South Australian Railways
Class operators: South Australian Railways/Australian National Railways
Ownership: Port Dock Station Railway Trust
Provenance: South Australian Railways/Australian National Railways
Built by: S.A.R. Islington Workshops
Number in class: 4, plus 1 for BHP Whyalla
Entered service September: 1938
Withdrawn: 9th December 1987
Entered the museum: 10th May 1988
Length (over coupling points): 36’ 6’’ (11.12 metres)
Tare Weight: 11 tons 1 cwt 2 q (11,226 kilograms)
The necessity of providing passenger accommodation on goods trains over lines which were not normally worked by passenger trains was appreciated quite early by the South Australian Railways and, in the 1880s, the first of many goods brake vans with passenger compartments were built. This practice ceased only in 1960s when the motor car provided a more convenient mode of transport in sparsely populated areas.
The 7550-class brake vans were the final development of this type of vehicle on the narrow-gauge Peterborough Division, four being built at the Islington Workshops in 1938. Besides the guard, comfortable accommodation was provided for nine passengers and the cars were regularly attached to goods trains to Broken Hill, Terowie, Quorn, Wilmington and Port Pirie.
No. 7553 was last used on the Wilmington line. Acquired by Australian National in March 1978 it saw little subsequent service and was laid aside. It was obtained by the Museum on 9th December 1987 and placed at the museum on 10th May 1988.