Monday, July 14, 2014

AVL 314 Buffet Lounge Car

In 1958, the WAGR converted Dining Car AV 314 into a Buffet Lounge car for use on the Westland.
 It retained all of its external AV dining car features, but lost its crown light windows and was reclassified “AVL”, entering service that year in the larch green livery.

In 1962 as part of the carriage refurbishment program, AVL 314 was further modified to improve its facilities. The end platforms were closed in, though it did retain its tongue and groove side timbers and the old dining car kitchen was completely rebuilt for buffet use. It was fitted with Bradford-Kendall “Commonwealth” ride control bogies, Evaporative Air –Conditioning (possibly a first for the WAGR) and could seat 21 passengers. The new larch green and cream livery was applied and it returned to service in March, 1962.
With the WAGR takeover of the Midland Railway Co. in 1964, AVL 314 was one of four cars to be chosen to become part of the consist for the new “Midlander” service to run between Perth and Geraldton and was repainted into a special Red and Ivory livery. The Midlander only operated on weekdays and so on weekends AVL 314 and the other Midlander cars were used to form the “Albany Weekender” consist.

One passenger said of the AVL on the Midlander
“In June 1966 we travelled to Geraldton in a first class sleeper and after leaving Midland we made our way down to AVL 314 to have an evening meal sitting at the rotating bar stools that were located at the buffet counter. This was my first dining experience on a train and as a ten year old I was over the moon. Even though it was a Wednesday evening the train was quite busy and the conductor assisted the buffet attendant for a time. As more people arrived for meals the conductor offered to serve our tea and coffee in the lounge section in order for the buffet counter to be used by other customers. We returned on The Midlander the next week and because we were only travelling as first class sit up passengers we were offered seats in the Lounge section of AVL 314 where we also enjoyed a breakfast. 
As well as the evaporative cooling the car was also fitted with Commonwealth ride control bogies which gave an ultra smooth ride.  It was a truly memorable experience.  In fact all of the buffet cars of the WAGR had very high standards of appointments all with a certain individual style. Quite an achievement really due to what was really a very small passenger operation”.

In December 1967, due to the mismatch of liveries when interchanging or adding booster cars to the consists, the lounge car, along with the other Midlander cars, was returned to the green and cream livery, and it then continued to run on the Midlander and Albany Weekender services until the demise of those trains.
AVL 314 was written off in December 1975 and was stored at the Midland workshops till September 1976 when it was painted yellow and re-issued to traffic as a workmans van as part of the breakdown train where it remained until being leased by the ARHS in 1988, arriving at the museum in June for restoration.
Currently AVL 314 has seen some restoration take place and can be found at the ARHS museum, in the back roads, somewhat unloved and incomplete – far from its former glory when it could be found working on three of the WAGR’s named trains.

Information sourced from “A History of WAGR Passengers Carriages” by A. May and B. Gray

AVL 314 - The Model

The model of the AVL came to be during the first half of 2014 whilst our group was constructing the layout "Mogumber Bridge" for this years annual Model Railway Show. The layout being based on the Midland Railway Co. line during the 1960's period was to be operated with MR rolling stock for the Saturday and then WAGR stock on the Sunday & Monday. As group we mostly had sufficient equipment to cover our operating needs but during discussions on this matter it was realised that to operate a WAGR "Midlander" -the main WAGR passenger service - the only car in the basic consist that we did not have was the Buffet Car AVL 314.  

Without too much thought, I suggested "Why not build one" ! 

Being only 3 months out from the show weekend, this suggestion was met with some doubt about the possibility of achieving a completed model in such a short time. After going home and doing a bit of research I decided that I would have a go at it.  As the AVL was originally an AV dining car I figured that I could use the pre-existing AV sides and floor from a Railwest kit and with a bit of Kit Bashing, it would be possible to produce the model AVL we required to make up our "Midlander" at the show. After discussing my thoughts with Graham of Railwest it was agreed that I could have a set of their AV parts I required if I could make it happen before the June long weekend Show.

Here below is the where the project started with two AV dining car sides.
 After a visit to the museum to measure up and photograph the real carriage, I set about the modifications to the sides which would involve shifting a window from the kitchen side to the corridor side, building new end sections with vestibule doors and toilet compartments and paneling across the top row of windows and adding detail. Here below is the modified car sides ready to be moulded in rubber. You can see that essentially the window pattern is still the same but the car is much changed at its ends.
  Once the car sides were finished, new end and internal walls were built and after moulding and casting parts, I commenced actual construction of the prototype model of the AVL.
On the 30th of April, just 7 weeks after the discussion of producing a model took place, AVL 314 made its maiden voyage on the Mogumber Bridge layout during a trial setting up of the layout hauled by X1023.

Some innovations have been built into the AVL kit that I have not previously had with my earlier carriage kits.The windows have recesses cast behind the window for fitting of glazing, The ends of the cars have the buffer beam added so that the floor will sit between all of the walls of the car and the floor itself has had all of the tanks, battery boxes and vacuum cylinders added to enable it to all be cast in as one piece to make it easier for the modeler as well as to give a much stronger/rigid floor casting. New detail parts also had to be made such as the large kitchen vents and circular vents as well as using 3d detail decals for louvres.

The AVL was certainly not a car I had considered making a model of but after researching and planning for the model I have come to appreciate what a versatile carriage it was when it was in service for the WAGR.  
As such I had not really planned to build this particular model but as one was needed for completion of a consist for the show, I feel the project has been a worthy challenge which has added another passenger car model to compliment those kits I already produce. The AVL kit is now available 

No comments:

Post a Comment