The Victorian carriages were renumbered again in the 1910 recoding, to occupy the range 75-80AB.

In the 1950s 75-77AB were converted to temporary Way and Works crew sleeper cars; 75 and 77AB were scrapped in 1956 with bodies last seen in Alberton, Victoria in that year, but they were both gone by 1995 when the area was developed for housing. 76AB was formally converted to workmens sleeper 77WW in 1959, and retained in service until 1976 when it was stored at Newport Workshops; it was then marked Off Register at some point in 1977.

78, 79 and 80AB were extended in 1911-13 with frame splicing to bring the total length to 57' 3" over body. 78AB then remained in service until conversion to 57WW in 1958, and withdrawal in 1978. 79AB became 108B, then with electrification it was converted to Swing-door (dogbox) trailer carriage 100BT. In 1923 it was altered to 126T, and it was scrapped with that identity in 1964. 80AB became 32BC with a guard compartment, then 9BCD in 1921 and 22D in 1924. It was marked scrapped in 1962.

Mansard Roof Centre Cupola Guard's Vans (13O, 14O)[edit]

13O, 14O
Constructed 1887
Scrapped 1983
Capacity 16 tons
Operator(s) Victorian and South Australian Railways
Car body construction 39 ft 6 in (12.04 m)
Car length 43 ft 3.5 in (13.20 m)
Width 8 ft 3 in (2.51 m)
Height 12 ft 7.75 in (3.85 m)
Weight 16 tons 15 cwt
Bogies 27 ft 7 in (8.41 m)

Two composite passenger and guard/brakevans were built by Newport Workshops and dedicated to the Intercolonial Express in 1887, and allocated identities 13O and 14O.

The vans comprised a long goods and passenger compartment, with a guard's raised observation cupola in the centre. The guard had both a handbrake and a direct connection to the Westinghouse Air Brake pipe for the whole train.

In 1908 they were removed from Joint Stock service. 13O went to the VR as 46DD, while 14O became No.7 with the SAR.[23]

South Australian Railways[edit]

Not much detail is available on the post-Joint Stock life of brake van 7.[24]

Victorian Railways[edit]

The VR accepted 13O onto their books in 1908, and allocated it the new identity 46DD. In the 1910 recoding that was changed to 44C.

It was fitted with high-speed bogies of the TT30 type in 1958 at Newport Workshops, and retained in service until withdrawn in 1983. The body was sold to the Sunraysia Area Scouts at Lake Cullulleraine near Mildura, and it was last spotted by Bruce McLean at Lake Cullulleraine in 1991.[25][26]

Mansard Roof End Cupola Guard's Vans (15O, 16O, 23O, 24O)[edit]

15, 16, 23, 24O
Constructed 1887
Scrapped 1938-1953
Capacity 15 tons
Operator(s) Victorian and South Australian Railways
Car body construction 32 ft 1 in (9.78 m)
Car length 35 ft 4.5 in (10.78 m)
Width 8 ft 3 in (2.51 m)
Height 23 ft 7.75 in (7.21 m)
Weight 15 tons 1 cwt 1 qtr
Bogies 20 ft 0 in (6.10 m) apart

A further four composite passenger and guard/brakevans were constructed by the South Australian Railways for use on the Intercolonial Express; 15O and 16O in 1887, and 23O, 24O in 1890.

These vans comprised a long goods and passenger compartment, with a guard's raised observation cupola at one end.[27][28] The guard had both a handbrake and a direct connection to the Westinghouse Air Brake pipe for the whole train.

In 1895 the vans were marked as modified with a fish compartment; this would likely have been a small, iced, locked compartment under the floorboards of part of the van between the bogies.

In 1908 they were removed from Joint Stock service. 23O and 24O became No.58 and 68 with the SAR,[29] while the other two became the VR's 47 and 48DD.[30]

South Australian Railways[edit]

Not much detail is available on the post-Joint Stock lives of brake van 58.[31] However, it is known that No.58 was later converted to a weighbridge wagon (fixed at a certain weight for calibration purposes).

Van 68, on the other hand, was modified in 1919 with the guard compartment shifted to the centre of the van, requiring removal of the fish compartment. In 1930 the van was altered for use as a railcar trailer, and in 1941 the fish compartment was restored. Finally, in 1953, the van was condemned.[32]

Victorian Railways[edit]

The VR accepted 15O and 16O onto their books in 1908, and allocated them new identities 47-48DD. In the 1910 recoding they were given new identities 45C and 46C respectively.

45C was withdrawn in 1954, and 46C was withdrawn in 1938.

Mansard Roof Mail Vans (17-22O)[edit]

17-22O, EES3, 258, 259
Operator(s) Victorian and South Australian Railways
Car body construction 12 ft 1 in (3.68 m)[33]
Car length 35 ft 4.5 in (10.78 m)[34]
Width 7 ft 10 in (2.39 m)[35]
Weight 13t 15cwt 2qrt
Bogies 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m) between axles,[36] 20 ft 0 in (6.10 m) apart[37]

In the days before electronic communication, hand-written letters were the only method of long-distance communication. As a result, there were massive amounts of mail traffic on a daily basis between the south Australian and Victorian capital cities, from which the mail would be distributed all around the state.

To meet this demand, the South Australian Railways built six mail-sorting vans for use on the Intercolonial Express, all entering service in 1887 with identities 17O through 22O.[38]

The vans were staffed with post office employees, who loaded mail bags at the start of the trip (and at intermediate stops) and spent the entire travel time sorting letters for delivery enroute and at the terminus.

Interestingly, unlike all the other classes from the O series, the divide was uneven in 1908 with two - 18 and 19O - sent to South Australia as numbers 258 and 259; the other four were all given to the Victorian Railways. 17O became the VR's 3EES, retaining its mail-sorting facilities.

The remaining three vans, 20O, 21O and 22O, had their SAR ownership share purchased by the VR in 1904, and they were withdrawn from Joint Stock service and rebuilt as WS vans 9, 10 and 11.

South Australian Railways[edit]

18 and 19O were sent to the South Australian Railways in 1908 and allocated numbers 258 and 259.

In 1916, 258 was modified to become the Officers Inspection Car, Murray.[39] In 1934 the name was changed to Willochra, after the first (ex 1O) was withdrawn. In 1966 the van was condemned and sold to Mr Nicholls of Jabuk, who eventually sold it to Old Tailem Bend Town Historic village. It was moved to Port Dock Station Railway Museum in 1991.[40]

259 was spotted in use as a locomotive crew sleeping van in 1918, and it was withdrawn from service around 1936.[41]

Victorian Railways[edit]

17O became 3EES in 1908 then 3DS in 1910, following the recoding of the then-new E type carriages. In 1922 it was rebuilt as a workmens sleeper no. 4WW, and in 1938 it was scrapped.

20O, 21O and 22O became VR property in 1904, and they were rebuilt as WS vans 9, 10 and 11. This group of workmens sleepers was supposed to be restricted to four-wheel wagons, so in 1910 they were recoded 1-3WW.

1WW was scrapped in 1931; 2WW in 1934 and 3WW in 1929.

1900 fleet boost - 31-42 OA, OB[edit]

By 1900, some of the original O-type carriages were no longer the best of either railways' fleet, so both the Victorian and South Australian Railways volunteered six carriages each from their regular fleet, as temporary members of the O series.

All cars were returned to their original identities and allocations in late 1908.

Joint-Stock V type carriages (31-36 OA & OB)[edit]

The vehicles provided by the VR were 1898-1900 built V type carriages 21AV, 26AV, 23BV, 5AV, 11AV and 6BV, taking numbers 31-36 and codes OA for first class and OB for second. However, there is no evidence that the new codes were marked externally.[42][43][44]

Joint-Stock SAR carriages (37-39OA, 40-42OB)[edit]

The vehicles provided by the SAR had been built at the Islington workshops. 181, 182 and 183 were built in 1892 as 44ft1in side-loading coaches with accommodation for 48 1st class passengers,[45] and they became 37-39OA. 192, 193 and 196 were from an 1899 batch, with room for 54 2nd class passengers.[46] Only the latter three had internal toilet compartments.

Introduction of E type carriages[edit]

The first E type carriages ran in late 1906 on the Melbourne-Albury run, but by 1908 enough had been constructed to boost, and later replace, the entire Joint Stock fleet then running between Melbourne and Adelaide.

By 1910, 24 cars had been delivered into Joint Stock service - six each 1st (AE) and 2nd (BE) class sitting cars four Sleeping cars named Melbourne, Ballaarat, Wolseley and Adelaide (later renamed), four CE guard vans, and two each mail storage (EEB) and mail sorting (EES) vans. The SAR built 9 of the cars plus one underframe at Islington Workshops to cover 40% of the construction cost (as agreed between the SAR and VR commissioners), though the body of this tenth car was constructed at Newport.

Details of further deliveries of E type carriages can be found on that page.

Special Consists[edit]

The Better Farming Train[edit]

The RESO Train[edit]

The Vintage Train[edit]

Most of the carriages predating the V subtype had been withdrawn by the late 1960s and scrapped, so these were the only carriages remaining that could serve as a "vintage train" for leasing. Remaining V type carriages were not required for daily service, so they were instead put aside from normal running, intended to be used on specials. The train ran from 1967 to 1983, after which the remaining carriages were formally entered into the state heritage register.

First class accommodation on the train was provided with AV cars in the group 1, 12, 16, 23 (Parlor), 30, 32 (Parlor) and 35, along with 45ABL, 12BL/Pioneer and 13BL/Enterprise. 12AV only lasted to 1970 and 16AV for only a few months, but the rest of the cars ran right through to 1983 and all bar 35AV were preserved with that last unit written off.

Second class carriages included most of the BV fleet - cars 1, 3-8, 10-11, 15-20 and 24. Cars were run until in need of maintenance, then withdrawn and scrapped. The first to go was 20BV in 1967, only a few months after the train had started running. This was followed in 1968 with class members 10BV, 16BV, 17BV and 24BV, and in 1970 cars 4BV, 5BV, 11BV and 15BV. In 1973 6BV was also scrapped. The remainder - 1, 3, 7, 8, 18 and 19, were retained until 1981 when 1BV was scrapped; the rest entered formal preservation sometime between 1981 and 1983.

Other cars known to have been included were some BC vans, with one end fitted with dual couplings since the R Class locomotives - then the most popular choice for heritage steam specials - were not compatible with screw couplings. When the BC cars were removed from service, the function of conversion cars was taken up by ABU carriages, about half of which had dual- or screw-couplings on at least one end.

The Wirth's Circus Train[edit]

Disposal and Preservation[edit]

The vast majority of carriages listed on this page were destroyed and burnt as a quick, easy form of disposal. Some were sold as sheds or a cheap form of housing, and a handful were retained for preservation.

The current known remnants are:

  • 3ABL was recovered as 85WW and is held at Moorooduc.
  • 45ABL was retained for preservation and is currently awaiting restoration at Steamrail Ballarat.
  • 1, 23, 32AV; 3, 7, 8, 18, 19BV, Enterprise and Pioneer are at Newport Workshops, East Block.
  • 30AV formerly at Trentham
  • 5CV at Moorooduc
  • 7CV was held by Seymour Rail Heritage Centre for a number of years; on 20th September 2015 it was transferred to Moorooduc for restoration, so that it can replace 5CV on tourist train duties, allowing that vehicle to be overhauled.[47]

Model Railways[edit]

Blue and Gold Models will be producing an HO scale resin kit of the V-series passenger carriages, with brass bogies supplied by Trainbuilder. CV's 3 through 7 have been produced as a resin kit by Lyndon's Basic Australian Trains; the kit is designed to represent 1960's onwards but can be backdated with additional handrails.

It would likely be far easier to scratchbuild a display train, rather than converting a V kit.

Veteran Models has released AV, BV & CV brass and whitemetal kits in 0 Scale (1:48).


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