Class G open goods wagons (Classes I, II, IW, W before 1900)
Four wheeled open goods wagons were part of the W.A.G.R's rolling stock from the very earliest days. The early wagons, which in 1900 became part of Class G, broke down into at least five groups. The first group was those wagons, which had formed part of the original stock. The second group was the II class iron lined wagons. There were about 110 of these. They were all out of service by 1907 (except as jetty stock). The third group (originally class IW) was the New Zealand design , which became the standard W.A.G.R. class G and ran to over 800 wagons. The fourth group was the ninety gable-ended open wagons inherited from the G. S. R and identical to wagons built for the M.R.W.A. as their class A. The final group (class W before 1900) was a very specialised type known as class W before 1900 or more colloquially the "Seabrook wagons". They had side-doors the full length of the side and could carry both minerals and water. A photo showing both an II and an IW running as class G appears in the Passey collection (10136P). In their later years some sixty G class wagons were converted for wheat traffic at Bunbury and classified GW whilst another small group were converted for lime sand traffic and classed GL.
In 1901 the standard type was revised with a new all steel vacuum braked underframe although only 154 of these were built. A further change took place in 1904 when the standard design appeared in a wider version with a vacuum braked wooden underframe. Only nine of these were built before they were reclassified GB. The GB class eventually reached 453 examples. In the meantime a larger capacity open wagon had been introduced for bulkier loads (class GA). They were built in both the UK and America, and a total of 761 wagons was eventually reached.
In 1907 two new designs (classes GC and GD) appeared. The GC class wagon was basically a larger version of the class GB. A total of at least 3700 of these were built and they were the standard W.A.G.R. open wagon design until 1930 when a new version (still classed GC) appeared with a steel underframe. The wooden framed GC design was also used by the M.R.W.A as their class AC. Conversions of the GCs produced the GCR ridgepole fitted variant and the GCW class bulk wheat wagon. The GD class ran to only 21 wagons and was a higher sided version of the GC. On the Western Australian track of the time they may well have been rather unstable. A new variant on the GC theme appeared in 1935 with the class GS. These paired the GC body with a new type of steel underframe. In later years when the steel floor of these wagons need replacing new timber floors were fitted and the wagons reclassified GST. The also became the subject of conversion to other classes including the GSW class grain hoppers (to replace the GWs) and the JGH and JGS class tankers.
The next new design used similar underframe technology to the GS but with higher sides to produce the GN class. A total of 116 of these were built by the W.A.G.R. during the war. They were followed by the class GE from 1945. These began to replace the GCs in numbers and also spawned a ridgepole-equipped variant (class GER). This design was also adopted by the M.R.W.A. as their class AE. In their final years some of these wagons were reclassified GEF and used solely for fertiliser traffic.
Two new prototype wagons appeared in 1950/51 as classes GF and GH. The GH design was put into production as class GM, a further 616 wagons of this type were built and the original wagon was reclassified class GM. A ridgepole fitted variant (class GMR) and a version with modified doors (class GMD) later appeared. The GF design had very high sides and was also multiplied (confusingly) as class GH. Six hundred wagons of this type were built. These definitely had a stability problem in their early years. This class also spawned a number of variants (classes GHA, GHB, GHC, GHD, GHE and GHR). All steel variants of both the GH and sub classes also appeared. The GH class and its variants were amongst the very last W.A.G.R. four wheeled open wagons when they were finally eliminated in the early 1990's.