Railcar 321

State Transport Authority

Broad Gauge


Class operators                                                 South Australian Railways/State Transport Authority/TransAdelaide

Condition                                                           Excellent

Ownership                                                         National Railway Museum

Provenance                                                       South Australian Railways

Built by                                                              S.A.R. Islington Workshops

Model                                                                300 Class

Number in class                                                 74

Entered service                                                 12th April 1957

Withdrawn                                                         15th December 1996

Entered the museum                                        15th December 1996

Length (over coupling points)                           65’ 8’’ (20 metres)

Total Weight                                                      40 tons 2 cwt (40,741 kilograms)

Engine type                                                       2x GM (Detroit) series 6/71 diesel model 6086

Cylinders                                                           6x inline

Horsepower                                                       219 horsepower (163 kW)

Maximum Speed                                                55 mph (88 km/h)

Seating capacity                                                91

Fuel capacity                                                     250 gallons (1137 litres)


In 1954 the Islington Workshops of the South Australian Railways, were commissioned to construct diesel railcars for use on the Adelaide suburban service. Two designs were chosen, the 300 class, with a driving station at one end and the 400 class, which had a driving station at each end.

The body of each car consisted of a fabricated steel framework to which a steel skin was welded. Original livery was satin maroon body, silver roof and black bogies, though this was later changed to standard suburban red. Fabricated bogies manufactured by the Islington Workshops were used, though some cars did receive converted bogies that had previously been under Overland carriages.

Each compartment in the passenger saloon was fitted with cold cathode fluorescent tubes and low voltage emergency lighting above fixed tubular steel framed seating. Until 1961 vinyl was used for seat covering, with the main colours being cherry red and Flanders blue, but green, brown and grey sometimes appeared. From 1968, to match the green side walls, a special blue-green upholstery was used.

Interior walls were lined with plastic laminate in blue linen, tan linen or plain green. Flooring was either red linoleum or blue-yellow chequer board vinyl tiles.

Traction power was provided by two six-cylinder diesel engines of the lay-over type. A hydraulic torque converter and gearbox connected the drive shaft to each bogie.

A total of 74 units of the 300 class, and 37 of the 400 class were constructed between 1955 and 1971. Nicknamed Red Hens by the public, this type of railcar exclusively ran the Adelaide suburban service until the late 1970s when new railcars were purchased. Withdrawal of cars commenced in the mid-1980s with the last units remaining in service until late 1996.

Visit the NRM

76 Lipson Street
Port Adelaide
South Australia  5015
Open Daily / 10am – 4:30pm





5-15 yrs & with an adult


2 adults & up to 3 children


  • Prices may vary for special events
  • Open from 12pm on ANZAC Day
  • Closed Christmas Day

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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