Red Hens that were retired early?

  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
Just wondering, is there any info around the place about the Red Hens  from 341-361? Were these replaced by the 2000 class railcars? They seem to be obscure vehicles, with very little history about them. Was there ever a Red Hen or H class numbered 356? Or were these never built?

Would it be safe to assume that 300-373, and 400-436 were all in service at some stage?

Edit: Corrected typo with the numbers.

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  M636C Minister for Railways

Just wondering, is there any info around the place about the Red Hens  from 341-361? Were these replaced by the 2000 class railcars? They seem to be obscure vehicles, with very little history about them. Was there ever a Red Hen or H class numbered 356? Or were these never built?

Would it be safe to assume that 300-373, and 400-437 were all in service at some stage?
Railcars 300 to 373 and 400 to 436 were built by the SAR and handed over to the STA (or whatever it was called) in 1975.

No car 437 is listed

362 to 373 and 420 to 436 were built later than the others starting in 1968 after a break from 1961.

356 entered service on 17 May 1961

I'm pretty sure that there was an H class tram numbered 356, although there was some strange renumbering in that group.

  allan Chief Commissioner

Tram H356 is illustrated on p161 of "City & Glenelg".
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

SAR only built what they wanted at anyone time or in other words in batches and so with a gap of a few years more of the same got built although later Redhens had a few changes made inside and outside. The later cars had bottom lift windows with an antiglare mesh in the top window pane while the original cars had top drop windows with no anti glare mesh at all. Both windows were identical in size and construction though. Also internally larger cabs were provided on the later cars and so a double seat behind the cabs was removed there may have been other changes as well but that is all I can remember.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
I literally purchased that book to see visual evidence of one of the most obscure H class trams that was in existence. I'm surprised it survived into the 1960s. Nonetheless it's like a pictorial, and a tad overpriced, but it answers half of the question.

Are there any pics around the place that show Red Hens in the 350 range? I think I am still yet to see one in any form.
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

This might help for starters.

Oh and just a word about the H class numbers if a tram in that class was written off say in an accident or something then if it could not be repaired but scrapped then usually the last tram in the class took it's number to keep a full block of numbers rather than having spaces all through as trams were either got rid of or sold. So some trams have had a few renumberings over the years so you really need to keep that in mind is the tram that you are looking at is it the original number or a replacement for the number.

The same was later done to the Red Hen fleet as well when they got rid of a few, other cars were renumbered to take their place in the list. In both cases it just made accounting for them easier or easier to look up anyway. So you got a later Red Hen with a much lower number on it.

It is confusing now though as it makes a mockery of the list for anyone doing any research on either trams or Red Hens!
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

For most of their service life, redhens were in service, but there was a continual servicing and overhaul regime. So at any time a couple of sets would be out of service on any given day. ( plus failures etc)

The notes that come with the SAR Model Company redhens have a partial listing of differences in various cars. The cars you question were the Rolls Royce motors ones I think and because of that tended to be the first retired. They were noticeably different as they had air tanks outside the bogies at the B end of the cars. It meant the spares could be rationalised.

437 was never built and 300 was not renumbered for computer purposes like many AN locos etc were renumbered, eg 930 to 967 etc.

The rolls Royce and GM units had slightly different power and acceleration characteristics and I was told once that they mixed a GM with a RR to get a bit of extra grunt and also better acceleration. I have never seen an official record, but respected drivers have passed on stories.

It is also the reason why a fourth car was added to the superchooks and was often a RR version.
If you look at the comrails site you will find some images of both series.

The ARHS article by Kim Bird circa 1985 showed several shots of mixed sets. The only up top difference was a variation in the radiators, otherwise the bodies were all built on the same jig. ( 300 and 400 were the same length, shape, height etc.) A couple of very early 300,s were altered as the side sills hit the platform at Ovingham on test trips. The rounded ends on top were simply to fit headlights and to stop drivers trying to drive from the wrong end LOLOLOL!!!!
Internally there were small differences in seat colours, interior pane colours and a few seating changes over the years. Each seat frame was stamped with car number and seat location eg 300 -1 etc.
Towards the end they got mixed around to keep them running.

In the beginning 300 would be paired with 301 etc. But photos exist of a nine car Gawler race train with no order to the numbers. This was in the days pre 1964 when the numbers were set higher up the cars and prior to the gold "speed" stripes.
In later days prior to withdrawals commencing it was common for a set to be arranged with paired numbers.
Also after the withdrawal of the trailer cars it became common for 300 to run with 400 for the provision of a guards area and a first aid station.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
That post is quite comprehensive. I know that there was never a Red Hen numbered 437. I simply pressed the wrong key, and didn't notice it when I sent the post. Although I did use an OTTD mod which had Red Hens, and I numbered them from 437 to about 465 or something!

In the last hour, I have been wondering if there were ever trams numbered in the 340 range? Where did the previous range end when 351-380 were in existence? There were about 3 photos of 356 in total in that book, but not with the brown coating, only the grey and red. It was great to see it nonetheless

Is there any info around the place regarding the withdrawal of the 8 or so that disappeared before the 2000s?

I was curious about the renumbering. 351 was renumbered 380, and then back to 351 again at some stage, but I think the ones that survived to the 2000s retained their original numbers right?

I can't recall exactly which ones the Flexities replaced. Possibly 351, 357, 358, 360-380? There was one in the 370 range that was withdrawn earlier, but I can't recall which one. Was it 375?

Is there any particular reason why 351 survived until the 2000s? Heritage reasons perhaps? It seems odd that the next 5 built did not.
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

If 351 was the class leader it ( possibly !!!) may have been the first tram to Glenelg. ( I am not a tram historian, ) so it possibly was kept in mind for heritage reasons.

( my personal preference was for bluebird 258 for selfish personal reasons !!!) A girlfriend of mine liked it for the same reason !!
  alcoworldseries Deputy Commissioner

Location: Auburn
Returning to the original question redhens 341 (342) - 361, note the 342 in brackets, as this series of the redhens 342 - 361 all fitted with Rolls Royce 2x 6 in line supercharged diesel engines, the rest of the redhen fleet fitted with GM 6/71 inclined diesels.
As noted the powering characteristic on these engines vastly different, the GM's very good for stop start work but the Roll's engines supreme on express work, the maintenance staff preferred the GM engines as top end engine work could be performed without dropping the engine(s), whereas the Rolls engine(s) had to be dropped for top end work.
Some of the Rolls powered cars lasted to very near the end, and some retired early (as were some GM powered cars) cars 342 - 347 being some of the longest lasting as these the most recently overhauled 359 and 356 fairly early retirements.
I hope this helps.
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

Towards the end the Red Hens were simply retired due to condition rather than newness etc. Some had bad rust problems in them and this car had the whole lower sides replaced simply to keep it in service. Others though ran with large rust patches in places and some even had holes, small ones in the sides as well. When it was decided that no more overhauls etc were going to be done in the future most of the cars got flogged to keep them going, that is to say the drivers had to flog them to get them to do anything and so more dropped and in the end only the strong survived so to speak.

They just retired them as they dropped from service and there was no real planned retirement for any of  them though in the end. There may have been some kind of plan to start with but that went out the window as cars just dropped out all over the place.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
Again, thanks for the info. It's ironic that the two mentioned above were retired early, as the H class trams with the same numbers were two that did not see service into the 90s IIRC. Does anyone know exactly which one was the first to be withdrawn?

Also, this may sound stupid, but does anyone here remember traveling on the one with Rolls Royce engines? Did they sound different to the others? I still vaguely remember one that sounded different to the others. It sort of reminded me of a MAN SG280H articulated bus with a Voith transmission (Ex (S)TA 1941-1980/Serco 181-203 with some retaining their original numbers). I don't recall the number. It was over 20 years ago. That's all I can think of to describe it.

I suspect finding out what the Rolls Royce ones sounded like would be next to impossible, as none were preserved I take it?
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

Yes the Rolls Royce cars sounded different to the GM's and the difference is hard to explain as well. Also some of the later cars got Commonwealth type bogies under them when the stock of ex Overland bogies ran out, both bogies were interchangeable  though and some times you would see a car with different bogies at each end of the car.

The bogies under this car are the original type ex Overland bogies reworked for these cars!

The other type were similar but not identical to these from Walthers model railway catalog!
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

There are several lots of videos on you tube etc.
You could also search several enthusiast sites.
Google is your friend.

The main differences I remember were colours being different on internal panels, seats being different colours and the window bars.
Externally there was the pair of air tanks near the couplers on the RR ones.

When I was at my aunty and uncles place I had a direct view to Croydon station. On some days it seemed that the exhaust would make a strong vertical haze. But it was probably wind conditions.

I can never remember a sound difference, but you can never say never can you.

Trains on racetracks like West parklands with port and gawler trains racing, Past Parafield etc and climbing through the hills would be best chances of getting good sounds.

You may find some recordings on recordings by Bill Mudie.
He is alive and well and still distributes his recordings of many trains.

I apologise sincerely for releasing an early notice of his demise, and when speaking with him a few minutes ago he assured me he had no plans to go to the shunting yard in the sky at this time.

For those who want to add sounds to models or add atmosphere to a train room he is easily contacted on
For the context of this thread he has one or two recordings of redhens and will discover what type they are when his computer is back in action.
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller


Yesterday I incorrectly stated that Bill Mudie had passed.

I spoke with him this morning and he is alive and well.
He is still producing and selling recordings of Australian train sounds, and with Christmas approaching I recommend his products as a perfect gift for Christmas.
I have several of his recordings and they are first class.

I have no connection with the business other than as a customer and hope he has many years left in Adelaide.
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

Here you go a photo of a 300 car of the later series with one of each type of bogie on it A Norm Bray photo by the way.
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Great photo.

I still can't get used to back-to-back 300 class without the 860 trailer between. To me, they look out of place.
  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

The passengers had the same feelings.

No new rollingstock, just less seats for increasing numbers of passengers.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
Does anyone know what this item is between the vents at the top of these railcars?

This link shows a relatively clear example just above the area to the right of the second door on 402 (no idea of the location in the image). The item looks vertical. It almost resembles a gearstick in a car. What purpose did it serve? It's present on both the single and double ended units. Are there any close up photos of it around the place at all?

  patsstuffnow Junior Train Controller

I think you are referring to the exhaust pipe, one on each side.
  ARG706 Chief Commissioner

Location: SA
Thanks. I didn't think of this possibility for some reason. Makes sense now.
  DJPeters Deputy Commissioner

Yes two radiators each end of it with the exhaust pipe in the cut out section between them on both sides also there is a header tank for the cooling system as well up on the top along with the fans to draw air through the radiators.

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