South Australian Railways
Class operators South Australian Railways
Provenance South Australian Railways
Ownership National Railway Museum
Class Builders Adelaide Locomotive Workshops, S.A.R. Islington Workshops
Built by S.A.R Islington Workshops
Number in class 7
Number series 7, 9, 126 - 128, 132, 144
Entered service 22nd December 1894
Withdrawn 19th March 1971
Entered the museum 8th November 1982
Length (over coupling points) 38’ 10’’ (11.84m)
Bogie centres 24’ 1’’ (7.34 metres)
Height 10’ 5’’ (3.18 metres)
Width 7’ 6’’ (2.29 metres)
Tare Weight 12 tons 8 cwt (12,406 kilograms)
Seating capacity 44
No. 144 is one of the many narrow-gauge passenger cars of the South Australian Railways with 31’ 6’’ (9.6m) long bodies nicknamed Short Toms. Although the narrow-gauge passenger cars ran in country areas for journeys occupying many hours duration, amenities provided were few. The original standard layout of these cars was access from each end of the cars with a solid partition dividing the car into two unequal areas. The larger compartments had another internal partition with a door to provide a smaller compartment in the centre of the car for ladies. For composite cars, the smaller area was the first class area.
Amenities in the form of water and lavatories were provided in narrow gauge cars from 1885 (and ultimately almost all of the Short Toms were fitted), but construction continued for some time of cars without these features.
No. 144 was originally scheduled to be built as a second class car to the standard layout without lavatories and with the solid internal partition and central ladies compartment. A direction in February 1894 stated it was to be second class ‘opened throughout from end to end’, - i.e. it was built as it was known with no internal partitions and longitudinal seats.
Constructed at Islington Workshops and issued on 18th December 1894 to the Western System of the narrow-gauge lines, No. 144 was built to replace No.10 passenger car when the latter was converted to an ambulance van and forwarded to Palmerston (Darwin) in 1890 in a programme providing ambulance vans on broad and narrow gauges.
Spending all of its life on the northern narrow-gauge lines, No.144 had few alterations but was fitted with electric lights in July 1909 and air brakes at Quorn in August 1911. In the 1950s No.144 was used as a trailer for school children behind the Model 75 rail car between Booleroo Centre and Wilmington and as the car was detached and attached at Booleroo Centre every school day, a handbrake was fitted to it during 1958 while an internal partition was also provided.
Condemned on the 19th March 1971 after the standardisation of the Port Pirie to Broken Hill line, No.144 was purchased by the South Australian Division of the Australian Railways Historical Society and made available for use on the Pichi Richi Railway. It was transferred to the Mile End Museum in 1982.
The car was extensively refurbished by the museum in early 1988, before spending several months on loan to Pichi Richi Railway at Quorn.