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Hobart suburban passenger train services ceased at the end of 1974. Three years later when the Hobart - Launceston "Tasman Limited" was withdrawn and there was no remaining passenger services in Tasmania, Australian National Railways (the operator of the Tasmanian rail system at the time) commenced disposing of passenger stock.

Ex Tasmanian Railways Coach SSS 1

Hotham Valley successfully tendered for six cars and in mid 1979 representatives were sent to Tasmania to inspect the coaches and arrange shipping. Australian National Line container ship "Townsville Trader" ferried the six coaches in two trips from Burnie in Tasmania to Fremantle. On the last Saturday in November 1979 the six coaches were hauled by Westrail diesel-electric locomotive 1023 from Leighton to Pinjarra where they remained inactive for 4 years, their rusty red and cream colour making them a prominent landmark. During the idle period the buffer and link drawgear was replaced with Westrail centre buffer type, making it compatible with other vehicles on the Western Australian 1067mm system. The original vacuum brake gear was compatible with Westrail equipment.

After completion of the new carriage shed at Dwellingup, the set of six coaches was moved there as part of the once-weekly goods train from Pinjarra.

Nine SS Class suburban saloon coaches were built by the Tasmanian Government Railways for Hobart suburban services between 1956 and 1964. The steel coach under frames originally belonged to wooden bodied cars supplied by various British carriage builders in the 1890's.

Numbered 1 to 9, each car had a seating capacity of 48 persons. Tubular framed seats with upholstered leather squabs and backs were located each side of a centre aisle. Internal lining was of vinyl clad or compressed fibre board. Concertinas, fitted for communication between cars, were removed by Hotham Valley when the coupling conversions were made.

The SSD class were of a similar design to the SS but a Guard/Conductor's compartment was fitted at one end. Two SSD's were built during 1964 and numbered 1 & 2. Similar in layout to the SS, seating capacity was reduced to 40, due to the addition of the guard facilities.

Quite a bit larger than the SS and SSD cars, SSS 1 was built in Hobart in 1966 and had a seating capacity of 72 persons. Layout and fittings internally were the same as in the smaller coaches.

When a Community Employment Program grant for carriage repairs was received in 1984 work on restoring these coaches commenced. It was a complete rehabilitation with everything cleaned, painted or replaced. Floors were covered with heavy duty carpet while externally, Hotham Valley "Corporate Colours" of traffic green and Hotham Valley cream were applied, with roofs being painted mustard.

Because their future occupation would be transportation of people through south western forest areas, Hotham decided to name each coach after a well known species of timber. These names were sign written below window level while the "Hotham Valley Railway" legend was applied to the valance above the windows.

Because of their light weight these coaches are ideal for operation on the Pinjarra-Dwellingup railway and into the forest east of Dwellingup to Etmilyn. When they arrived it was anticipated that they would be restricted to that area but in fact they have been found useful for all sorts of work and odd units have traveled as far afield as Geraldton to the north, Merridin to the East and Northcliffe to the south. Besides which the full set clocked up many kilometers when it was used to operate the "Spinnaker Run" train at Fremantle during the America's Cup yachting challenge in 1986-1987.

Today these cars are most regularly seen in use on the Dwellingup Forest Railway conveying passengers out to Etmilyn Siding from Dwellingup.

Tasmanian Coaches - Classifications

Former Tasmanian Number  Current Number of Coach Given Name
SSD 1 SSD 1 Jarrah
SS 9 SSD 2 Marri
SS 1 SS 3 Wandoo
SS 4 SS 4 Blackbutt
SS 8 SS 5 Tuart
SSS 1 SSS 6 Karri
Note: For blending with Westrail rollingstock computerisation it was necessary to adjust the numbers of some of the coaches.
 

 

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