Equivalent W.A.G.R. and N.Z.R. wagon classes.

In 1891 a total of 100 low sided open wagons were obtained from New Zealand Railways by the W.A.G.R. These wagons were important in that they introduced the Norwegian chopper coupler to Western Australia and formed the standard for the large number of wagons introduced into service during the Gold Rush years. They were all N.Z.R. M class wagons (later W.A.G.R. class H). The influence of T. F. Rotheram, who was Locomotive Superintendent of the N.Z.R. and then Chief Mechanical Engineer of the W.A.G.R., is behind the design commonality as he is believed to have acted as a consultant to the W.A.G.R. before taking the job there.

Ex NZR M class wagon H3075 photographed at Midland Workshops in the very early 1900s. Note the non standard axleboxes. (Photo RHWA collection)

The four wheeled wagons were built on a 15'-0" long chassis with an 8'-6" wheelbase with a distinctive arrangement of leaf springs within the channel of the solebar rather than below it. In New Zealand the leaf springs were superseded by coil springs but no W.A.G.R. wagons of these designs were altered to or built with coil springs although the GA class had coil springs in their very early years. The bogie wagons were all 30'-0" long but the 4'-6" wheelbase bogies on the W.A.G.R. wagons were different from the N.Z.R. ones in the arrangement of the brake shoes, however, the 4'-10" wheelbase bogies on the W.A.G.R. and N.Z.R. brake vans appear identical.

Originally all of these types on both railways had hand brakes only but in later years the N.Z.R wagons acquired air brakes whilst many of the surviving W.A.G.R. examples acquired vacuum brakes. During the Second World War a number of the W.A.G.R. wagons were sold to the Commonwealth Railways. The C.R. classes are listed for completeness where appropriate. The equivalent classes so far as I know at present are listed in the table below with a tentative identification of the N.Z.R Blue Print number:


Type W.A.G.R. 1900 Class W.A.G.R. Pre 1900 class N.Z.R. class C.R. class
Horse Box A E G-3 (BP 2270) -
Covered goods van D G K-4 (BP 2117) -
Open wagon G IW L-1 (BP 305, 1382) NGSC
Low-sided wagon H JW M-1 (BP 977) -
Single bolster I M N-1 (BP 2789, 3182) NRS
Ballast Hopper L U YB-1 (BP 1391) -
Twin bolster N L N-2 (BP 3104)? -
Gunpowder Van O H ? -
Bogie Bolster Q LB ? -
Bogie Open R IB R (BP 1546 similar) NGB
Bogie Sheep S NB S? -
Bogie Cattle T OB T? -
Bogie flat U KB U-1, 2 (BP 396. 736 similar) NRB
Bogie Van V GB Z-1 (BP 1727 similar) NVA
Bogie Gunpowder van Y HB ? -
Brake Van Z C F (1889 BP 543) NY

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