South Australian Railways
Class operators South Australian Railways
Entered service 21/12/1910
Entered the museum 7/11/1966
Length (over coupling points) 47’ 2’’ (14.38 metres)
Ownership History Trust of South Australia
Provenance South Australian Railways
Seating capacity 50
For many years the typical broad-gauge carriages of the South Australian Railways were modelled on the compartment-type British carriage, with side doors to every compartment. These cars, which were very similar to cars that also ran in New South Wales and other states, were originally designed for the suburban services. However, in 1898 a variation was provided when the first lavatory-equipped car on the South Australian Railways was built.
These lavatory-equipped cars were popularly known as dogbox carriages, and consisted of a series of compartments with a pair of toilets between each pair of compartments. The earliest examples had prominent roof water tanks, but later carriages had the tanks built into the coaches themselves. These cars always had six compartments, but the width of the compartment varied according to the class. Consequently, the first class coaches were longer than the composites or the second class coaches.
About 100 dogboxes were built between 1898 and 1922, and even until the end of the 1950s they were to be seen on country trains. Apart from the fact that most of the cars underwent class changes during their lives, there were only three major alterations to the type. In the 1940s most carriages had their screw couplings replaced by the then standard auto-coupling, and about the same time a number lost their gas lights in favour of electricity (although some retained gas lights for the whole of their lives.)
The second major change occurred during the Second World War when a number of the older cars had their lavatories removed and the seats rearranged to make them suitable for suburban service. At the same time certain cars had baggage compartments provided in the centre. The third and most drastic change occurred between 1950 and 1953 when 23 cars were rebuilt for country service as centre-aisle cars with ‘improved’ seating and with one end vestibule. Known as the 900 class, these cars were unpopular because of their narrow aisles and perpendicular seats.
294 was issued to traffic as a second class carriage, but was altered to a composite in December 1920, and then back to second class in 1929. It was fitted with gas lighting in 1936 and auto-couplers in 1940. In 1956 the car was taken out of passenger service and sent to Tailem Bend for further service as a crew car on the Accident Train.
As a second class car, 294 seated 54 passengers, but during its brief spell as a composite the number was reduced to 50 (14 first class and 36 second class.)