On the 10th April 1905, the WAGR introduced the first of four new dining cars to service on the busy Perth to Kalgoorlie, Goldfields expresses. Built in England by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, the vehicles were originally known as Restaurant Cars.
An increase in passenger traffic on the Eastern Goldfields line was brought about by the opening of the Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie, Trans Australian Railway in 1917. To cope with passenger traffic from the TAR., two new train sets were built in the following year. Included in this series of coaches were two dining cars, AV's 425 and 426. Almost identical to the previous four cars, the two new dining cars entered service on the 24th April 1919.
Just over a year after starting service, AV426 was selected as the dining car for a special train to convey the Prince of Wales on his post-war goodwill tour of WA.
In original condition, the dining cars had a saloon seating capacity for 24 persons. The kitchen, manned by a cook and a waiter, was fitted with a wood stove and an ice chest. During the late 1940's the interior of all the dining cars was remodelled to accommodate 40 patrons. Kitchen facilities were also updated.
The dining cars were almost exclusively used on the Perth to Kalgoorlie services and their regular operation ceased with the running of the last "Westland Express" in 1969.
Externally the cars were finished in tongue and groove matchwood. Built at a cost of 4,073 pounds, AV 426 was originally painted in Indian red. A scheme of plain green covered the car throughout the 50's and in 1966 a larch green and cream livery was applied and this is retained today.
This car, donated by three foundation members in 1975, was the first acquisition of the society. It is now the feature vehicle on the Etmilyn Forest Diner service
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