Motor Vehicles used by C.R., A.N.R., and A.N

 
  Commrail Station Master

Hello Forum Members,

I am interested in the conventional road vehicles employed by Commonwealth Railways, Australian National Railways, and Australian National in the period 1950 to 1985 approx (not to be confused with hyrail or section cars). The vehicles in question would have been assigned to fettler gangs, inspectors, and administrative staff.

Any details, no matter how limited, including vehicle makes, colours, dates, registration numbers, and/or photographs would be terrific. Presumably, all carried white "C of A" plates with a "Z" prefix. So far I have identified the following vehicle types from black and white and colour images: -

Austin Lodestar truck, maroon cab?, c. 1950;
Austin WD truck, dark teal blue cab, c. 1962;
Land Rover ute, S.W.B., grey, c. 1963;
International Acco truck, white cab, c. 1983.

Regards,

Ross

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  pafcmachine Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide SA
My old man talks of having to do a driving test in a CL or CM valiant.

In the 90's he had a VN or VP wagon allocated to him. Remember it being white and yes I reckon it had special plates too.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
In addition to the Melbourne and Adelaide based cars previously covered in another thread, there were the usual Holden and Ford sedans/wagons/utes. As has been mentioned there were Valiants too, no doubt. I have personal experience with a white Falcon sedan on a visit to Port Augusta in the mid 1970s. This car was a bomb in that the exhaust leaked into the vehicle. I also used a manual Holden ute at Tarcoola around the same time - one had to start it in second gear as if you used first gear you were stuck with that gear for ever. This, of course, was era when Australian cars were rubbish compared with today. I had a brand new Holden sedan in the late 1970s where I cracked the head with about 300 km on the clock!

I also experienced a long wheel base bone coloured (only colour ?) Land Rover in Alice Springs around the same time. It was in good condition but primitive compared with today's 4WDs. I have a recollection that Land Rovers were not the favourite 4WDs around the time when Toyotas became available as their aluminium bodies tended to fall to bits under the harsh conditions unlike the steel Toyotas. They were, however,  probably either cheaper or evaluated more favourably under tender as being POC (Produce of the Commonwealth) or both. A bit vague now as to the details and time frame for the Land Rovers but there were certainly many of them over the years before Toyota became firmly established. IIRC many of the older models were green (also the only colour available ?).

There was also a Toyota 'fire engine' at the Port Augusta Workshops which had a custom built body (around the 1970s IIRC).

On my last trip to the Nullarbor I was relieved at Wirraminna and travelled to Port Augusta in a Holden station wagon - I would rather have stayed on the train....
  xdford Chief Train Controller

My old man talks of having to do a driving test in a CL or CM valiant.

In the 90's he had a VN or VP wagon allocated to him. Remember it being white and yes I reckon it had special plates too.
pafcmachine
In Late 1974 through mid 1975, Don Dunstan (the Premier at the time, not our current contributor) helped out Chrysler by buying about 1500 Valiant sedans and wagons and some utes for various Government depts including the Railways. I did my driving test in a Wagon in June 75 and Peterborough Loco Depot was allocated a pair of Wagons. I remember the Diesel Depot (Valiant) ute in about '77 wearing Commonwealth plates after I had left. Peterborough Loco also had a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Truck (Bedford?) for the Orroroo road freight service. The Valiants were the basic 215 motor model and as I recall, fairly roughly assembled and under powered.  The CR crews at Pt Pirie had Falcon wagons as I recall.

While in SAR ownership, the cars were not specially marked as I remember them but the Valiants were all White. I think the CR cars were a grey.

Hope this helps

Trevor
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Donald Dunstan to whom so many ex CR and SAR people will be eternally grateful.
  Alco_Haulic Chief Commissioner

Location: Eating out...
I have seen photo's of an OLD ergomatic cabbed Leyland being used to move truck trailers around Islington.

The popularity of the Toyota also has to do with the superior ergonomics of the vehicles in general. Land Rovers are extremely cramped, and for some, impossible to drive.
  Commrail Station Master

My old man talks of having to do a driving test in a CL or CM valiant.

In the 90's he had a VN or VP wagon allocated to him. Remember it being white and yes I reckon it had special plates too.
pafcmachine
Hello pafcmachine,

Thanks very much for your input.

I wonder whether other forum members recall whether the trucks carried any sort of logo, such as "C.R.", on the doors or elsewhere.

Regards,

Ross alias Commrail
  Commrail Station Master

In addition to the Melbourne and Adelaide based cars previously covered in another thread, there were the usual Holden and Ford sedans/wagons/utes. As has been mentioned there were Valiants too, no doubt. I have personal experience with a white Falcon sedan on a visit to Port Augusta in the mid 1970s. This car was a bomb in that the exhaust leaked into the vehicle. I also used a manual Holden ute at Tarcoola around the same time - one had to start it in second gear as if you used first gear you were stuck with that gear for ever. This, of course, was era when Australian cars were rubbish compared with today. I had a brand new Holden sedan in the late 1970s where I cracked the head with about 300 km on the clock!

I also experienced a long wheel base bone coloured (only colour ?) Land Rover in Alice Springs around the same time. It was in good condition but primitive compared with today's 4WDs. I have a recollection that Land Rovers were not the favourite 4WDs around the time when Toyotas became available as their aluminium bodies tended to fall to bits under the harsh conditions unlike the steel Toyotas. They were, however,  probably either cheaper or evaluated more favourably under tender as being POC (Produce of the Commonwealth) or both. A bit vague now as to the details and time frame for the Land Rovers but there were certainly many of them over the years before Toyota became firmly established. IIRC many of the older models were green (also the only colour available ?).

There was also a Toyota 'fire engine' at the Port Augusta Workshops which had a custom built body (around the 1970s IIRC).

On my last trip to the Nullarbor I was relieved at Wirraminna and travelled to Port Augusta in a Holden station wagon - I would rather have stayed on the train....


Hello Y-M Mundrabilla,

A very detailed contribution as usual.

Do you recall whether the vehicles were relatively new at the time and roughly what year model. If they were anything like P.M.G. Department and later Australia Post cars and trucks, they were in service for about three years before being replaced by the new model.


Kind regards,

Ross alias Commrail


























YM-Mundrabilla
  Commrail Station Master

In Late 1974 through mid 1975, Don Dunstan (the Premier at the time, not our current contributor) helped out Chrysler by buying about 1500 Valiant sedans and wagons and some utes for various Government depts including the Railways. I did my driving test in a Wagon in June 75 and Peterborough Loco Depot was allocated a pair of Wagons. I remember the Diesel Depot (Valiant) ute in about '77 wearing Commonwealth plates after I had left. Peterborough Loco also had a Toyota Land Cruiser and a Truck (Bedford?) for the Orroroo road freight service. The Valiants were the basic 215 motor model and as I recall, fairly roughly assembled and under powered.  The CR crews at Pt Pirie had Falcon wagons as I recall.

While in SAR ownership, the cars were not specially marked as I remember them but the Valiants were all White. I think the CR cars were a grey.

Hope this helps

Trevor



Hello Trevor,


Thank you very much for your contribution.

Just to clarify things, were the Valiants inherited from the South Australian Railways following the creation of A.N.R., or did the Commonwealth Railways purchase their own Valiants?


Kind regards,

Ross alias Commrail




xdford
  Commrail Station Master

I have seen photo's of an OLD ergomatic cabbed Leyland being used to move truck trailers around Islington.

The popularity of the Toyota also has to do with the superior ergonomics of the vehicles in general. Land Rovers are extremely cramped, and for some, impossible to drive.
Alco_Haulic
Hello Alco_Haulic,

I too have seen pictures of an Ergomatic-cabbed Leyland at Islington.


I agree, the Toyotas were better suited to Australian conditions than Land Rovers. From the early 1960s, the federal government phased out any Commonwealth trade preference requirement to buy British.

Cheers,

Ross alias Commrail
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I have seen photo's of an OLD ergomatic cabbed Leyland being used to move truck trailers around Islington.

The popularity of the Toyota also has to do with the superior ergonomics of the vehicles in general. Land Rovers are extremely cramped, and for some, impossible to drive.
"Alco_Haulic"


Agree about the ergonomics - a banana box on the floor would have been an improvement.
Presumably designed for bouncing around the farm in Britain or a 5 minute drive into town.

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