Class P and ZP four and six-wheeled Brake vans (Classes C and D before 1900)
Before 1900 the four and six wheeled brake vans were divided into two groups. The passenger brake vans were in class C along with all of the bogie brake vans (later class Z) and the six wheelers. The goods brake vans were in class D. There was also a single ballast brake van of class DB dating from 1885.
There were a total of eight passenger type four wheelers in class C. These vans were constructed to carriage standards with panelled sides matching the early 4 wheeled coaches.
The class D goods brake vans are less easy to follow than the C's. There were a total of thirteen goods type four wheelers in class D belonging to two diagrams. It is known that two of these thirteen vans were 1879 vehicles from the Northern Railway whilst another three were purchased from the M.R.W.A. in October 1893. These three were M.R.W.A. F class vans C, F and H (they were lettered not numbered). These may well have been D11-13 as only two of this type show up in the diagram book.
In June 1918 a P van was transferred from the P.W.D. to the W.A.G.R. It was numbered 10077 by the W.A.G.R. and was probably one of the older vans sold out of service. It was rebuilt in May 1920 and written off in June 1929. It was used on the isolated Norseman-Esperance section during this period.
In addition there were two ex-Bunbury railway tramcar type brake vans which were not deemed fit for mainline use. They were 17'-0" long over headstocks with a clerestory roof , double doors in the sides, no windows and platform ends. One of these two vans had gone by 1899.
P201 was a converted carriage with platform ends initially described as a "brake van for explosives traffic" almost certainly related to Fremantle Harbour works. Its exact origins I don't know yet but it is possibly an ex Bunbury Railway vehicle. It became an accident van at around the turn of the century. How long it retained the P classification is not known. In 1927 it was replaced by a D class van with the same number. There were also two ex four-wheeled carriages listed as P class vans in 1900. These were P 4914 (ex AI 3) and P 5182 (ex AI 259). They quickly became DW class workmen's vans.
In 1897 the W.A.G.R. inherited four 6-wheeled brake vans from the Great Southern Railway. These vans had started out life in 1888 as four-wheelers identical to the M.R.W.A. vans. When taken over by the W.A.G.R. they became C87-C90 and in 1900 they were given new numbers in the wagon series.
From 1936 the remaining four-wheeled brake vans were reclassified ZP and thus the P code was empty until in June 1940 the six AK class mail vans were reclassified and renumbered as P class wagons. Four of these (254-257) were old clerestory roofed vans built by Ashbury Carriage and Wagon Co in 1896-8. The other two (250 and 251) were 1911 built vehicles constructed at Midland Workshops.
After 1936 the remaining four-wheeled vans were class ZP. In 1953 two experimental four-wheeled vans were built which were class ZF.