Z Class brakevan number 9 is currently the oldest piece of ex WAGR rollingstock that is still used today on the main line system being regularly used when the HVTR sleeping car fleet is required for some of our longer extended tours
The early history of Brakevan Z9 is very similar to that of AL 2. These two vehicles were constructed in 1884 as AG class saloon coaches with longitudinal seating arrangements. AG 9 was one of the three coaches to be converted to AGB buffet/snack cars in 1921. By 1936 little use was being made of this car so it was stowed by the WAGR, believed to be at Midland Workshops. In 1938 it was converted into a suburban brakevan and re-classified AGV 9. However this conversion was not successful in this form and was rebuilt with its tongue and groove match wood sides and classified Z 9 in October 1938. Fortunately no more modifications were made and it is in this form that the brakevan remains today.
Z 9 found a new lease of life with operation on “Reso” (tourist) trains and was commonly used on extended tours by the Australian Railway Historical Society. Its icebox and food storage capacity were found to be most suitable on these services. In 1975, Z 9 was exclusively used to convey frozen and perishable traffic from Perth to Narrogin. When this service ceased in 1976, the brakevan was then used specifically on Perth suburban goods services.
The only changes to this vehicle since 1938 have been the changes of colour. In the mid 1950’s the Indian red livery gave way to a coat all over of larch green. This colour remained with the additional common larch green and cream colour scheme of the 1960’s. However in 1983 the standard Westrail “yellow” colour scheme was applied in which it remained until its withdrawal from service.
In 1985, Z 9 became surplus to Westrail’s requirements and was purchased by Hotham Valley Tourist Railway. Before being withdrawn from active service at 101 years of age it was the oldest piece of rollingstock operated by Westrail.
Z 9 is now housed undercover at Dwellingup in the carriage shed away from the weather to eliminate deterioration. It has been restored and painted in the larch green and cream colour scheme of the WAGR in the 1960’s. It’s end platforms and tongue and grove matchwood make it a very nice piece of rollingstock to be owned by the railway. It sees occasional service on the extended tours as a support vehicle supplying power for the train as can be seen in the photo's shown of Z9 at the 2002 Dowerin Field Days
It is the oldest piece of operating rollingstock in Western Australia.
Text supplied by Murray Rowe
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