"Mullewa" Buffet Car AQL 290
AQ 290 was one of six AQ’s constructed by the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company, England in 1903/4 for the WAGR.
The AQ type was partially displaced as First Class sleepers in the 1920’s by the introduction of the AZ sleeping cars. The older AQ types were then reclassified to second-class and composite status. The second-class types were classified AQS and the composite type classified AQC, both were heavily used on services.
In the late 1960’s AQS 290 entered Midland Junction workshops for conversion to a buffet saloon car as part of WAGR’s improvement policy for mainline passenger services. The interior was removed and replaced with a buffet counter, small servery tables and a saloon with 18 seats. Externally the vehicles external appearance had been altered gone were the platform ends and scrolled steel gates, replaced with vestibules and concertinas.
Reclassified AQL 290, it was repainted in the country service scheme of larch green and cream. It was re-issued to traffic on 6th April 1961 and operated on the “Mullewa” passenger service until the cessation of this country service in 1974. It was then retained as a spare buffet car and saw service on other trains as a spare buffet car to places like Albany and Bunbury.
When these long overnight passenger trains were withdrawn AQL 290 became surplus and was purchased by Hotham Valley Railway in 1986. The condition of the car was excellent and little maintenance has been required. This car is stored in the Dwellingup carriage shed. In this year (2002) it was decided to use it as part of the Pinjarra Steam Ranger service as a premium class coach on the Wednesday trip from Pinjarra to Dwellingup. Passengers are served Lunch and Afternoon Tea in this coach. It is also used on extended tours to country destinations no longer serviced by passenger trains.
In early 2004 AQL 290 received a new colour scheme of all over Red. This is the livery all of the HVTR Buffet cars will carry when repainted.
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