Guards Van - home depot?

 
  nick_sheridan Locomotive Fireman

Were guards van tied to particular locations - yards, loco depots or stations - in the 1950s? I'm particularly interested in Lithgow and Bathurst... If so, anybody know details?
cheers nick

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  M636C Minister for Railways

Were guards van tied to particular locations - yards, loco depots or stations - in the 1950s? I'm particularly interested in Lithgow and Bathurst... If so, anybody know details?
cheers nick
nick_sheridan
Not in general.

The four wheel HG van used on the Yass town branch was lettered for use on the branch only, presumably to prevent an enthusiastic traffic officer from putting it on a main line pick up in the event of a van shortage.

Breakdown trains often had specially allocated vans but these were often distinctively painted and renumbered as service stock.

The HC composite van allocated to Harden Cowra trains was pretty much captive not the least because some clever person realised that it only needed a sliding door for baggage on one side for use on that line.

But these are all exceptions...

In your area of interest, the Tarana Oberon line had an HCX composite brake van that stayed on the branch. When a loaded train arrived at Tarana on the up, the HCX was replaced by an MHG and the 49 and the train headed off to Lithgow.

M636C
  Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never
Apart from the instances listed above there were some brakevans in captive service, ie UHG/JHG with heavy draw gear used on Hunter Valley Unit Coal trains.
Apart from the above vans roamed quite freely with some restrictions.
GHG vans could not be banked in the rear due to the wooden frames and construction.
GHG's couldn't be used on express freight either due to the plain bearings.
Only KHG's converted FHG's were to be used on the west express freights, something to do with Broken Hill crews.
I knew of some MHG's at Enfield that were marked "Metro Working Only", but then again I've been in a couple of those all the way to Goulburn.

Zodiac
  a6et Minister for Railways

Apart from the instances listed above there were some brakevans in captive service, ie UHG/JHG with heavy draw gear used on Hunter Valley Unit Coal trains.
Apart from the above vans roamed quite freely with some restrictions.
GHG vans could not be banked in the rear due to the wooden frames and construction.
GHG's couldn't be used on express freight either due to the plain bearings.
Only KHG's converted FHG's were to be used on the west express freights, something to do with Broken Hill crews.
I knew of some MHG's at Enfield that were marked "Metro Working Only", but then again I've been in a couple of those all the way to Goulburn.

Zodiac
Zodiac

Depending on the types of locomotives, GHG which were converted from old PHG, IIRC were allowed to be banked from the rear. Depending also on the bogie type, they could be used on Express freight trains, as many types of old friction bearing bogies were allowed to operate on passenger trains, including Brake vans with those bogies, as well as other bogie goods wagons.

As newer brake vans came into service including those converted using old frames they were very much pooled into general freight working, leaving the older types for slow metropolitan trip train working & yo yo's in the Illawarra, Sydney Metro & lower Hunter services.  The old ones were also to be found on other shunting & local services in different districts, including branch lines that were still open.

Even at the end of brake vans, there was very much a shortage of them for the amount of traffic available & there were contracts for new ones ready to be signed except for the change in operations.

The Broken Hill problem was that many crews were often required to travel passenger to & from depots to take up working, in which case owing to the lack of passenger trains, they had to travel either in the back cab, or 2nd engine where such was used, otherwise a van with amenities was required, thus the newer vans were required as they had better conditions.
  Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never
I know when I was a Guard in the middle 70's to middle 80's GHG's were not to be banked in the rear out of Lithgow and they certainly weren't allowed to run on AA tabled express freight.  

I never liked being banked out of Lithgow in an old wooden van, watching the windows and doors go in and out of square as power was applied was always a little disconcerting.

There were a bunch of upgraded MHG's running around that got a bit of an internal spruce up and were fitted with roller bearing bogies with these vans turning up on all sorts of trains.

Although not a strict working pattern according to my old note books you would generally find FHG/KHG on west services, MHG/GHG on Southern services and MHG/GHG/JHG on the north. Illawarra seemed to have a bit of everything.

Just on the FHG/KHG going west thing, I seem to recall that the overhead periscope being fitted to those vans had something to do with it.
I was a fan of the KHG or Kamper van as we called them. In the Guards compartment they had a seat that was three quarteds the width of the compartment which made a lovely bed.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I know when I was a Guard in the middle 70's to middle 80's GHG's were not to be banked in the rear out of Lithgow and they certainly weren't allowed to run on AA tabled express freight.  

I never liked being banked out of Lithgow in an old wooden van, watching the windows and doors go in and out of square as power was applied was always a little disconcerting.

There were a bunch of upgraded MHG's running around that got a bit of an internal spruce up and were fitted with roller bearing bogies with these vans turning up on all sorts of trains.

Although not a strict working pattern according to my old note books you would generally find FHG/KHG on west services, MHG/GHG on Southern services and MHG/GHG/JHG on the north. Illawarra seemed to have a bit of everything.

Just on the FHG/KHG going west thing, I seem to recall that the overhead periscope being fitted to those vans had something to do with it.
I was a fan of the KHG or Kamper van as we called them. In the Guards compartment they had a seat that was three quarteds the width of the compartment which made a lovely bed.
Zodiac
What type of loco was being used on the banking?  That is the key issue.

Wooden underframed vans were banked for years with all types of steam power other than 57, 58 & 60cl.  The key proviso was that they had buffers fitted to them, which included PHG, LHG, & even older BHG/SHG.

If you looked at the old coding of bogie vehicles, that had an a alongside them they were allowed to be attached to passenger trains with no speed limitation, surprisingly the BWH & G wagons & similar were so listed for some time.  Louvre & Meat van types, with any of the 2AE, 2BJ, & Andrews types of bogies were allowed to run at 115Km/h, especially those with 2AE as they were fitted to the power vans of RUB sets.

Following the derailments that started to happen in the 70's which were blamed on the old Friction bearing bogies such as the 2BP types, a program was commenced to replace all essential vehicles with roller bearing bogies, which meant the old 2BP & other types were fitted with open face type roller bearings to the frame, such wagons were recoded from B to F classification as well as the coal wagons similarly fitted had an increase in load applied.  Many of the MHG's were also fitted with R/B bogies in rebuilds.

When steam was replaced with diesels 48cl & 49's being the first & then the 47cl each had bank engine pins fitted on the cow catcher under the auto jaw which was swung up & into place under the lifting pin, this held the jaw open whilever the buffers were compressed & pin in place.  We had to test couple in this manner on all such workings on every train we banked.

When mainline engines were used to assist they were primarily used on the front, for not other reason than they went completely through the section, whereas bank engines usually had defined points where we simply dropped off the back of the train.

No doubt such movements were disconcerting but I guess was expected, I travelled on many a passenger carriage & worked on both diesel & steam & can assure you they were each more than disconcerting.

IIRC the introduction of new timings as well as codings came into place with the opening of the western SG line in early 1970, I was on loan at Parkes for a month in May owing to crew shortages, & that was were I first saw the AA code in place, whereas the South & North still maintained the older A, B, C, E codes, with A B, C & D being 100k runners, with E & following being 80K runners.

Trains such as the flexi van exp's usually had more modern vans on them but, any van could be used based on availability.
  Zodiac Junior Train Controller

Location: The Never Never
I'm not sure what was more important, what was doing the pushing, or what load was in front of the van (out of Lithgow  70's-80's).

There were differennt rules for 2200tonnes with 2 x 46/86/85 on the front with third 46/85/86 as a pilot and then a mainline diesel banking of any combination of the three. I do recall if you has three electrics up front you had to have a diesel in the rear as four electrics under load would pull too much power.

Some Guards with less intestinal fortitude would ride in the bank engine to Zig Zag and rejoin the van there.

I will conceed that it didnt really matter what the van was in steam days as the loads were much lighter so the strain on the van would not have been so high.

A few of the South Hi Wheelers were AA tabled, the fruit expresses ex-FNM, the empty car carrier trains ex-Enfield and the Tarago ore trains which compised of 22 x BDY's , brakevan and 3 x Mainline Engines, normally 80's.
  NSWRcars Assistant Commissioner

Just on the FHG/KHG going west thing, I seem to recall that the overhead periscope being fitted to those vans had something to do with it.
Zodiac
There were twelve FHG modified for interstate working to South Australia from 1970, with buffers removed, and SA lamp irons fitted. They were recoded IHG.
  a6et Minister for Railways

I'm not sure what was more important, what was doing the pushing, or what load was in front of the van (out of Lithgow  70's-80's).

There were differennt rules for 2200tonnes with 2 x 46/86/85 on the front with third 46/85/86 as a pilot and then a mainline diesel banking of any combination of the three. I do recall if you has three electrics up front you had to have a diesel in the rear as four electrics under load would pull too much power.

Some Guards with less intestinal fortitude would ride in the bank engine to Zig Zag and rejoin the van there.

I will conceed that it didnt really matter what the van was in steam days as the loads were much lighter so the strain on the van would not have been so high.

A few of the South Hi Wheelers were AA tabled, the fruit expresses ex-FNM, the empty car carrier trains ex-Enfield and the Tarago ore trains which compised of 22 x BDY's , brakevan and 3 x Mainline Engines, normally 80's.
Zodiac
With the main liner on the rear that meant it would have been coupled to the van & the train would have had to have stopped for detaching.

When was the AA timetables on the south.  The empty car carriers used to be a D runner, that meant it ran at 100K's when able but as it usually had 29 empties plus van with single main line loco, it had a lot of drag around the curves, & while set at around 700tonnes it was as slow as a full goods service.  If they had 2 main liners it was set as a B runner.

I guess the empty fruit exp train should have been given such a rating although there was no such timed runners up until I left Delec in 76
  nick_sheridan Locomotive Fireman

How were the vans assigned - by scheduled / special trains and then did each loco depot or station have a few assigned - and if so, how many?

Were their movements controlled by the Traffic Branch like any other piece of rolling-stock - or more like locos assigned to a depot?

cheers nick
  a6et Minister for Railways

How were the vans assigned - by scheduled / special trains and then did each loco depot or station have a few assigned - and if so, how many?

Were their movements controlled by the Traffic Branch like any other piece of rolling-stock - or more like locos assigned to a depot?

cheers nick
nick_sheridan

Generally speaking, unless there was specific needs or requirements set out for x type van to be used on a train, then any type could be used, & the only sort of allocation as such was for vans assigned to set trains as just mentioned, those converted for passenger services, specific types for stock trains that had drovers on board, & in the case of branch lines, LHG's were a preffered type by the Traffic branch for the seating for passengers, but more specifically for out of traffic at stations along the way.

It was not uncommon to see several vans on a single train for balancing purposes when traffic was light in one direction but heavy in the other, or even seen as a need in another location, & they could be found throughout the train in "general" goods trains.

So to be precise, they vans were basically just like a goods vehicle & used as required.

Many locations had what were called "Van roads" where vans were positioned off trains away from general traffic if seen as surplus for immediate needs but also, as a safe place to have the internals cleaned out during lay overs.

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