Class VW bogie workmen's vans (ex ZA & ZB Brake vans)

ZA Brake vans group 1

Frank Stamford's photo shows a VW at Geraldton in February 1966.  This is one of the 1965 conversions 508?.

The ZA class brake vans split neatly in to two groups. The first group (ZA158-188) had an end platform and a unique type of plate frame bogie which was not used under any other vehicles. They originally entered service in 1902-1906. A total of 15 of these eventually became VWs. Conversion of these vans to workmen's vans started with ZA 175 and 179 in 1961 which became VW5071 and 5072.

VW5072 lasted until 1985 but VW5071 lasted rather longer and was finally written off in 1996.

In later years VW5071 had platforms at both ends.

Photos of both sides of VW5071 are shown right.

A further group of ZA class vans (158, 168, 170, 171 and 181) became ZA5083-5087 in 1965.

VW5083 was written off in 1983 and was one of two former ZA to be painted orange and blue rather than the normal VW colour schemes (white in earlier times and later wagon yellow).

VW5084 lasted until 1991.


Both sides of VW5084 (exZA168) are shown right.

Unfortunately I have no photos of VW5085 which was written off in 1985.


VW5086 (shown in the four photos right) seems to have undergone at lest two major rebuilds as a VW. In the mid eighties it had two large steel doors on either side. By the end of its life in 1996 it had been almost completely re-bodied.

The photo right shows VW5086 in its final condition with no end platform and no large doors (at least on the side visible).

VW5087 had an unusual white livery with dark brown trimmings late in its life. It was written off in 1992.
A further pair of ZA's (174 and 186) became VW5108/9 in 1966. I have no idea of disposal dates for these two which were both still in use in 1986.


VW5108(ex ZA174) is shown right.

Another pair of ZA's (188 and 180) became VW5133/4 respectively in 1967. VW5134 was written off in 1986 whilst VW5134 was written off the following year.



VW5133 (exZA188) is shown right.

VW 5139 (ex ZA 163) and 5140 (ex ZA160) were converted in 1968.

VW5140 was written off in 1987 whilst VW5139 was written off in 1990 and again in 1996!.


VW5140(exZA160) is shown right.

A final pair of VW of this type were 5105 (ex ZA176) and 5089 (ex ZA161) which were reclassified from accident vans (class VC) in 1976. Both were then written off almost immediately. VW5105 survives at Collie.


ZA Brake vans group 2

The second group of ZA class vans (ZA189-201) date from 1912 and had no end platform. Five of these vans eventually became VWs.

The first conversions were VW5107 (ex ZA194) and VW5110 (ex ZA193) in 1966. 5107 was written off in 1971.

VW5110 was still in use in 1986 and I have no date when it was written off.




VW5110 (ex ZA193) is shown right.

VW5100 was converted from ZA189 in 1967 and spent many years as part of the "Weedex" train. Externally it looked in pretty good shape and almost unaltered from its original condition and was preserved at the Bennett Brook railway.  Again the write off date is not known (around 1990?). VW5100 was the only other VW that I am aware of that got the orange and blue livery.

A final pair of these vans became VWs in 1968. (5115 ex ZA201 and 5117 ex ZA196). 5117 was written off in 1978. I don't know the date for 5115 but it is likely to have been after 1986.  

ZB Brake vans

A total of three ZB class brake vans were converted to class VW. The first was VW5106 converted from ZB210 in 1966. ZB211 became VW5119 in 1968 followed by the final conversion of ZB208 to VW5145 in 1971. VW5106 was written off in 1973 followed by VW5145 in 1977 and finally VW5119 in 1991.

The table below summarises the vehicles on this page.
Number Old no Old class to VW Written Off
5071 175 ZA 1961 1996
5072 179 ZA 1961 1985
5083 158 ZA 1965 1983
5084 168 ZA 1965 1991
5085 170 ZA 1965 1985
5086 171 ZA 1965 1996
5087 181 ZA 1965 1992
5089 161 VC (ex ZA) 1976 1976
5105 176 VC (ex ZA) 1976  
5108 174 ZA 1966  
5109 186 ZA 1966  
5133 188 ZA 1967 1987
5134 180 ZA 1967 1986
5139 163 ZA 1968 1990&1996
5140 160 ZA 1968 1987
5100 189 ZA 1967  
5107 194 ZA 1966 1971
5110 193 ZA 1966  
5115 201 ZA 1968  
5117 196 ZA 1968 1978
5106 210 ZB 1966 1973
5119 211 ZB 1968 1991
5145 208 ZB 1971 1977

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