Guard's van HG 10819

About the exhibit

Static exhibit

Brakevan HG 10819 has heritage significance as a good example of the major type of guards van used on goods trains in NSW until about 1950, and is the oldest of the remaining HG guards vans. 

The van demonstrates the aesthetic qualities associated with NSW railway coach building at the turn of the twentieth century and is a good example of an early brakevan and of timber railway carriage construction. 

Aside from some later additions, the brakevan remains substantially intact. 

The van is listed by its later number L 383 (and incorrectly as HG 12340) on the NSW Heritage Register.


Transport Heritage NSW trading as Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Heritage Museum


Brake vans were attached to all freight trains from 1855 to about 1983. From 1875 brake vans which provided space for the guard, parcels, and passengers, known as composite brake vans were the most widely used type of goods brake vans for the following century. HG 10819 was one of 322 Guards vans built to this design which were used by the New South Wales Government Railways between 1900 and 1978 in revenue traffic. Constructed by Meadowbank Manufacturing as part of a contract for twenty composite vans, van HG 10819 entered service in November 1902 as one of eight delivered to the Railways at that time. The whole underframe was made of tallowwood, as were the wing bars, end bars, intermediate floor frame and outside sheathing of the van. The roof boards were tongue and grooved one inch thick Kauri while the same material but one and a half inches thick was used for the floors. One gas light was fitted in the passenger compartment, with two fitted in the combined luggage and guards compartment. The springs were four feet and half an inch long between eye centres. 

With the introduction of large numbers of steel bodied bogie guards vans in the 1950s, HG 10819 was withdrawn from revenue service in 1955 and modified for use with the overhead wiring construction trains. Re-entering service in January 1956 as L383, it was fitted with a rooftop walkway and work platform and various internal modifications. Withdrawn from service again in April 1959 and placed into storage, it was finally condemned in May 1982, by which time it was in outside storage at the Rail Transport Museum at Thirlmere. This vehicle was moved by rail to its present location at Valley Heights Locomotive Depot in September 2008. HG 10819 (L383x) is the oldest remaining HG guard’s van surviving.

It was used as guard’s van L 383, modified in 1956 as an overhead wiring construction vehicle, with guard’s accommodation retained, partition wall relocated with the rest of the vehicle used for equipment storage. It has a timber platform deck fitted to the roof with timber rollers fitted on one end. The van is constructed of hardwood (Tallowwood), softwood (Kauri), forged and fabricated steel fittings, cast wheels, brass axle box bearings and fittings. The van has a fixed wheelbase, and rides on leaf springs on two plain journal-bearing axles with 8 spoke wheels. It is fitted with a hardwood timber underframe and body. The wagon is fitted with the Westinghouse air braking system, consisting of a triple valve operating a combined apparatus AF type brake cylinder, acting on the brake rigging to apply two brake shoes located on the outside of each axle. The vehicle is fitted with hooked draw gear and buffers. 

Text from NSW Heritage listing


This exhibit is listed on the RailCorp Section 170 Heritage & Conservation Register - Movable Heritage which contains additional information about the exhibit.