Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Jumbo “HJ” Wagon.

Back in the days when stations accepted goods, Station Masters would allocated or order wagons that best suited the loading being offered. Various factors were taken into account, this started with the type of load, does it need protection from the weather, how will it be loaded, weight, what’s at the destination to unload the wagon, class of track the wagon will travel on to the destination etc.
If the load could be loaded into an open wagon and it was under 12 tons, an “H” wagon would be used. “H” wagons come in various lengths, if ordering a wagon the size would be requested. Most times a wagon on hand would be allocated.  Should the load be over 12 tons, a “HJ” or “HJS” wagon would be used. The “J” in the classification indicated the wagon bogies was fitted with 8” x 4” journal.  This allowed a 8 ton axle load, a higher carrying capacity than the “H” wagon with a 7” x 3” journal, thus it was jumbo version of the original class. Station staff gave the title of Jumbo HJ wagon to a very different HJ wagon.
The jumbo HJ was a wagon with 5 plank high sides (3’ 6”) with a centre standard 4 plank (2” 6”) door. The wagon was 32’ long with an 8’ centre door and ran on 4’ 9” diamond frame bogie with 2’ 9½” wheels. The class had an average tare of 10T 12 cwt and carried 21T 8 cwt. In 1969 the carrying capacity was reduced to 12T and the wagon was reclassed to “HH”. Prior to 1969, the Goods and Live Stock Rates Book allowed a 2 ton overload on HJ wagons.
Given all loading need to be undertaken by hand through the centre door, the wagon had limited use. Using a tarpaulin over the load was also a tall order, there were no securing rings on the sole bar. You could say that about most wooden open wagons, very few had securing rings, generally tarpaulin ratline was tied around the door stops.  General Appendix 1950 clause 67 had this to say about DF four wheeled wagons which had similar size sides. (h) DF wagons should be confined to firewood traffic as far as practicable. Goods liable to be damaged by water must not be loaded in these wagons, as the high sides prevent sufficient fall being given to the sheets (tarpaulins) to run off the water.   
The model was scratch built from styrene and runs on Caintode Flats CFB 11 S bogies (the correct diamond frame type bogies are not available, these are similar with the correct size wheels). PGC “Red Oxide” was used to paint the wagon. After 1969, the wagons were painted QR Freight Grey. I don’t recall seeing one loaded, most were empty. I could not find a photo of one with a visible load. 

After kicking it about for a few weeks I came up with a return empty tar drum load. Most drums/kegs conveyed on the forward journey loaded were give free travel when being retuning empty to the sending station, thus the term “Returned Empty”. Going back a few years, tar (bitumen) was convey to councils in 44 gallon drum to repair roads. There is a good chance most of our early bitumen roads were constructed using tar transported in 44 gallon drums.
To reduce the number of drums required to load the wagon a raised/dummy floor was made from styrene. The drum load was made using Tichy Train Group US 55 gallon drums. They come in packs of 12 # 82111 and 96 # 8212. (as per the “U” wagon previously) was used. Painting of the drums was by airbrush, a length of masking tape sticky side up was fixed to a pine stud (3” x 1” timber). Drums were placed on the tape and painted.   
Drum loads were still common into the 70’s, when at Landsborough in 73/74 fuel for the Golden Fleece depot at Maleny arrived in “H” wagons. All the ASM’s had a drum of “Super” in the goods shed. Each company had its own colour for their drums.
Silver – Shell, Golden Fleece
Brown – Mobil
Red – Caltex
Blue and white - Ampol
Green and Green with White centre band – Castrol.
Black – Tar drums.
Others were blue and grey drum as well. In later years, similar size drum (200 Lts) painted various colours were used to transport various chemicals. Drums loads are a great way to add colour to our rollingstock and layout.  

Going back in time, the following is shown in the 1950 General Appendix.

Clause 523. Branding of empty Petrol Drums.  In order to readily identify empty drums being conveyed on account of the various oil companies, the following markings have been adopted.
Shell Company of Australia Ltd – A red band around the body of the drum.

Neptune Oil Company Pty Ltd – A blue band around the body of the drum.

Commonwealth Oil Refineries Ltd – A yellow band around the body of the drum.

Vacuum Oil Company Pty Ltd – In addition to having the company’s name on the top of the drum, are stencilled with the word “Vacuum” in black twice on the bilge of the drum.

Caltex Qld. Pty Ltd – A green band around the body of the drum in addition to “Caltex” branded on the end of the drum.
Independent Oil Industries Pty Ltd – Various identification marks as follows: - Motor Spirit – Drum heads – Pale blue. Bilge band markings – Ethyl – Red band, Purr Koll – Pale blue band; Purr Pull – Dark blue band. Kerosene, Power – Drumheads – Pale Blue; Bilge band markings – Nil. Kerosene, Lighting – Drum heads – Dark blue; Bilge band markings – Nil. All drums will be stencilled with “Independent Oil Industries Pty. Ltd. around the drum head.
Atlantic Union Oil Coy. Ltd. – A red band with the word “Atlantic” in white.
I just wonder what colour was the drum, silver maybe??? . Just shows how things change over the years. 
There was also a smaller 21’ 9” long similar wagon classed PTH.” Sides were added to a platform PT wagon in 1938, thus the PTH class. Plan 181 (Drawing 1700) shows the following numbers 19091, 19092, 19224. My plan has a date stamp of 1963, the following numbers have been ruled out 19088, 19222, 19223, and 19220. The floor height above rail is a little higher than other open wagon at 3’ 6½”. They had an average Tare of 10T 11 C and carried 21T 9C.    
 PTH 19091 Toowoomba 1974.  
The early history of both wagons can be found in John Armstrong book on “Wooden Wagons of the Queensland Railways 1880 – 1980”.

Three open wagons with different height sides and ends with loads.  


  1. G'day Arthur, just found this blog spot. Very informative, great info source for the keen QR modeller. I'll be keeping an eye out for future postings.
    Steve Hornabrook.

  2. Arthur

    Just came across your blog and I have to correct something in this post. Tar is not bitumen as it is from coal, I think it was collected when coke used to be made. Tar has not been used for decades in the road construction industry as it was found to be cancer causing. Bitumen is from oil and is the residue when the petrol companies take out everything they can.

    I like the information about the colour of the various companies 44 gallon drums, very useful.

    Ray P

  3. Arthur

    A little more information. The 'Tar' drums actually would have contained bitumen emulsion which was made by emulsifying 60 % bitumen with water and some soap. It came in either anionic and cationic types which related to the type of stone it would be used with, it was all to do with the positive or negative charge that the rock type has naturally. Anyway that is irrelevant to our modelling. In NSW the drums were painted shiny black so that they didn't show spillage. In NSW the drums were marked with an arrow with DMR (Department of Main Roads) below the arrow to show that they had passed testing, this was marked on the top and the side using a stencil and yellow paint. The marking was only about 6 inches square. The bitumen emulsion was cold and when applied to the road (sprayed) the bitumen would break out of solution within 2 minutes and start to set.This was easy for the road maintenance crews as there was no heating involved.

    In NSW and I assume other states hot bitumen was delivered to rail sidings or suitable company oil depots in rail tankers some of which had heating equipment \. the bitumen was then transferred spray sealing trucks for application to the road at which point trucks would then apply the aggregate by backing along the road with a spreader attached to the rear.

    Sorry if this is too much information.

    Ray P