B Class Cattle trucks (Class O before 1900)

The W.A.G.RYS had a total of about 149 class B cattle trucks of at least four different designs.

The first group consisted of only ten wagons although it is possible that there was more than one actual design in this group of early stock as two different diagrams are known. These wagons were 17'-0" over headstocks and originally had bell buffers.

The first four were built in 1885 (107-110) with a second batch of four in 1888 (178-182) and a final two? (36 and 37) in 1891.

178 was gone by 1900. All of this group were written off by 1903 although 107, 110, 180, and 182 survived to become Jetty wagons 257, 256, 263, and 264 respectively.

The picture at right is a detail from Battye library image 011078d taken at Gilgai in 1902. This wagon corresponds to a diagram showing a wagon with two sets of doors. There is another diagram with only one set of doors in the centre of the wagon so these first ten wagons might be of two types. Unfortunately no number is visible in the photo.

An old photo of Albany showing (amongst other things) four GSR cattle wagons in their pre-1896 livery. It is just about possible to recognise the words GREAT SOUT HERN RAILWAY at the top of the sides in white.

A second group of wagons of an altogether different design were inherited by the W.A.G.RYS when the G.S.R was taken over in 1896. They are believed to have been similar to the MRWA C class cattle trucks.

They were much shorter than the W.A.G.R. wagons being only 14'-0" long and were numbered 4358 - 4381 by the W.A.G.RYS with 4362 and 4381 being converted to D class goods vans before 1900.

4369 went to the P.W.D. but was returned and re-numbered 629 in 1911. The rest were written off as follows:

The above image is enlarged from an old coloured postcard and shows one of the GSR B class cattle wagons at Wagin.

1948

4377 written off

1951

629, 4359, 4368 written off

1953

4372 written off

1954

4358, 4364, 4365, 4366, 4367, 4378 written off

1955

4371, 4374, 4376, 4380 written off

1956

4361,4370 written off

1957

4363 written off

1958

4379 written off

1959

4375 written off

1962

4360 written off

However this is not the whole story. Usually a wagon would not be expected to have a life of more than about 30 -40 years, even on the W.A.G.R. so the question arises as to whether these wagons were reconstructed or replaced at some point between about 1900 and 1925. It seems likely that this was the case with replacements being to the standard design on the GB underframe listed below. Confirmation of this for at least one wagon is given by the enlargement below of an old postcard of Albany which dates to some point between 1928 and 1942 showing B436? where the last digit is present but impossible to make out . It now seems likely to me that the GSR cattle vans were replaced by new standard B class wagons at some point between 1900 and 1916 (when construction of class BD started).

No cattle trucks were built new on the New Zealand underframe and the first standard design did not arrive until the 1902 15'-0" all steel underframe became available. This third group of wagons were numbered 5858 - 5867 when built in 1902. 5858 became an elephant van in about 1916 and was eventually reclassified as class BD in 1954. 5872 joined this group in 1948 as a conversion of a C class sheep van (alternatively this could have been a new van or a numbering error). It was written off in 1956. Other withdrawals were:

1951

5867 written off

1954

5859, 5861-5865 written off

1957

5860 written off

1958

5866 written off

The fourth group used the GB type 15'-0" wooden underframe. Battye library photo 10006PD has a nice clear view of B6293 in front of Fremantle power house.

The body work appears to have been almost identical with the previous group. These wagons were numbered rather haphazardly as some were given numbers vacated by scrapped wagons.

They were built as follows:

b6297.jpg

B6297 under repair in Midland Workshops (WAGR official -ARHS collection)

1904 108, 109, 179-182 built
1905 6285 - 6314 built
1907 83, 88, 89, 90-92, 95-99, 100-104, 107, 110-117 built
1911 115, 7513-7537 built
1912 9715, 9716 built
1913 9729 - 9753 built

Three wagons (6300, 6313 and 9740) became elephant vans in 1929.

In the 1920's replacement of these wagons started with many being converted to (or replaced by) BD class wagons. Most of the survivors were written off in 1954/5 when the new BE class wagons became available although the last survivors (7522 and 9736) lasted until 1964. Conversions to BD were as follows:

1920

6308 to BD

1921

6288, 6291 to BD

1923

6295, 6310 to BD

1924

107, 6309 to BD

1925

100, 6307 to BD

1928

110, 7537 to BD

1929

9742 to BD

1930

90, 6286, 6292 to BD

1932

6299 to BD

1933

9730 to BD

1936

7525 to BD

1937

113, 116, 9731 to BD

1941

7524 to BD

1943

7518, 9715 to BD

1944

95 to BD

1945

6298, 9733 to BD

B91 was used on the Hopetoun-Ravensthorpe line but survived the closure and was returned to the main system in 1943. The remainder of the class was written off with most being withdrawn as a result of the construction of the new BE class in 1952/3:

1935 9749 written off
1942 9738 written off
1948 6301, 7515 written off
1949 7529 written off
1950 103, 9748 written off
1951 7530, 9729, 9741, 9752 written off
1953 83, 6285, 7535, 9745 written off
1954 88, 89, 91, 92, 96-9, 101, 108, 109, 111, 114, 115, 117, 179-182, 6289, 6293, 6294, 6296, 6302, 6304, 7517, 7519, 7521, 7527, 7531, 7533, 7536, 9716, 9732, 9735, 9739, 9743, 9746, 9750, 9751 written off
1955 6311, 6312, 6314, 7513, 7514, 7516, 7520, 7532, 9734, 9753
1956 106, 6297, 6303, 6305, 6306, 7528
1957 102, 112, 6290, 7534 written off
1958 7523 written off
1961 104 written off
1962 6287, 7526, 9737, 9744 written off
1964 7522, 9736 written off

The final group of class B cattle wagons was 10107-10116, which were new 16'-0" long vehicles built in 1916. They were the first vehicles in what was to become class BD to which they were reclassified in 1920.

One A class horsebox (A5142) was briefly included in Class B when it was converted to a cattle wagon in 1936. In 1937 it was then reclassified BS.

Other Cattle trucks

The W.A.G.R.'s other cattle trucks were classes BD, BE, BS and the bogie vehicles in Classes T, TA and TAD.

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