An old photo of Albany showing (amongst other things) five G.S.R. cattle wagons in their pre-1896 livery. Behind the carriages are three G.S.R. sheep wagons. The goods brake van in the left foreground is also a G.S.R. vehicle. It is just about possible to recognise the words GREAT SOUT HERN RAILWAY at the top of the sides of the cattle wagons in white but alas the numbers and class letters cannot be made out.
The Great Southern Railway was a privately owned railway that connected with the W.A.G.R. system at Beverley running south from there to Albany. Like the M.R.W.A. it was financed on the land grant system and was a British Company (the Western Australian Land Co.) running a railway in Australia. It opened in 1889 and was bought out by the Western Australian Government in 1896.
It interchanged wagons with the W.A.G.R. and its livery was similar to the then W.A.G.R. wagon livery of grey with black metalwork. The wagons appear to all have been lettered "GREAT SOUTHERN RAILWAY" in full on the sides. Its wagons were identical in design to contemporary M.R.W.A. ones.
The G.S.R. ceased to exist a very long time ago and had a short life and so unlike the M.R.W.A. there is little paperwork to go on as to what the G.S.R. owned and what its original numbering scheme and classes were. Photographic evidence is even rarer. The original wagons built for the G.S.R. were identical to those built for the M.R.W.A. They were mostly four-wheelers 14'-0" long over headstocks except for the bolster wagons which were only 12'-0" long. The only bogie vehicles owned by the G.S.R. were its carriages although it did have some 6-wheeled brake vans and water tanks. The brake vans started out as 4-wheelers but four were rebuilt at Albany as longer 6-wheelers. By 1900 the WAGR did own two 4-wheeled brake vans to the original G.S.R./M.R.W.A. design but they are likely to have been ex M.R.W.A. vans.
From 1896 the G.S.R. wagons were renumbered into the W.A.G.R. sequences as wagons 4151-4385 with the horseboxes and brake vans numbered separately until the 1900 reclassification. Not all of the G.S.R. wagons made it to 1900 so there were some gaps in this sequence. They were also some rebuilds which probably happened between 1896 and 1900. It is possible that there were other G.S.R. wagons which were not taken over by the W.A.G.R. or which went straight into Jetty stock.
The list of G.S.R. wagon types below may not be complete but is believed to have been as follows:
|Type||GSR class||WAGR 1896 class||WAGR 1900 class||WAGR numbers||Page|
|Covered goods vans||G||D||4151-4200||D (G.S.R. type)|
|Highside wagons||Iw||G||4201-4240 and 4266-4315||G (G.S.R. type)|
|Flat/Bolster wagons||M||I||4241-4265||I (long G.S.R. type)|
|Lowside wagons||L||Jw||H||4316-4339||H (G.S.R. type)|
|Single bolster wagons||M||I||4340-4357||I (12'-0" G.S.R. type)|
|Cattle wagons||O||B||4358 - 4381||B (all types)|
|Sheep wagons||N||C||4382 - 4385||C (G.S.R. type)|
|Brake vans||C||P||87-90 then 5089-5092||P (ex G.S.R. 6-Wheeled)|
|Horseboxes||E||A||35-38 then 5139 - 5142||A (all types)|
|Water Tanks||J||?||J (ex G.S.R. six-wheeled)|
|At the 1900 reclassification wagons 4195, 4257, 4336, 4338 and 4369 were missing. 4369 had been transferred to the PWD but later returned to the W.A.G.R. Wagons 4221, 4241, 4243, 4249, 4252, 4255, 4258 and 4262 were listed as J class water tanks with 4253 also converted to class J in 1901. Wagon 4362 was listed as a D class van rather than a B class cattle wagon.|
State Library of WA BA888/6 To the left of the G.S.R. inspection saloon (later AL190) is a G.S.R. lowside wagon in original livery clearly labelled as No 15 L.