South Australian Railways Commissioners Car ‘Murray’

South Australian Railways

Broad Gauge


Class operators                                                   South Australian Railways/Australian National Railways/State Transport Authority

Condition                                                             Good

Built by                                                                S.A.R. Islington Workshops

Entered service                                                   1st October 1934

Withdrawn                                                           11th June 1997

Entered the museum                                          11th June 1997

Number in class                                                  1

Ownership                                                          History Trust of South Australia

Provenance                                                        South Australian Railways


In May 1933, the South Australian Government authorized the expenditure of $15,000 for the construction of a new inspection car for the Railways Commissioner.

The Murray car was the last timber bodied car built at Islington Works and when introduced on 1.10.1934 was claimed to be the most up-to-date car of its kind in the Commonwealth. The frame work is Tasmanian Blackwood and the internal panels are sliced Queensland Walnut. The car rides on two six-wheeled bogies imported from the U.S.A and weighs 52 tons. Sleeping accommodation is provided for 10 persons.

When introduced, the actual cost had risen to $19,954. This additional cost was incurred by providing a fairly high grade of equipment, fitting up and finish to make ‘Murray’ suitable for use by HRH the Duke of Gloucester on his visit to Australia in 1934. Murray was also included in the Royal train for HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, when he travelled from Murray Bridge to Adelaide in March 1974. A passenger brake van (No. 391) was also fitted with a generator to provide auxiliary power for Murray In the last days of steam, engine 621 was the Commissioner’s Engine and used to haul Murray.

The car is fitted with a speed indicator. In 1972, Murray was altered to operate on standard-gauge for inspection trips between Peterborough, Port Pirie and Broken Hill. When the Murray car is attached to any train, the observation end must be trailing whenever practicable. When the observation end is not trailing, the curtains must be drawn round such end and secured.

It was retained by the South Australian State Transport Authority when the South Australian Railways were sold to the Commonwealth Government, and store in the Adelaide Rail Yards north car sheds. In 1987 it was transferred to Australian National, entering Islington on 10.9.1987 to be upgraded. This did not happen and it was transferred to Port Augusta in 1991 for storage. Following an application by the History Trust of South Australia, in 1997, it was transferred to Islington for conversion to broad-gauge in preparation for returning to South Australian Government control.

On 11.06.97 it was delivered to the Museum.

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76 Lipson Street
Port Adelaide
South Australia  5015
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Phone: 8341 1690

The National Railway Museum acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional owners and custodians of the Adelaide Plains. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connections to this country. We aim to respect the cultural heritage, customs and beliefs of all Indigenous people.

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