Class Q (Class LB before 1900)
This group represents one of the most used code groups in the W.A.G.R. wagon classification system. It is still in use today and the re-buildings and reclassifications involved make this a particularly complex group to get to grips with.
The sixty or so bogie bolster wagons that in 1900 became class Q, were built in Britain by Stableford and Co. They had entered service as class LB in 1897. Two were converted in 1901/2 to carry boilers and eventually in 1931 these two wagons were reclassified QB. They had only a single central bolster unlike the Q class wagons, which had four. From 1904 most of the class U platform wagons were converted to class Q although these appear to have had a different arrangement of bolsters to the original Q class wagons. The first conversion was a temporary reclassification of two wagons to class QD for the conveyance of oil tanks in 1929. Class QD was used on a more permanent basis from 1937 for a single wagon converted to carry diesel railcar engines. It is surprising that this vehicle did not get a code in the V group as it had a full size van body. In the late 1930's and again in the 1950's many class Q wagons were converted to class R open wagons. Class Q was finally eliminated in 1974. Between 1955 and 1968 43 old Q class wagons were fitted with pipe bolsters and reclassified QP. Most of these were further converted to QPS class sleeper wagons and class QP was extinct by 1976. Between 1962 and 1970 a total of 224 bogie wagons of the old classes Q, QB, R, V and VA were converted to class QBB bolster wagons. These wagons had new angle iron trusses and 6 bolsters. Class QBL was created by the further conversion of forty class QBB's in 1973.
The 100 new class QA wagons turned out from Westralia Ironworks in 1913/1914 were intended for rail and timber traffic. They were significantly longer than the Q class wagons at 40'-0" over headstocks. A final batch appeared as late as 1931. These wagons lasted into the 1990's and formed the basis for classes QM, QAN, QAP, and QAS . The first conversion was a temporary reclassification of two wagons to class QD for the conveyance of Oil tanks in 1929. In 1934 one wagon was strengthened for the conveyance of a Power Shovel. This solitary wagon was eventually reclassified QAS after a period as a QM during the war as were all but two of class QA. This conversion involved the removal of the bolsters to enable road vehicles to be carried. Most reverted to class QA after the war but some remained as class QM and the last QM was written off in 1983. Four QA's ran as class QAP from 1954 to 1957 whilst they were fitted with special bolsters. Ten QA's were converted to carry nickel ore containers in 1969 and reclassified QAN. The last QAN was written off in 1979. Two similar M.R.W.A. N class wagons were reclassified to QA but the last of these was gone by 1976.
Thirty class RB wagons were converted to platform wagons in 1953 and reclassified QRB. In 1968 all but eleven were converted to QRP class pipe wagons. One of the remainder was fitted with a to carry a water tank and reclassified QRJ in 1972. This wagon was replaced in 1987 by a similar conversion from a class WAM freezer wagon. The remaining QRB's had gone by 1983. The single class QRT wagon was the result of the conversion of a class RB wagon in 1967 to carry a ballast sled. It was written off in 1988. Another conversion of RB and RBT wagons in 1970-71 resulted in the 85 class QRC container flats. Twenty-two were reclassified QRN in 1970/1 for Nitrate containers. Whilst five more became class QRD for end tipping nitrate containers in 1975. The QRDs had, however, gone by 1993.
The post-war standard bogie bolster wagon was the class QC built by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Co in 1954/5. The total of 77 was reached after the conversion of some TA class cattle trucks in 1956. Two of these wagons became class QCB after being fitted with seven bolsters rather than four in 1961. One of this pair survived until 1992. The remaining QC class wagons were converted to class QBE between 1975 and 1978 as were some more TA class cattle trucks. A platform wagon version of class QC for container traffic was created in 1957 as class QCF by the conversion of some TA class cattle wagons in 1957 and more of these wagons were built new in 1959/60. It is surprising that class QCF were not given a code in the U group especially as the were actually classed as platform wagons officially. The eventual total was 65 built new and converted from class TA. Two identical MRWA NC class wagons were added to this total in 1964. The single class QCA container wagon built in 1960 was not repeated and was converted to QCF in 1970. Conversion of class QCF to QCE standard by the fitting of extension brackets to the ends started in 1962 and a single QCD wagon was converted from a QCF in 1963 but became a QCE in 1964. A slightly modified variant appeared in 1968 as class QCF but these 18 wagons were quickly reclassified QCP. Conversions of 10 class QCE and QCF wagons to class QCG container flats occurred between 1980 and 1983. This class is now extinct. Class QCC was the result of the conversion of two QCE's to carry cement but this class became extinct in 1993. A final variant on this design was the QCS class sleeper wagon, sixteen of which were built in 1964. These were eliminated by 1998.
A single R class bogie open wagon was converted in 1954 to form a lowside mobile crane wagon of class QR. This conversion was not repeated and it was written off in 1961.
The six JG class tankers were converted in 1959 to class QJG platform wagons. Again it is surprising that a U class code was not used. They were all written off in 1979 but re-appeared as class JOB tankers in 1983/4.
The five M.R.W.A. NB class wagons absorbed by the W.A.G.R. in 1964 were initially put into class Q but in 1966 were all reclassified QNS. The last survivor of this class was written off in 1990.
Twenty QMB class wagons were built to carry motor car bodies in 1959-60. Two of these were converted to class QMC car carrying wagons in 1963. By 1971 all of these wagons had been written off although one of the QMC's subsequently resurfaced as a QMG.
Class QMD was a group of 23 motor car and body carrying wagons built between 1963 and 1966. At 70'-0" over headstocks they were amongst the longest vehicles ever operated on the west Australian narrow gauge. In 1971 two QMD class wagons were converted into flat tops for the C.C.E. department and reclassified QE . They were both written off in 1979. Ten more of the QMD's were converted to class QMG class bogie flats in 1970/1 and the rest had gone by 1978. The QMG's were eliminated in 1983.
In 1963 a number of old coach and brake-van chassis were used to create a class of fifty-three sleeper wagons coded QS. Six of these used 4'2-0" long ZA class brake-van frames. This group had all gone by 1990. Another nine used the chassis of AP class sleeping cars. The last of these 46'-3" long vehicles also went in 1990. The final group comprised the thirty-eight conversions of AA, AB and ACL class carriages. These were 49'-0" long. Six more ACL class chassis were used to build the class QMF flat wagons but with one exception these were removed from normal traffic by 1979. A single QSA class wagon was created by the conversion of an AD class coach underframe in 1968. This was written off in 1975. Twelve completely new QRS class sleeper wagons were purpose built for the job in 1964. These were eliminated by 1998.
The fifty-two QU class utility flat top wagons appeared in 1963-6 they were 47'-0" long and had bolsters and a trailer hitch which could be collapsed into the deck. Between 1981 and 1983 ten of these wagons were converted to class QUW class wool bale wagons and a further nine were converted to class QUG in 1985/6. Most of the class was written off in 1996 as were all of the QUW's.
A total of twelve old coaches from classes AD and AF were converted to class QJH flat wagons for containers in 1967/8. These were written off in 1976-9. A similar conversion of class ACL coaches produced the six QMF class wagons in 1968. Five of these were written off in 1979 although one wagon survived until 1990.
In 1970 twenty-one standard gauge WFX class wagons were temporarily re-bogied and reclassified QWF. They returned to the standard gauge in 1972/3.
In 1970-2 one hundred and fifty of the longer (50'-0") QUA class wagons were produced. One (at least) of these ran as class QUC during the 1980's.
In 1973 the tenders of several W class locomotives were used to create the QW class flat wagons used for Eneabba sands containers. The tender frames were permanently coupled in pairs via what had been the drawbar end of the tender. A single V class tender underframe was also used to produce the QT class Engine/Generator transporter.
Class QBC was also created in 1973 by the conversion of 41 VB class vans with two different types of underframes. In 1973/4 three VB class vans were converted into wheel wagons for the C.M.E. department and reclassified QV. Another conversion to class QV (this time of a VD class van) in 1977 was followed by another VD and three VF class vans in 1984 and finally a WAM class freezer wagon. This group were all on the standard 36'-0" chassis. The final conversion from an SA class sheep wagon in 1979 was 42'-0" long.
Twenty-five RC class open wagons were converted to carry ammonium nitrate containers and reclassified QRA in 1973. After some early withdrawals, probably due to accidents, the remaining wagons in this class were written off in 1993.
The single class QH wagon was the result of the conversion of a VG class van into a specialist permanent way vehicle in 1979.
Two class QF cement container wagons were converted from class TA cattle trucks in 1980. They were written off in 1993.
Fifteen of the WA class freezer vans were converted to class QG flat tops between 1980 and 1984. These were all written off in 1993.
In 1987 class QK was created by rebuilds of wagons in classes QCR, JS, SA and TA.
In 1995 nine QUA wagons became class QUR for transporting rails. At some point later one was reclassified QURD. There were also reclassifications of 13 wagons as class QUT for track relaying and at least eight as QUS class sleeper wagons. Twenty-two QUA received bogies from WMD wagons in 2002 to upgrade them to a load capacity of 82 tons. They were reclassified QUB by AWR/ARG. The QUA and derivatives were the last vacuum braked wagons to operate in WA.