W type carriage

W type carriage

Infobox Train
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Operator = various heritage operators
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The W type carriages were wooden passenger carriages used on the railways of Victoria, Australia.


In the early 20th century, the Victorian Railways converted the central part of their network to electric traction. As part of this project, they converted a large number of 'Swing Door' rollingstock to electric traction, leaving a gaping hole in the ranks. As a result, the 'W' series of passenger cars were built. There were four variations, the AW, BW, CW and ABW, built from 1911.

There has been great interest in the origin of the 'W' group letter. In most other cases the letter has been derived from a basic feature or use of the car type. In the 1900s, new express passenger cars were being built to replace ageing equipment from the 1890s and earlier, and these were lettered 'E'.

At the same time shorter cars of the same design were built. As these cars were for general stopping trains, Peter J. Vincent, the main source for this article, believes the 'W' may represent 'Wayside' or non-express passenger type.

All the original carriages were about 58 feet long, but later additions were 64 feet instead.


AW cars

Built from 1911, 40 AW cars were built. They were numbered 1AW to 40AW, and had the then-standard clerestory roofs. This was later amended with an extra 9 carriages, 60AW to 68AW, which had the arched roofs instead. These extra nine were built in 1926-1927, for a total of 49 AW carriages between 1927 and 1937.

In December 1937, the new carriages, 60AW through 68AW, were converted to add 2nd-class capacity to the system:

Note that 60AW-63AW and 65AW were built in 1926, while 64AW and 66AW-68AW were built in 1927.

They were converted from AW to BW in December 1937, then BW to AW in 1955/56, and to VFW in 1972. The VFW's that were reconverted back to BW's were converted in 1979, while VFW's 3, 4 & 6 were converted to MT's in 1983. 7VFW was sold in 1983 as well.

Of note is that arched-roof carriages 69AW and 70AW were ordered but not built.

The VFW cars were painted in VR Blue and Gold, and were on Standard Gauge. The cars were used for special excursion trips, generally scouting or defence 'specials' that required one train.

75BW is in the care of Steamrail Victoria, but they have renumbered it again, back to its original 64AW.32MT was in storage at the "Tarp Shop" yard Newport Workshops, but was [http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11343654-s60.htm scrapped] sometime between 28 September 2008 and 1st October 2008.

[http://i198.photobucket.com/albums/aa109/VBAndy/Newport%20photos/S7301720.jpgPhoto of 32MT, 28 September 2008]

39AW is at Maldon on the Victorian Goldifelds Railway, but it has now been fitted with an elliptical roof.

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/steamtostay/2835396482/sizes/l Photo of 39AW]

BW cars

Built from 1911 to 1925, 44 BW cars were built. They were numbered 1BW to 44BW, and had the then-standard clerestory roofs. in 1926-27, 11 new cars were built, these being 64 feet long instead of the standard 58 feet. These were numbered 60BW to 70BW. They had semi-elliptical roofs instead of the Clerestory roofs, and were six inches wider than the other 44 BW cars, for a total of 10 feet as opposed to 9'6".

In 1937/1938, nine were converted from AW cars, to the 71BW - 79BW range. This was a result of an increase in second-class passengers. These were converted back to AW cars by the late 1950s. in 1980, the cars were again renumbered back to 71BW to 79BW, after spending some time as Standard Gauge 'second division' cars (the VFW class)!

In 1981, BW 80 - 82 were converted from ABW 61 - 63.

To better describe passenger cars for seating capacity requirements, cars BW 67 and 70 were relettered to BWL in 1982. The 'L' indicated a larger seating capacity.

BW 10 and 27 were destroyed in a collision at Seymour, 1935. BW 30 was scrapped in 1970. BW 24 and 29 was destroyed by fire at Ballarat Car Sheds, 1977.

Some cars have been restored to service for historical and charter trips. 60BW, 61BW, 63BW, 67BW and 68BW are operated by Steamrail Victoria, as their 'suburban' consist. These are the carriages used during, for example, the Caulfield-Mordialloc shuttles that run during the McKinnon festival, once per year. They are a semi-permanent consist.

5BW (or the remains of it) can be seen from the main road to Leongatha. However, it is on private property. It is on the North side of the road, just after going past Loch towards Leongatha.
It's at about (though not exactly)
Longitude: 38°22'18.25"S
Latitude: 145°43'6.55"E

31BW was also sold, and can now be seen from Tyabb Station if you look west.

1, 32 and 35 BW are owned by the Yarra Valley Tourist Railway in Healsville.

CW cars

Fifteen vans were built in 1913-14 with clerestory roof outlines. These were CW 1 - 15.

An additional five vans were built 1935, numbered 16 - 20. These vans were built with the arched roof style introduced in the 1920s.

14CW has been restored by Steamrail Victoria. 17CW is in the care of the South Gippsland Railway, and 1CW is stationary at Coal Creek.

ABW cars

57 ABW cars were built between 1911 and 1926. The earlier Clerestory-roof stock was numbered 1ABW to 42ABW, while the later arched roof stock was numbered 60ABW through 63ABW and 65ABW. Records are unclear as to whether 43ABW through 52ABW were clerestory or arched-roof carriages, but photos do exist of 50ABW and 52ABW as arched-roof stock, so presumably all ten were arched.

From 1961 to 1970, the original, clerestory ABW cars were recoded to ABU, to separate them from the larger capacity 64' cars. 1ABW was scrapped in 1951 and thus was not converted.

About 1981, cars 61ABW-63ABW were converted to 80BW-82BW, and 65ABW was converted to 31MT.

The cars ran until the late 1980s when replaced by the then-new 'N' sets.

63ABW is in the care of Steamrail Victoria.

64AW, 64BW & 64ABW

An interesting note is that 64ABW was never built, and never entered service. Peter J. Vincent's theory is that 64ABW was not built in the 1926 batch because of confusion between the 64-foot length of the new cars, and carriage number 64.

Also, 64AW and 64BW each entered service a year after their batch-counterparts, in 1927 instead of 1926. This was supposedly to reduce confusion. However, an extra ABW was not needed, and so instead of building 64ABW, the VR probably used its parts to construct one of 65AW to 68AW. This cannot be substantiated, but is the most likely explanation.


The W type carriages were slowly phased out of service from 1981 as part of the 'New Deal' reforms of passenger rail operations, with a number going into preservation. They are now shared by Steamrail Victoria, the Seymour Railway Heritage Centre, and other rail preservation groups.


* [http://www.pjv101.net/cd/pages/c062m.htm Peter J. Vincent: AW - First Class Sitting cars]
* [http://www.pjv101.net/cd/pages/c062d.htm Peter J. Vincent: AW database]
* [http://www.pjv101.net/cd/pages/c328m.htm Peter J. Vincent: BW & BWL - Second Class Sitting cars]
* [http://www.pjv101.net/cd/pages/c172m.htm Peter J. Vincent: CW - Passenger Guards Vans]
* [http://www.pjv101.net/cd/pages/c319m.htm Peter J. Vincent: ABW - First/Second Class cars]
* [http://www.pjv101.net/cd/pages/c489m.htm Peter J. Vincent: VFW - Second Class Sitting cars, Standard Gauge]
* [http://www.pjv101.net/cd/pages/c073m.htm Peter J. Vincent: MT - Rail Motor Trailers]
* [http://www.steamrail.com.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=114 Steamrail-owned W cars]

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