The great stocktake and reclassification of 1900.

During the gold rush years WAGR management had been so stretched that they did not produce an annual report between 1893 and 1895. The overwhelming priority had been to get stock onto the rails and running to cope with the massive expansion of both the system and traffic on it.

By 1900 the numbering and classification of carriages and wagons had got into rather a mess. There were wagons running with the same numbers. There were also identical wagons given different classifications for no obvious reason and the same class letter used for completely different types. There were wagons displaying the wrong class altogether. Some classes, which existed in theory, do not seem to have been used on the wagons.

For efficient management this needed to be sorted out. Between 18/8/00 and 7/3/01 all of the wagon stock was reclassified. Most were done in September and October 1900 with just over 300 stragglers keeping their old classes after that. During this process some wagons were either identified incorrectly or rebuilt (mostly conversions to J class tanks for summer 1900/1) so that the class letter changed twice. In addition wagons were also taken over from the contractors "Smith & Timms" and "Baxter & Prince". The "Baxter & Prince" wagons were either sold or burnt but the ballast hoppers from "Smith & Timms" got new permanent WAGR numbers. The table below shows how this reclassification worked.

 

 
Type W.A.G.R. Pre 1900 class W.A.G.R. Post 1900 Class
First Class and special Carriages A Several
Agricultural bank manager's van A Later BC
Composite Carriages AB Several
Cleminson Composite Carriages ABC AH

A few Open wagons

B G
Passenger Brake Van C P
6 wheel Passenger Brake Van C P
Bogie Passenger Brake Van C Z
Goods Brake Van D P
Ballast Brake Van DB (not used by 1900) P
Breakdown Van Unclassified and DD Z, later VC
Horse Box E A

End Tipper wagon

E M

Some Brake vans

EE P, P (6 wheel), Z

Water tanks

F J

Bogie Water tanks

FB J

Covered goods van

G D

Louvre van

G F

Workmen's van

G DW

Bogie Van

GB V

Gunpowder Van

H O

Bogie Gunpowder van

HB Y

Open wagon

I G

Bogie Open wagon

IB R

Iron Lined Open wagon

II G

Open wagon

IW G

Low-sided wagon

J H

Iron lined Low-sided wagon

JI H

Low-sided wagon

JW H

Bogie platform wagon

K U

Bogie platform wagon

KB U

Timber float (Twin bolster wagon)

L N

Bogie Bolster wagon

LB Q

Timber Truck (Single bolster wagon)

M I

Sheep wagon

N C

Bogie Sheep wagon

NB S

Cattle wagon

O B

Bogie Cold Storage vans

O W

Bogie Cattle wagon

OB T

Ballast wagon

P K

Some Gunpowder Vans?

P O, V, Y

Steam crane

Q (not used by 1900) Cranes

Cool storage wagon

Q E

Bogie cool storage wagon

QB W

Lime wagon

R G

Louvre van

S (not used by 1900) F

Brakevan for explosives traffic

S P

6 wheel mail van

T AS

Low-sided wagon (ex NZR)

T H

Bogie Mail van

TB AK

Ballast Hopper wagon

U L

Bogie Hopper wagon

UB X

Ballast wagon

V H, K

Ballast ploughs

VP LX

Tipper wagon

VT M later LB

Ballast Brake van

VV P

Seabrook mineral/tank wagon

W G

Some bogie vans

X V

The complete listing of the reclassification (and in some cases renumbering) is long (over 4800 wagons are involved). There is a link here to my version of the list which is a .xlsx spreadsheet.  This is transcribed from a photocopy of the original document which is in the RHWA collection.  There are some obvious errors in the document itself but any transcription errors are mine. The highest number issued at the time was 5177 but the list includes unfilled gaps where wagons had been written off and also where new wagons in classes GA and R were on order but not yet in service.  

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