Class Z Bogie Brake vans (Class C before 1900)
In 1900 all of the W.A.G.R. bogie brake vans were placed in class Z. Class Z eventually consisted of many groups of vehicles but in 1900 there were only two. For the sake of simplicity the different groups of Z vans are listed as different types although there was no such official classification. Type 1 were the clerestory roof vans with a platform at one end built from 1893 to 1897. These were identical in design to the New Zealand Railways 1889 B.P. 543 vans. These vans were the most numerous type of brake van on the W.A.G.R. for the first part of the twentieth century.

There were another four vans of the same basic design that had a platform at either end (type 2). These four vans had originally been intended as Accident Vans but spent most of their careers as brake vans.

In 1902 the old AN class vice-regal car was rebuilt as a brake van (type 3a). It lasted until 1975 after re-bodying in 1952(type 3b) and always had an end platform.

In 1906 three old six-wheeled mail vans were rebuilt as brake vans. Two different body designs (type 4a & type 5) were involved and initially two of the three vans retained their clerestory. Two of the three vans were later rebuilt again at some stage with more modern bodies (type 4b).

A batch of four brake vans built in 1912 was to a new design which retained the end platform of the clerestory vans but had a simple arc roof (type 6). They were not repeated but a new standard design appeared in 1913 (type 7) and ran to a total of forty vans. These had the more modern arc roof and no platform at the end.

Two of the three agricultural bank managers vans (class BC) were rebuilt as brake vans in 1927 (type 8) and 1934 (type 12) but both were to different designs. The type 8 had an end platform whilst the type 12 had two compartments for meat and no end platform. They lasted until the 1960's. An old coach (AH4) was also rebuilt in 1927 but was shorter than the BC conversion (type 9 ). It was written off after a crash in 1950. In 1930 the old funeral car (AO 7) was also rebuilt as a brake van ( type 11). This van lasted until 1973. Three new brake vans appeared in 1929 (type 13a) and a similar van was rebuilt from one of the type 1 vans in 1933-4 (type 13b.

In 1935-8 seven of the old AG class coaches were converted for use as brake vans and reclassified ZAG after initially being class AGV. They were all reclassified ZG in 1940 but the last had gone by 1960. One other member of the original AG class became AGV9 but because it had acquired a new body when rebuilt as a buffet car later became part of class Z (type 14 ). Its underframe dated back to 1885 but this Z9 managed to last until 1985.

From 1936 a group of seven older vans was rebuilt with new bodies (type 15a). These formed the pattern for a batch of eight new vans in 1946, which used old coach bogies (type 15b). They were followed by another ten rebuilds of clerestory roofed vans in 1954, which this time had wider bodies (type 16a). Another group of ten new vans used the same design in 1955 ( type 16b). All of these vans had a platform at one end. This final platform ended design was then developed into a new standard van that had no end platform (type 17a and b). A total of 106 of these were built from 1956 to 1966 although after the first twenty the design of the frames was modified.

Two more vans were built for Western Mining Corporation as class ZO although these had AY type coach bogies as did the pair of ZC class vans for bauxite traffic which followed in 1968. These four vans had a flatter roof profile than hitherto to allow them to pass under loading hoppers and dispensed with the dog-box. Five of the type 17 standard vans were rebuilt for bauxite traffic with lower roofs and knuckle couplers reclassified ZS in 1965-70. Conversion of other vans to ZS (including the two ZO's) followed but not all had the lowered roofs. A final batch of ten Z vans featured plywood sides and a three-arc roof when they came out in 1970 (type 18) and some of these also eventually became part of class ZS.

The ZA class brake vans with passenger compartments would on many railways have been considered to be coaching stock. Their role, however, was to provide passenger accommodation on goods trains used on lightly trafficked branches. There were two types. The early vans built in 1902-4 had a platform at one end whilst the later vans turned out by Midland Workshops in 1912 did not. Examples of both types lasted in service until the 1970's although many vans written off earlier had second careers as VC or VW class vans. As the trains on which they ran were generally too slow to work a dynamo most had only oil lights for the passenger compartments. The ZB class vans were similar in concept but had only one passenger compartment and no lavatories. They were introduced between 1926 and 1933 but some were later rebuilt as Z class vans (types 19a and b) from 1968. One of the ZA's was also rebuilt as a Z van (type 20) in 1969.

In 1952 the shortage of brake vans resulted in the conversion of five AF class carriages into temporary brake vans as class ZAF. They had all gone by 1956. Five of the six BA class horseboxes were rebuilt as brake vans in 1952 and classified ZBA . They were all written off in the 1970's.

The two prototype GH class open wagons formed the basis for a pair of experimental ZF class four -wheeled brake vans in 1953. The experiment was not repeated and both vans were out of service by 1970.

In 1902 the first of the twenty-three AJ class passenger brake vans was delivered. These had no passenger accommodation but were used exclusively on passenger trains and so they had a coach class designation (i.e. beginning with the letter A). In 1940 all brake vans of all types both in the carriage and wagon stock list were renumbered into a separate brake van number series. Only the AJ class brake vans retained their old numbers during this renumbering when they became class ZJ. This successful design was followed by the five ZJA class vans in 1960. Examples of both classes survived until the 1980's on passenger and later freight services.

In 1964 the W.A.G.R. absorbed the M.R.W.A. and its fourteen brake vans. These were to six different diagrams and most were written off by the 1970s. The two passenger vans in this group became class ZJ rather than Z.

Class ZD was used for the two old brake vans used on the accident train from 1976 until the breakdown train itself was withdrawn in the 1990's.

The end of general goods services in the 1980's meant that most brake vans were written off or converted for other uses. The vast bulk of the survivors were written off in 1985 although a small number lasted longer as workmen's vans.

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