State Transport Authority
Class operators: South Australian Railways/State Transport Authority/TransAdelaide
Ownership: Port Dock Station Railway Trust
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Withdrawn: 15th December 1996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.