Sunday, May 11, 2014

The MRWA FA Guard's Van

The FA Class Guard's van

The MRWA had  thirteen or fourteen Guard's vans during the life of the railway between 1894 and 1964. Some but not all were taken into WAGR ownership after 1964. Andy May's Railway Page explains the long and complicated history of these vans in great detail.

The simple kit produced by X-class models replicates the vans which were re-built by the Company in the 1950s. These rebuilt vans were numbered 61-68. FA 61-64 had truss rods and full-length running boards. FA 65-68 had angle iron trusses and shorter running boards or steps below the doors.

The first of the following photos shows a kit assembled by Greg Aitken of a very nice example of FA 61 which shows the truss rods and full length running boards as per FA61-64.

The second photo shows an assembled kit of an example of FA 67 which had angle Iron trusses and steps below the doors.

The third photo of the prototype of FA 67 kindly supplied by Joe Moir does not show the trusses but is handy to get some idea of the roof detail and curvature and the paint colour of the vans. It also shows that the roof colour is the same as the colour of the body, unlike WAGR practice which was to paint the canvas roofs a stone colour at least in the corresponding period. The MR vans were painted a chocolate brown for which Humbrol #113 provides a reasonable colour match.

Interestingly the next photo shows that the MRWA were by no means consistent in their use of the colours they used on their guard's vans. This valuable photo also shows the flatter roofs of the un-re-built vans and the oval end of train disk used by the MR compared with the round disk used on the end of WAGR trains. As an aside, looking at the paint colours of the building behind the van with the disk, it shows that the Company's painters were not averse to using the paints that they used on their wagons and vans on the buildings in the yard at Midland. (Photo courtesy of  Rail Heritage WA)

Finally it needs to be said that a number of the MRWA guard's vans survived in WAGR ownership for a number of years and so they would not be out of place at the end of a model of a WAGR train post 1964 though the vehicle numbers would have been altered to have a 40 in front of the them. For example FA 64 became Z 40816 and was not written off until 1977 albeit in yellow livery and without the angled tongue and groove sides.  Once again, Andy May gives a very good explanation of this in his excellent website. Very nice number plates for FA 61-68 are available in waterslide decal form from Westland Models, through the AMRA WA Sn31/2 Special Interest Group.

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