South Australian Railways Centenary and Centre Loading CarriagesComrails Logo

South Australian Railways

Centenary and Centre Loading Carriages

General Information

The South Australian Railways purchased the Glenelg railway line in December 1899 and identified a need for more rollingstock for holidays, racedays etc. This lead to the approval for the building of new cars similar to a number of old cars taken over with the Glenelg line. The original Glenelg line cars had been based on imported United States designs dating from the 1860's. The SAR put into service ten cars (260-267) entered service December 1908 with two baggage car (268-269) in January 1909, all specifically built for the Glenelg suburban trains. Interiors were made off selected native timbers and the body structure from seasoned Blackwood including a clerestory roof originally fitted with "Milk Glass" windows and polished timber matching the rest of the car. These cars were also the first in South Australia fitted with electric light in place of Pitsch gas.

More cars were required for other suburban lines and originally they were to have been the same as 260-269, but narrower cars were built becauses of the wider platforms on the other suburban lines. Length was also increased to include a centre vestibule. Building began in 1910 with numbers allotted in the range 314-363. The first 4 cars entered service 31.5.1912. Fifteen more Glenelg cars (364-378) were constructed during 1913-14 at "A Pengelly and Coy" on underframes supplied by Islington Workshops. Eighty more suburban cars were contructed between 1914 and 1924. With Islington workshops producing both bodies and underframes for 260-269 and 314-363.

Glenelg cars 260-267 and 364-374 originally were painted brown, with a gold lettered "SAR" centrally above the windows, and the car number done in a "floral" alphabet. These cars also featured end windows and Ratten cane seating for 76 passengers. Baggage cars 268-269 and 375-378 were done similar, except capacity was reduced to 56 passengers.

Suburban cars had "SAR" and Car number centrally below windows on the exterior of each compartment in a "floral" alphabet. For each compartment above the windows was "FIRST" and "SECOND".

The cars remained basically unaltered throughout the 1920's, except in July 1927, 13 Glenelg cars were fitted with lavatories (baggage cars 269 and 378 unaltered).

On 1.6.1929, W.A.Webb reclassified all suburban cars as one class, with lettering in silver block, applied to the cars a reduced the number of times. The cars now only had "Smoking", "Non-smoking" and car numbers on end panels.

Car 373 (Glenelg) was placed outside the CME's office on 22.3.1935 for inspection by the Railways Commissioner. It had been fitted out with an "improved interior", including moquette cloth seating. The Railway Commisioner gave approval for a further 12 cars to be altered. The second car completed was 367 in May. As the year progressed, approval was given to ncrease the number of cars to 23. Once again 269 and 378 were left unaltered.

During 1935, the Governer of SA suggested running a special train for SA's Centenary (1936). It was decided to use several improved Glenelg cars. These cars were repainted from Regal Red to the State Centenary colours of Hawthorn Green and Cream. The colour scheme included Gold Block lettering "1836 CENTENARY 1936" on the letterboard and the South Australian state badge "The Piping Shrike" centrally below the windows. Baggage car 268 was fitted out as a buffet car. The "Centenary Limited" as the train was called, first operated on 7.3.1936 to Victor Harbor. Baggage car 377 was included in April 1936, increasing passenger capacity and replacing 2 x 60 foot brakevans (276 and 306) which were originally used on the train. The Centenary colour scheme became popular with the public and eventually the remaining Glenelg cars, except 269 and 378, were painted Green and Cream.

In 1937-38, the S.A.R. fitted 19 Suburban End and Centre loader, and 5 Suburban End loading Baggage cars with the semi partitioned seating. No lavatories were fitted and the cars remained Red. They became known in railway circles as "Blue Day Cars" (269 and 378 also fitted). During 1939-40, a handbrake was fitted to the centre vestibule of selected Suburban and Blue Day cars.

The railways received complaints about the lack of lavatory cars on long distance country trains, so in 1947-48, the 19 Blue Day cars were fitted with lavatories and washrooms in the centre vestibules and the colour scheme was altered from Red to Green and Cream. Cars 269 and 378 were also fitted and the exterior colours altered. They became part of the country car fleet. Those cars which had handbrakes fitted to the centre vestibule, had the brake gear removed to the end platform.

During the 1950's the SAR fitted select numbers of cars, of all types, with flush exterior panelling. Eleven Suburban Baggage cars were also fitted with Perambulator Compartment for pushers.

In 1961, 13 of the Suburban End loading Baggages were converted for railcar operation. This involved altering the brakes and fitting cold cathode fluorescent lighting, for use as trailer cars between a pair of "Red Hen" power cars. These cars were numbered 820-832 and retained the Red colour scheme.

During the late 1960's several Blue Days car interiors were painted white, and mass condemning of all cars began.

A total of 103 Suburban Centre and End loading carriages were built, plus 27 Suburban End loading Baggage cars. 19 of these cars were converted to the "Blue Day" configuration. Of the Glenelg cars, 19 End loaders were built and 6 Baggage cars, all of which were given "Improved Interiors".

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