Australian National Railways
National Rail (Mixed Set)
SCT Logistics Maroon (ex ANR)
SCT Logistics Green (ex AN)
SCT Logistics (Mixed Set)
SCT Logistics White/Red
CR/ANR VFX/ABFX 75' LOUVERED VAN – PROTOTYPE OVERVIEW
310 of these colossal vans were built between 1971 and 1978 for the Commonwealth Railways and Australian National Railways. Constructed by various manufacturers such as Carmor Engineering, Commonwealth Engineering and Mechanical Handling, all 310 vans were delivered coded as VFX.
Painted in a classic all over maroon scheme, the only difference for many years were the owner’s name boards attached to the top right hand side of the wagon. These were white letters, painted on a smooth steel board attached the external ribbing.
The VFX vans operated on broad gauge and standard gauge across the continent, hauling general freight, and in some cases, specialty freight which had a light mass but large volume.
In the early 1980s when the new ROA coding was introduced, the VFX vans were recoded to ABFX. Around this time also, Australian National was formed, and many vans were painted in a striking green and yellow livery.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the ABFX vans continued to operate across the country on various gauges, hauling general freight. They were a common sight at Ettamogah (near Albury NSW) being loaded with Paper, and were also loaded with tissue products in Syndey at Kimberly Clark. Paper products and other low density high volume products were moved all over the country by these wagons.
Some vans had access holes cut in the roof in the middle of the wagon. This access point allowed items (generally paper rolls), that were either too big for the side doors or too heavy for a forklift, to be loaded through the opened roof section. As paper rolls were produced at a standard size, the need for the roof access diminished and the access point was permanently secured. Some vans are still in service with a noticeable access point permanently closed.
Many of the ABFX vans were leased or sold in 1994, to the newly created National Rail Corporation. These vans were recoded RBFX, and some were converted to high speed and coded RBFY. Many of the RBFX never actually ran in revenue service. One RBFX was painted in NRC light grey colours.
The vans not leased or sold to NRC were leased to new freight operator SCT in 1995. This allowed SCT to kick off a small freight service using only vans - freight that NRC said would never succeed. As the SCT business grew, the vans leased to NRC were return to ASR (the new owner of AN) and subsequently leased to SCT, increasing the size of their fleet. (It is believed that most of the vans owned by NRC were scrapped a few years later). All vans leased to SCT were high speed runners and coded ABFY, with large SCT logos generally placed on the side of the van towards each end.
In the late 1990s ASR sold a large number of ABFY vans to SCT. Around the same time, vans were progressively upgraded and improved. The noticeable improvements included a bogie overhaul, an external repaint into all green, and a new silver corrugated roof being fitted. Some vans with better condition rooves were merely painted silver.
In the early 2000s, ABFY 4444 (or was it 2677?) was modified into a refrigerated van and coded ARBY. This prototype led to around 20 ABFY vans being converted in the early 2000s and some more in 2005.
In 2004, SCT managed to purchase the last remaining Pacific National (Formerly NRC) RBFX vans from Broken Hill. 15 were sold in total. These 15 vans were refurbished to a similar standard to the ABFY wagons, although these were fitted with high speed 70t bogies, a new corrugated roof, and were painted in the standard white livery rather than the ABFY green. These vans were all upgrades by Gemco in Perth.
Following on from the 15 ABSY conversion, more ABFY vans were converted, bringing the total ABSY fleet to near on 100 vans. Towards the end of 2007, some vans were upgraded but not painted white (probably due to the requirement for vans for the peak season), instead having a thin horizontal yellow band painted across the doors. Other ABSY vans were upgraded and painted white, but retained the original steel roof.
With new vans being built for SCT, the remaining ABFY vans were stored, generally off bogies, in 2008. Around 90 ABFY vans are believed to be stored. The existing operating fleet can be seen running from Perth to Melbourne, as well as Parkes.
Currently, all VFX type vans still in operation are owned by SCT.
CR/ANR VFX/ABFX 75' LOUVERED VAN – PROTOTYPE PHOTOS
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