The trains were renumbered 356 and coded BI in 1892 and although the
trains were revamped in 1933 to house toilets and offer a corridor saloon
BL design they would still be of interest to train enthusiast who wish to see
the William Thow design and specification to nineteenth century carriage construction
materials and design, particularly the change to standardized
body construction, common components and steel fabrication for carriage underframes.
They have a mansard roof with square ends constructed with timber and
covered in canvas.
The Train bodies are sheathed in plywood sheets on the sides and tongue
and groove slats on the ends. You just don’tsee work like that anymore.
The Antique Train Stop offers something foreveryone, so go and have a
Photos - these one housed in Blue moutains ready for repair
Train Certificates states:
This train has representative value because its exterior is a representative
example of the materials appearance and methods of construction of
“Thow” (William Thow) type passenger carriages of the later nineteenth
century and the interior contains representative examples of the first class
sitting accommodation provided for country travel on the NSW Railways in
the early nineteenth century.
[intact assessment] This car is virtually as it was following its alteration of
the 1930’s including many original features from the 1890’s.
Include conservation and/or management plans and other heritage studies
Coaching stock of
Images: Saloon of BL 356 - when it was in Sydney
CLASS BL Built 1890 in the Blue Mountains
Images of BL 356 by Tony Brassil © 2001 Godden Mackay Logan
BL 356 is a non-airconditioned first-class sitting car which was built by Hudson Brothers and entered service in 1890. This carriage has a timber frame with a two-truss steel underframe and rides on two steel, timber spring plank bogies (2AA 6072/number not known). It has a mansard roof with square ends constructed with timber and covered in canvas. Its body is sheathed in plywood sheets on the sides and tongue and groove slats on the ends. It has wooden framed single pane lift windows with rectangular crown lights spaced regularly down the sides. The carriage has square ends with end doors and couplings with buffers. It is fitted with an electrical generator which is missing its belt. The carriage can be entered through a central doorway on each side or through the end doors. There is a side door for exit onto the train station platform. The interior features several seating saloons divided by a central entrance vestibule and a toilet at diagonally opposite ends. Movement through the carriage is via a central aisle. Each saloon has rows facing double seats with either half or full partitions. The floor is constructed of timber and is lined with compressed fibre board to protect the original boards. The walls are lined with horizontal timber boards below the windows and varnished timber above this. The ceiling is lined with painted plywood. A steel water tank used to be located near the ceiling supplying the car using gravity.
BL 356 was originally numbered No. 5, and re-numbered 356 and coded BI in October, 1892. In May, 1933, the original body was gutted and rebuilt to its present corridor saloon BL design, retaining only some features of its original underframe and roof, and the carriage was formed into CUB close-coupled set No. CUB 85. It was withdrawn from service and condemned in May, 1966
BL 356 is one of the relatively few surviving examples of the "Thow" style of carriage building of the late nineteenth century which were common vehicles on the NSW railway system for many years. It displays to some features of that era in the adoption of standardised body construction, common components and steel fabrication for carriage underframes by the NSW Railways. Equally important is that this car displays the result of a complete change in body design brought about by passenger rejection of the original all-compartment design and substitution on the same underframe of a saloon body more suited to travelling in the middle of the twentieth century. This car has performed as part of the early twentieth century urban railway services and the mid twentieth century tourist railway services in NSW and has strong period aesthetic qualities. The trains at Snake Gully Gundagai did the Darling Harbour to Richmond run. The alterations to the car demonstrates how the railways adapted carriages in line with technological and commercial developments.
BL 356 is currently being restored by Brad and John Clarke of Tuckerbox Antiques Gundagai.
One car has the seats removed and each booth houses various antiques on display and for sale.
The front car has been restored to the 1970’s style dining car. Three booths opened for use in late June 2011.
INFO FROM NSW RAIL MUSEUM
NSWGR PASSENGER CARRIAGES - BL 356
Tourist Passenger First Class Carriage No BL356
1. Exhibit History
BL 356 is a non-air conditioned tourist centre aisle first-class sitting car. The carriage was originally constructed by Hudson Brothers as a first class cross-seat side loading compartment carriage originally numbered BI 6. It entered service as a suburban carriage (without toilets) in October 1890.
It was renumbered and re-coded BI 356 in the system wide carriage renumbering in October 1892.
After the completion of the first stage of suburban electrification in Sydney, the Railways administrators decided to withdraw from service all of the suburban side loading compartment carriages which were by then, deemed to be unsuitable for country working due to their lack of toilet facilities. The carriages were used for country services, but the complaints from the travelling public about the lack of toilet facilities were very vocal.
Rather than scrap the carriages completely, it was recognised that parts of the carriages could be re-used and rebuilt to satisfy the growing demands for what was to become the first "interurban" services in the area bounded by Nowra, Goulburn, Lithgow, and Newcastle.
The carriages were gutted, leaving their under-frames, bogies, roofs, and in some cases, the floors.
The new type of carriage to emerge was the "L" series comprising BL (1st Class), FL (2nd Class), RFL (2nd Class with Buffet) and HFL (2nd Class with Guards compartment).
The cars were formed into close-coupled sets of 6 carriages and designated CUB Sets. They were the first country stock to be close coupled into fixed sets.
In May 1933 the original body of BI 356 was gutted and rebuilt into corridor carriage BL 356. It retained only the underframe, bogies, and roof. The carriage was formed into CUB close-coupled set No. 85.
BL 356 is one of the "short" BL carriages. There were 11 similar vehicles with seating capacity for 36, compared to 40 for the 13 "long" BL carriages. The short BL could be recognised by the single window adjacent to the entrance door.
The original formation of CUB Set 85 was HFL 343, BL 337, BL 356, RFL 418, FL 355, and HFL 416. It remained in this format until 1945 when cars were changed within the sets as overhauls demanded.
The last carriage was withdrawn from service and condemned in May 1985.
The Katoomba Museum owns one car (although the SRA Heritage Web-site indicates that the SRA owns the car) which is on display.
The technical details are:
Tare weight: 23 tons
Seating: 36 first class passengers
Body: Timber construction, with Square-ended Mansard roof and end vestibules.
Couplings: Screw type with buffer diaphragms.
Bearings: Plain journal type with oil axleboxes.
The object is currently on display at the NSWRTM's Valley Heights Site.
Two refurbished units are at Snake Gully, 5 miles from Gundagai in NSW.
2. Collection History
The NSW Rail Transport Museum purchased BL 356 in 1985.
BL 356 was chosen for conversion to a buffet/sales car by the NSWRTM for use on the Tourist Railway Loop Line. Work commencing in 1986, being abandoned in 1987, after internal partitions were cut out and the interior partially stripped.
BL356 was selected as an exhibit for the Valley Heights Museum and was transported to that site in 1998. The two at Snake Gully were decommissioned in 1966 and moved to Gundagai.
Currently BL 356 is subject to conservation work which will see the removed seating and partitions reinstalled and the carriage returned to its correct configuration.
BL 356 is listed as an NSWRTM exhibit because it demonstrates the type of vehicle used from the 1930's by the NSWGR to provide lightweight express trains and later in their careers, interurban travel to major country centres.
3. Statement of Significance
BL 356 is one of the few surviving examples of the "Thow" style of carriage building of the late nineteenth century which were common vehicles on the NSWGR system for many years.
It displays some features of that era in the adoption of standardised body construction, common components and steel fabrication for under-frames by the NSWGR.
Equally important is that this car displays the result of a complete change in body design. This change was brought about passenger rejection of the lack of toilets in the original all-compartment design. The carriage displays how a new saloon body, more suited to travelling in the mid twentieth century was constructed utilising the original underframe, bogies and roof sections.
This car performed as part of the early twentieth century urban railway services and the mid twentieth century tourist services in NSW and has strong period qualities.
The alterations to the car demonstrates how the railways modified carriages in line with technological and commercial developments.
Historical research and photos by Kerryn Dunlop of Kestrel Designs.