Friday 27 December 2013

The new deal for Country passengers

Some will remember the 1980s as the year the Victorian Railways (known as VicRail from the mid-1970s) begin to change appearance and become known as V/line from 1983. As part of the change which began in 1981, a promise was made by the then State Government to improve country passenger services which were still operating with old wooden rollingstock, most edging on 70 years old. Apart from the introduction of some additional S type cars in the 1940s and the Z type cars in the 1950s, the new deal would include the single biggest upgrade project to the country rollingstock up to that time. 54 brand new carriages were built between 1981-1984 to improve service and comfort on these country services. They became known as the N cars and ran in a set of 3; a BN Ecomony car, a BRN Economy car with a Snack Bar and finally a ACN First class car with facilities for the guard. Initially hauled by B-class diesel locomotives painted in Vicrail orange and silver 'Teacup' or 'Cup and Saucer' livery to match the cars, they would later be hauled by rebuilt B-class locomotives known as A-class. The cost of rebuilding the B-class into Turbocharged A-class was not cost effective, so it was decided to build new locomotives to haul the new carriages. The new locomotives were appropriately known as N-class and entered service between 1985-1987.

More details on the upgrade project can be found on the following V/line video which is now on youtube:

The reason for this short history lesson? Well today I decided to finally buy a Auscision Models N car set. It fills a gap in my passenger stock collection as something was needed to go with my previously acquired Auscision N-class locomotive. The models are a fine representation of the cars, the set I picked representing how most sets appeared between 1983-1990 when the railways changed its name and logo from VicRail to Vline and simply replaced the logo on the cars, retaining the silver stripes. The underframe has a nice level of detail and the interior comes complete with seats, curtains and luggage racks. The BRN car comes complete with the Snack counter and food racks (even the Microwave!). The ACN is correctly modelled for the period with a Guard's periscope on the roof (removed by the late-1990s on all sets). The seats are correctly coloured according to the class of car (purple for First, brown for Economy). The thing that would set the model off is to stick some people in, not fully loaded as most trains ran with plenty of empty seats except at peak times or special holidays. A D van is included which handled goods that could not be accommodated in the Guard's van good compartment in the ACN car.

Anyway here are some photos of the set:

One job, aside from adding passengers, will be to aquire some silver striping decals to cover the window blanks where the Snack Bar is on the BRN. Otherwise they are ready to see service behind an N-class or even a blue and gold X-class.

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