Thursday, 20 July 2017


“U” Wagon.
21 ' U Wagon with sleeper load. Charleville

When I look around the layout I have more box wagons an open wagons, it don’t look right. I often ask myself what ratio of each should I have, given I model a prototype railway. From what I could recall, there was more open wagons than box wagons on “Goods Trains”. But, I guess it is subject to the area and goods being moved. Rollingstock at one location could be different to another location due to traffic being conveyed to and from the area.

Checking out a Queensland Railways annual report for 30th June 1960 I find there were about 5 open wagons for every box wagon in service, on top of this there were many other classes of rollingstock operating on the network. Other types of rollingstock on the system include stock wagons, service wagons, coal, timber, flat wagons, runners and bulk cement/lime etc.

Looking at rollingstock on the layout I was short on open wagons. Queensland Railways has a great collection of open wagons in various sizes and types.  The classification list shows three types, “F” class wagon – 4 wheeled, “G” class wagon – 6 wheeled, and “H” class wagon – 8 wheeled. By my era in the 60’s, all the 6 wheeled wagons were gone. Some were converted to 4 wheeled wagons with Grover’s bogies. Others to 8 wheeled wagons, thus we have a great collection of shorties to model.  On the layout I have a fair collection of 4 wheelers, so my next few wagons need to be 8 wheelers. Looking through the plan book I found other 8 wheeled open wagons within another classes, one being the “U” class ballast wagon. There use as ballast wagon in the 60’s was long gone, a few were allocated to loco ash towards the end of the steam era (which was used as ballast/fill mainly around yards), but most were in general goods traffic.         

As per the norm with most QR wagons, there were various sizes within the class. The list below is a quick summary.   All wagons have low 1 foot 6 inches sides (2 Planks), 7” x 3” journals, thus the gross weight when loaded is 20 tons.  They have a tare between 6½ to 8 tons (subject to length) and carried between 13½ to 12 tons of goods subject to their tare to equal 20 tons gross.

Body
Bogie
Wheels
# of Doors
QR Plan
21’ 3½ x 7’ 9½”
4‘ BF
2’ 2”
1
204
22’ 9” x 5’ 7”
4‘ BF
2’ 2”
2
 
23’ 9” x 7’ 6”
4‘ BF
2’ 2”
2
 
30’ x 8’
4‘ BF
2’ 2”
3
205
32’ x 8’
4‘ BF
2’ 2”
3
205

 

The class was also modified to carry water “UW” and platform wagons “UP”. It appears some UP’s were converted back to U wagons. Plan 205 was dated 1938 showed the wagons were converted from “UP”, “P” and “S” wagons. Other were modified for molasses and weed spray (poison) without changing the class.
 U Weed Spray Wagon
 
UW water Wagon

Some of the top two wagons in the table were fitted with a ratchet “T” type hand brake mounted floor level on the headstock down one end. I like the little bum seat mounted to one side on top of the end. Other wagons had the usual “V” type on the sole bar, some did differ a bit with the smaller wagons having a longer levers to bypass the bogie.  

The class were limited in the types of general goods they could carry, they were mainly used to carrying departmental materials, sleepers etc. I have seen a few carrying 44 gallon drums. Freight above the sides on open wagons only need to be 6 inches below the sides.

Prior to 1969, most of the class I saw were painted black, 1969 onwards they were painted QR Freight Grey.

U Wagon Ipswich
 
The 1960 Annual Report showed there was 75 wagons in service, including 5 fitted with molasses tanks.   

Model; The model was scratch build using “Evergreen” styrene (floor, sole bar, headstock), sides were scribed sheet styrene for the correct board size. Caintode Flats CFB 2 bogies, buffers and brake cyclinder. Kadee 158 medium scale whisker coupling were used and mounted in scratch build coupler box to allow the bogies to swivel.  Maybe I should cover this in more detail down the track, I think I’m onto a winner in reducing derailment when pushing back during shunting. The drum load was made using Tichy Train Group US 55 gallon drums. They come in packs of 12 # 82111 and 96 # 8212. They are like a kit with a choice of lids, wood or steel. All you need to do is to add lid of choice to the drum, for me it was the steel lids. These work out to be about 208 litres which is not far off the Aussie 44 gallon drums for the 60’s era. 
 

 

“UR” Wagon:- But wait, there is more to the class, the UR wagon. The plan book show these wagons as “Convertible” wagons. We may recall a few weeks ago we had a “CC” covered/box wagon with the same title. This time around we have an open wagon ???. So, what’s going on, “CC” wagon could be used for another purpose if required, maybe the UR also as a dual role too.

The wagon has a couple of features that is not on any other open wagons on the network. Dates on the plans suggest these wagons were built much later around 1938/42. The ends could drop down onto the floor. Plus the door stops on the side were different to all other open wagons, doors in the dropped down position could be pinned to the door stops allowing the wagon to travel with the doors down.
UR ARHS Collection showing different door stops and Hand Brake
This also brought around a different hand brake arrangement so the brake can be applied with the doors down. Looking at photos I found three different arrangements. Some had the standard arrangements with the “V” hanger in the middle of the wagon. Shunting staff could secured the wagon by using sprags in the wheels or leaving another wagon coupled up. The other two methods the hand brake lever extended out past the headstock giving shunting staff access to the hand brake. This was achieved by using two methods, one method required two “V” hangers, one in the middle of the wagon and a second hanger near the bogie. The lever was connected to the second hanger and a steel rod connected the two hangers. The second method had one hanger located just in behind the bogie in front of the brake piston.

So by now you should have worked out the other role for the wagon, we can run it as a flat top wagon. If we were to check the classifications codes, “R” had a few meanings when added as a second letter, SR - rail wagon, CR/CMR - wagon fitted with chiller/refrigerator, VR - raised sides. In later eras it was also used to indicate a “Runner” wagon, PR. Some may know  “Runner” as a cover or match wagon. Plan 208 shows the wagon could be used as a runner.  There we have it, a “U” ballast wagon that can be converted to an “R” runner. I guess the more correct classification could have been “UP”, but there was already a wagon with that class with a different role.

Like the “U” wagon, there were a few different sizes, all had 7” x 3” journals, thus a gross of 20 tons. Having a tare between 6½ to 8 tons they carried between 13½ to 12 tons of goods. The various sizes are shown in the table below. The most common being the 5’ BF wagon to plan 209.                

Body
Bogies
Wheels
# of Doors
QR Plan
26’ x 7’9”
4’ BF
2’ 2”
2
208
32’ x 7’ 9”
4’ BF
2’ 2”
3
208
30’ x 7’ 9”
4’ BF
2’ 2”
3
208
32’ x 7’ 9”
5’ BF
2’ 9½”
3
209

 

Plan 208 showed the wagons were converted from “P” wagons.

1960 Annual Report showed 129 wagons were in service. A 1½ ton overload was allowable for both wagons.
UR Newstead
 
The wagons were painted black until 1969, and then QR Freight Grey. A few of the class was still around in the early 80’s. The wagons carried much the same as the “U” wagons, but the UR wagons were used to carry larger C.G.I. rain water tanks with the doors down. How about that for a feature project, I must keep an eye out for a 10’ dia. C.G.I. tank.

26 foot UR 3246 wagon is on the ARHS Rosewood Railway (Photos attached). UR 20269 was in a very poor condition at Linville in the Brisbane Valley. This wagon is one fitted with 5’ bar frame bogies. A series of photos of this wagon can be found on Wuiske Models prototype photos website.
UR 3246 ARHS Collection

For the older time modellers were was also a “UB” wagon used as a Brake Van. A small Guard’s compartment similar to that on a “KKB” was mounted in the centre of the wagon. Most appeared to be the shorter wagons.     

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