N Scale - Victorian Railways 'Z' guards vans 

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Lasercut Z, ZL and ZD

guards vans.

Part no. 1016

2 cupola styles. 2 window and full window versions.

Peco 15ft underframes required to complete both 4 and 6 wheel versions. NR-122B

Price $35 per (2pack)

NR122B Goods Brake van chassis $9.00 each


Completed 6 wheel version of the ZD with extra items added (handrails) by Paul B.

Features the same quality as the recent 'C' Van kits.

4 Wheel later style version with 2 window cupola and strengthened ends.

A common sight over the entire Victorian Railways system for over 100 years was the 4 and 6 fixed wheel guards van.  Originating in the 1850s and last seeing action in the 1980s they were a familiar sight at the rear of all goods workings and occasional passenger trains.  When first built the bodies were 8 0 wide and carried the classification D and were numbered 1-197.  In February 1889 the wider bodied van 8 6 unit was introduced and initially 70 vans were rolled out from the workshops.  Creature comforts were sparse and they were known for their rough riding qualities.

1910 saw the introduction of the Z series coding and van numbers were allocated the block 1-265 but not all numberings in the block were complete in the initial construction period.  Because of the missing units in the block the group D1-D265 became Z1 to Z242.  March 1911 saw the recommencement of numbering from Z243 onwards.

Up until 1929 nearly 600 vans were constructed with wooden bodies with steel and wood underframes.  Over the years the group was to see a few modifications and the kit is based around these common changes in the 1950s to 1960s eras.  1926 saw the introduction of auto couplers and the post 1889 vans were progressively changed, over whereas the earlier vans were withdrawn.  As they  were changed they carried a large 1 0 letter A at diagonally opposite ends.  After the war outbreak shortages caused the construction of new vans that filled the gaps made vacant by the scrapings of the older withdrawn fleet.  1940/1941 saw basically the same bodied version of van constructed but the internal frame was now an all steel and welded fabrication which relied a lot from the process work that the Spirit of Progress introduced.  These new vans appeared the same but lacked centre wheels sets of the previous ones and only had 2 windows in the guards end and rear wall..  Numbers for this group were 627-666.

However it was found that frames suffered from cracking of structural members due to the rough ridding and the next group 667-706 were redesigned with extra internal strengthening.  The final group 707-746 built 1950-1951 had plain plywood sidings with cover straps, which made them look very distinctive.

Later additions saw the fitting of long shank couplers to the guards vans and they adopted the ZL classification.  Stoves were progressively fitted to the remaining serviceable units from 1948 as the passed through the workshops for overhauls.  In 1959 direction from the CME instigated the removal of all buffers from the remaining 4 wheel vans in service.  By 1955 all vans had been changed over to auto couplers and the directions were given to remove the A from the vans as passed through for painting and overhauls.

Demise:  As the Railways introduced more bogie wheeled and modern stock capable of running at far greater speeds than the 45mph, the writing was on the wall for these venerable units.  By late 1985 two man crewing had commenced and soon all guards vans were made redundant virtually overnight.  Scrapings came in earnest and very few have survived into preservation.  After nearly 130 years all fixed wheel guards vans had served their usefulness and they are now part of Victorian Railways history.

Number range: 1 to 626 were 6 wheelers, 627-746 were 4 wheelers.

More information and photos see: Rob ORegans website http://www.robx1.net/ and Mark Baus http://www.victorianrailways.net/ or Peter Vincent's website http://www.pjv101.net/index.htm 

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