Class D (Class G before 1900)
In 1900 all of the four-wheeled vans in service on the W.A.G.R. were reclassified as class D. The oldest group consisted of 22 vans built for the W.A.G.R. between 1881 and 1891. Construction of these was halted when the New Zealand Railways designs were introduced and the N.Z.R. type vans formed the second group numbering a total of 75 vans built in 1894/5. Another group of 55 vans was inherited from the G.S.R. in 1896. These were similar to the older W.A.G.R. type and were also used by the M.R.W.A. as their class B. The M.R.W.A. vans were later converted to class BM.

Construction of a larger type started in 1904 with 5 vans built on a 17'-0" GA type underframe but this design was not persisted with. The next group used the 15'-0" GB type underframe and ran to a total of at least 64 vans built in 1905-7 before being superseded by yet another new design on the 16'-0" GC type underframe. These were only built for a period of three years from 1909-1911 although a batch of vans converted from P class brake vans in 1913 may also have been new vans to this design as may other "re-bodied" vans from the earlier batches.

The construction of new vans was halted until 1924 when a prototype DA class van was built on a GA type underframe. This was followed by 105 new DA class vans and some conversions. The last of this type did not appear until 1950. A further variant on this design was the class DB some of which were converted from class DA and others of which were built new. These vans had a fully ventilated floor but there were only 22 of them in total.

Some old A class horseboxes were converted to D Class vans in 1943. It is believed that these retained their original chassis but complete replacement cannot be ruled out. Finally in 1953 some "re-bodying" of older vans was carried out. Whether this was genuine re-bodying, or completely new vehicles, is again unclear. The late survivors were all 16'-0" vans on a GC type chassis. Thus the total stock of covered vans owned by the W.A.G.R. was quite small until the early 1950s when 710 new vans in class DC arrived from England.

Only one group of ex M.R.W.A. vans was taken into W.A.G.R. stock and renumbered when they were taken over in 1964. These were the twelve BLA class vans. All of the other M.R.W.A. vans were scrapped. The BLAs were all reclassified into class D by the W.A.G.R despite having louvred upper sides, which could have put them into class F.

In the 1950's the shortage of explosives vans lead to the reclassification of some D vans as class DE for explosives traffic. Eventually there were 37 of these vans including ex M.R.W.A. vehicles.

There were also three groups of specialist vehicles in the Class D group. The first of these were the DW class workmen's vans. Apart from a small number of purpose built vehicles the vans in this group were all conversions of other vehicles (mainly D class vans, but also including former brake vans and coaches). The second was a very small class of weighbridge testing vans (class DX). There were only three of these built but one was a replacement for one of the two original vans. Finally, there was the DY class Bullion Van, which could easily have been mistaken for a small coach.

A significant number of D class vans appeared as advertising vans from the 1920s onwards.  The list as currently understood is here .  Any additions are welcome.


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