Western Australian, Midland Railway Company, JV class, 1st class Sleeping Car No. 31
The Midland Railway was a privately owned railway company in WA operating between Midland and Walkaway (near Geraldton) commencing operations in 1894 until being absorbed by the WAGR in 1964.
The JV class sleeping cars were the last carriages built for the Midland Railway Co. being built in 1927 by the WAGR workshops at Midland. Only 3 JV carriages were built numbering 31 -33. The WAGR later went on to use the design for their own AZ class cars.
The picture here below from the State Library of WA shows JV 31 freshly painted in 1955.
In a 1927 report in the West Australian Newspaper, General Manager of the Midland Railway Mr J. J. Poynton proclaimed “They are the best sleeping cars on a narrow-gauge railway in Australia and as far as knowledge goes, not excelled anywhere in the world”.
Each carriage provided sleeping accommodation for 60 persons in two berth compartments. The interior lining of the carriages was of beautifully finished Teak. Light but warm rugs made by the Albany Woolen Mills were provided for the sleeping berths finished with MR initials perforated in the centre. The corridors, considered “Remarkable”, were staggered, running half the length of the car on one side then crossing over to the other side via a vestibule with entry and exit doors, the advantages of the staggered corridors providing a better balance of weight distribution to the cars, better access for passengers, and control of the wind draft “which is apt to whistle through a long corridor”.
Other innovations included Enclosed Concertinas between cars and Water tanks under the floor with electric pumps to raise the water when required. Automatic floodlights on the side of the cars came on when the train stopped, to light up stations at night, and then would turn off once a speed of 8 miles an hour was attained. Steps were provided at each end of the cars to allow for us at unattended sidings, a trap door in the floor of the corridor giving access to the steps when lifted and handrails swing into place “ready for use”. There could be no doubt that these cars costing approx. £7500 to build, fully equipped, would enhance the comfort of passengers and the prestige of the Midland Railway!
This model of JV 31 has been created from a WestOzModels urethane "AZ" ½ door kit with some “creative” painting to achieve the MR livery .
The Decals have been painstakingly and beautifully reproduced by local member Rob Clarke of "Westland Models".
I would not normally model the MR, but I have built this carriage to assist local member Stuart Mackay who has been working on a MR layout of Watheroo for our annual exhibition for which rollingstock is a little hard to come by.
I personally prefer the WAGR greens and Creams and have got to say that after many attempts to photograph this model, Brown has to be the worst colour to photograph and get a good result. Thanks go to Bill Gray for his photo above - I believe he agrees with me.
Midland Railway rollingstock did venture onto parts of the WAGR, and so a bit of modelers license will allow my model of JV31 to fit into my future modeling intentions.