Rollingstock Classification InformationComrails Logo

Rollingstock Classification

Original codes

All standard gauge Commonwealth Railways rollingstock was divided into the following groups

The vehicles in each group were numbered consecutively in order of introduction regardless of class. Narrow gauge rollingstock had similar classifications and groupings to standard gauge except all stock was prefixed with "N". When a vehicle was converted from one class to another in the same group (say from a ballast wagon to a tank wagon) it would retain the same number, but the class letters would be changed to reflect its new use. When a vehicle was converted from one group to another group (say from goods to a passenger vehicle) it would have both number and class changed. It would be struck off the list of the original group. An example of this was "NHRB 57" which when transferred to standard gauge was recoded "HRC 109".

The passenger stock was arranged for bogie stock with a suffix "S" being added to denote 4 wheel vehicles. No special letters were allocated to indicate stock having lavatories, corridors or vestibules as it was assumed that all carriages were fitted with these facilities.

When a new vehicle was introduced and the classification had already been used, a suffix letter would be attached to the coding. The first suffix used would be "A" the next "B" and so on.

Original Vehicle Codes

Base Code Letters

Original Vehicle Codes
AFirst class
BSecond class
(C)First and Second class
ESorting (mail)
HBrake van
JSteam motor coach
(S)4 wheel stock
This table contains a list of the original meaning of the vehicle classification codes. Items in "()" are used as a suffix only.

Passenger vehicle classifications

Passenger vehicle classifications
A1st class car with seats only
AB1st and 2nd class car with seats only
ABR1st and 2nd class car with seats and sleeping berths.
AF1st class lounge car
AFRSpecial service car (with sleeping and saloon accomodation only)
AR1st class car with seats and sleeping berths
ARP1st class car with seats and sleeping berths and end platforms
B2nd class car with seats only
BR2nd class car with seats and sleeping berths
BRP2nd class car with seats and sleeping berths and end platforms
BRPF2nd class car with seats, sleeping berths, platform ends and saloon.
ABP1st and 2nd class car with seats and platform ends
DDining car
EMail sorting van
Note: The "E" code for passenger vehicles was eventually used for employee vans rather than mail sorting. The goods vehicle classification system has "E" as employee vans.
HPassenger brake van
HAPassenger brake van with 1st class seating
HARPassenger brake van with 1st class sleeping berths
HBPassenger brake van with 2nd class seating
HEPassenger brake van with mail sorting compartment
HMPassenger brake van with bulk mail compartment
HRPassenger brake van with attendants sleeping berths
MBulk mail van
MEBulk mail van with mail sorting compartment
OHospital and ambulance van
SSSpecial service car (with saloon, sleeping, kitchen and dining facilities)
TBPTemporary 2nd class car with seats only and end platforms
Note: Unclassified vehicles included the pay car, inspection and eye-sight testing van and laboratory car

The rules for transfer of standard gauge carriages to narrow gauge, as documented in the 1950 Commonwealth Railways General Appendix, were that the original standard gauge number was retained, but if the coding already exists on the narrow gauge then the next available coding is used. Upon reversion to standard gauge the original coding is again allotted. The additional coding was written as a smaller sized letter until the mid 50's when a normal capital was used.

From the 1950 onwards this original system, based on Victorian Railway practice was substantially modified. The rules for transfer of Standard Gauge carriages to Narrow Gauges were altered so that the original Standard Gauge number was retained, but if the coding already existed on the Narrow Gauge then the next available coding was used. Upon reversion to Standard Gauge the original coding was again allotted.

After Australian National took over the old Commonwealth Railways rollingstock they initially maintained the classification system in a form similar to that used by the Commonwealth Railways. Following the introduction of the computerised wagon system in 1984 the old classification was replaced by an ad-hock system where almost anything went as long as that classification is not currently in use. This lead to the following non-standard classifications.

Oasis Bar
Entertainment Car
Conference car
Overland twinette cars
Overland roomette cars
Bluebird Railcars
Bluebird Mail/Luggage railcars
the original wooden Governors Special Service lounge car

Computer Check Letter

As part of the introduction of a computerised computer system in 1984, Australian National introduced a computer check letter following the rollingstock classification and number as through it was part of the car classification, but it was never actually used as part of the classification. It is still used today as part of the standard wagon classification system. It is a computer generated code that is entered on consist forms so that the classification and rollingstock number can be checked for accuracy. The number can be generated easily and I hav not kept track of it for historical purposes. For example, the Governors car is always referred to as "SSA260" not "SSA260H".

You can generate any check letter by using the "Check Letter Program" on the main menu.