NZR FM guards van

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An AG guards van directly behind the EF class electric locomotive on the Overlander service in 2003.

The New Zealand FM guards van is a rail vehicle in New Zealand originally used on freight trains but now used primarily on passenger trains, reclassified AG.

First batch, 1977[edit]

In the mid-1970s NZR had a need for new guards vans for new vans for both freight and moderately fast passenger and express freight services, to replace old and increasingly decrepit vans, most of the existing vans were built before 1946, including passenger express vans, post war construction being only two batches of 35/30 in 1955 and 1963-67.Cabinet works approval for made for the Van order on 15/5/73 and NZR GM T M Small made a second request for Cabinet Works Committee approval on 15/8/74, but no work was made on design until 1975 due to the fact the NZR design staff were preoccupied with design of the Wagons and the reconstruction of the Northerner express,[1] the first order for 56 FM vans was approved in the last Cabinet meeting of the Rowling, Labour Government on 18/11/1975 for 4.32 million, officially on Treasury report 1624, 3.4 million being applied to the overseas constructed basic van imported from Japan They were built by Mitsubishi, and were the first all-steel vans. The body was composed of three modules that could be detached from the underframe: a central module, classed GM (guard's module), which contained the guard's office,five first class seats [2] and facilities; and two outer modules, classed LM (luggage module), for freight and luggage. The idea was that should a module become damaged in service it can be removed for repairs and replaced with another, allowing the van to return to service sooner than otherwise would have been the case, it was because of these modules that the vans were given the FM classification, as opposed to the traditional F designation given to all previous NZR guards vans. The FM also pioneered the X28020 bogie, now used under New Zealand's long-distance passenger fleet, the first batch was very well received by guards. Fifty-six were built, and in 1976 an order was placed for an additional 17, the vans were not however entirely appreciated as the passenger train crews on the large crewed prestige trains preferred the old 56 ft passenger vans and the luggage and van space on the Fm vans was not adequate for carriage and fast transfer of mail at parcels from express freight trains at intermediate stations requiring extra ZA vans having to be used for highly profitable mail and parcels on many North Island express freigths and the Northerner.

Experimenting[edit]

For a time, New Zealand Railways toyed with the idea of smaller vans at the ends of freight trains, this was achieved by positioning an FM G M (Guards' Module) onto an NH-class high speed four-wheeled flat deck wagon, classified FX. FX 399 was the first of these, and was later reclassified FH 16, the end result, however, was an uncomfortable ride for Guards and only three FH were commissioned, and were taken out of service within a year. FH 16 is now part of the Ferrymead Railway fleet of rolling stock as a support vehicle for W 192 as non-revenue E 8362.

Second batch, 1981[edit]

In 1981, another batch of 50 vans were introduced, built by Daewoo in Korea. Consideration was even given to using stainless steel bodies on the second batch, but the cost was considered impossible after the acceptance of treated anti corrosion lower grade steel for the new Wellington EMUs ordered from Hungary; in April 1983 the newly formed New Zealand Railways Corporation commissioned consultants Booz Allen Hamilton to review operations with a view of making the Corporation's services more efficient, they reported back in May 1984.There conclusion was that the extra train weight, crewing and loss of revenue space on trains induced by the vans made the continued use of the guards vans, ridiculous [3] and they should be withdrawn from freight trains, among the more drastic of the recommendations was reducing locomotive crews from two to one, and the replacement of guards and vans with Train End Monitors (TEMs). Similar views on the obsolescence and extra cost of NZR use and order of guards van was made in an International Railway Gazette editorial at the time of the order, the editorial actually expressed the view it was an outrage these extravagant vans were being ordered so one man, could ride around the country at the time secondary passenger services were being eliminated in NZ on a scale virtually unparalleled in the western world.[4] It was of course even worse, in that each of the vans were built with five first class seats stripped out of the first class carriages of the old Auckland-Wellington express which last ran in September 1975 and would have been the best immediately available stock to maintain, full Hawkes Bay and Taranaki passenger servies, this latter recommendation led to the elimination of guards vans from all freight trains by 1987, meaning the second batch of FM vans was redundant after only five years in service.

AG class vans[edit]

NZR began overhauling a small number of FM vans for use with 56ft carriages on the Blue Fern, Northerner and Overlander, Bay Express and Lynx Express, many rebuilt with air conditioning. These vans were fitted with either a small platform-mounted generator to supply 240 V power, or a larger generator in one of the LM modules to supply the 240 V and also power for the air conditioning. On newer higher-powered vans one of the end platforms was given more substantial railings and gates for passenger use, and to separate the modified vans from the other FMs they were given the classification AG. Further conversions were performed with most getting the larger generator, and they soon became the new standard luggage van. There was some variation between vans, in the type, size and position of the generator.

In 1991, AG 124 was modified with one of the LM modules converted to provide greater outdoor accommodation for passengers, and both ends fitted with better railings, this van was for use on the TranzAlpine, where it proved extremely popular and a few years later AG 239, with a 110 kVA generator for air-conditioned cars, incorporated the same feature. In 1995 AG 239 had the other LM module modified to match, at the expense of any luggage carrying capacity, and a larger 175 kVA generator to reflect the increased work needed for the larger consist.

In 1998, AG 90, out of service since its involvement in the 25 August 1993 level crossing collision between the Southerner and a concrete mixer truck at Rolleston, was repaired and had a new 175 kVA generator installed, for duty on the TranzAlpine, this van is used in the middle of the train, to separate the increasingly lengthy TranzAlpine into two self-contained sections. In 1999, AG 199 was modified in a similar manner for the TranzCoastal, with one LM and the GM hollowed out for outdoor viewing and the other LM retained solely for luggage, with no generator; in 2008, AG 239 was modified to match AG 90 to provide a spare viewing car. No further vans have been modified in this manner.

21st century[edit]

Dunedin Railways FM class observation van at Dunedin Railway Station, 20 May 2016.

AG 130 was modified for use with the S class carriages rebuilt from ex-British Rail Mark II carriages for the Capital Connection. Changes included fitting a wheelchair hoist in one of the LM modules and the covering-in of one of the balcony ends to replace luggage capacity lost by fitting the hoist.

Other vans were used with the first SA suburban sets for Auckland, to supply power before the arrival of SD carriages fitted with a generator and a driving cab, in Auckland Transport Blue with a gold stripe, after the arrival of the SD cars they were released back into the general pool, with two exceptions: AG 222 was further overhauled and painted as a spare generator and extra luggage capacity for Metlink's Wairarapa Connection trains; AG 118 moved to Dunedin with 13 ex-Wairarapa 56 ft carriages, leased to the Dunedin Railways minus bogies. It has been fitted with X25330 bogies and is used to supply head-end power to the cars.

Seven vans have been rebuilt at Hillside Workshops for use with new AK Class carriages: AG 55, AG 61, AG 101 and AG 216 as AKV viewing/generator vans AKV 39, AKV 26, AKV 13 and AKV 41, with a 220 kVA generator, a viewing deck and an interconnecting corridor past the generator compartment; AG 78, AG 124 and AG 245 (ex FM 186) as AKL luggage vans AKL 34, AKL 21 and AKL 19, retaining their X28020 bogies (not upgraded to the newer P13 bogies). In 2017, it was announced AGs 147 and 199 were chosen to be converted to AKV open-air viewing/generator vans, as of December 2017, both vans are currently undergoing conversion at Hutt Workshops

In preservation[edit]

A considerable number of FM vans were bought by heritage railways, at least three FMs have been returned to main-line use in largely original form, with more expected in the near future. In addition, the Gisborne City Vintage Railway has two vans substantially modified to passenger carriages for main line use, the three modules have been welded together to form a single body with passenger windows. Two similar vans were similarly converted for the Wairoa YMCA for envisaged passenger trains to their Opoutama camp,[5] this project did not come to fruition. One of these vans has ended up with Gisborne City Vintage Railway and the other with Mainline Steam, where it has been fitted with a servery.[6][not in citation given]

Mainline Steam also has a number of other FM vans, to be used with its carriage fleet. One of these vans, at Plimmerton, has been modified with one of the LM modules converted to a viewing platform similar to the Tranz Scenic conversions, the GM module has been partitioned to accommodate a generator and a loco crew compartment, and the other LM left for luggage. Unlike the Tranz Scenic conversions, a corridor is provided for so that the van can be marshalled anywhere in the consist and allow passenger access through the train (an idea which has been borrowed for the new vans to go with the AK Class cars). This van is to be paired with Mainline Steam's British Rail Mark II carriage set.

Other uses[edit]

FM, GM and LM modules have found many non-rail uses[weasel words] both inside and outside of the rail sphere. Due to their compartmentalized nature, the modules have become handy garden or tool sheds, ticket booths or motel accommodation.[citation needed]

Class Register[edit]

Original no. TMS no. Builder Introduced Withdrawn Allocated Status Notes
FM 1 FM 88

AG 26

Mitsubishi February 1977 Scrapped Withdrawal date unknown.
FM 2 FM 94 Mitsubishi March 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 3 FM 105 Mitsubishi March 1977 September 1988 Preserved Used as the Turakina Pub.
FM 4 FM 111 Mitsubishi March 1977 September 1988 Scrapped Scrapped by the Mainline Steam Heritage Trust.
FM 5 FM 128 Mitsubishi March 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 6 FM 134

AG 32

Mitsubishi March 1977 N/A Preserved Preserved, Mainline Steam Heritage Trust.
FM 7 FM 140 Mitsubishi March 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 8 FM 157 Mitsubishi April 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 9 FM 163 Mitsubishi April 1977 September 1988 Preserved Preserved, Gisborne City Vintage Railway. Mainline certified.
FM 10 FM 186

AG 245
AKL 19

Mitsubishi April 1977 North Island In service
FM 11 FM 192

EA 6963
ECL 45

Mitsubishi April 1977 September 1988 In service Used by DBM Contracting.
FM 12 FM 203 Mitsubishi April 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 13 FM 226 Mitsubishi April 1977 September 1988 Preserved Preserved, Feilding and District Steam Rail Society. Mainline certified.
FM 14 FM 232 Mitsubishi April 1977 September 1988 Preserved Preserved, Gisborne City Vintage Railway. Mainline certified.
FM 15 FM 249 Mitsubishi April 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 16 FM 255

AG 49

Mitsubishi April 1977 North Island Out of service Out of service due to the withdrawal of the AO carriages in November 2014. Can still be used occasionally.
FM 17 FM 261 Mitsubishi May 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 18 FM 278

AG 55
AKV 39

Mitsubishi May 1977 North Island In service
FM 19 FM 284 Mitsubishi May 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 20 FM 290

AG 239

Mitsubishi May 1977 2012 Preserved Preserved, Dunedin Railways. Mainline certified.
FM 21 FM 301 Mitsubishi May 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 22 FM 318

AG 61
AKV 26

Mitsubishi May 1977 South Island In service
FM 23 FM 324 Mitsubishi May 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 24 FM 330 Mitsubishi June 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 25 FM 347

AG 78
AKL 34

Mitsubishi June 1977 South Island In service
FM 26 FM 353 Mitsubishi July 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 27 FM 376

AG 216
AKV 41

Mitsubishi July 1977 North Island In service
FM 28 FM 382 Mitsubishi July 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 29 FM 399 Mitsubishi July 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 30 FM 416

AG 222

Mitsubishi July 1977 North Island In service Used on the Wairarapa Connection.
FM 31 FM 422 Mitsubishi July 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 32 FM 439

EA 7461
EFB 14

Mitsubishi July 1977 Scrapped Withdrawal date unknown.
FM 33 FM 445 Mitsubishi July 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 34 FM 451 Mitsubishi July 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 35 FM 468 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 36 FM 475 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 37 FM 480

FM 3027

Mitsubishi August 1977 2001 Preserved Preserved, Mainline Steam Heritage Trust.
FM 38 FM 497 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 39 FM 508 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 40 FM 514 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 41 FM 520 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 42 FM 537 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 43 FM 543 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 44 FM 572 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 45 FM 595 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 46 FM 612

AG 84

Mitsubishi October 1977 Scrapped Withdrawal date unknown.
FM 47 FM 629 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 48 FM 658 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 49 FM 664

AG 90

Mitsubishi February 1977 South Island Out of service Out of service due to the withdrawal of the AO carriages in November 2014. Can still be used occasionally.
FM 50 FM 687

EA 7501
EBC 27

Mitsubishi February 1977 North Island In service Used as a Research Test Car.
FM 51 FM 693

AG 101
AKV 13

Mitsubishi February 1977 South Island In service
FM 52 FM 704 Mitsubishi February 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 53 FM 710 Mitsubishi March 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 54 FM 727 Mitsubishi June 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 55 FM 733

AG 118

Mitsubishi June 1977 Preserved Preserved, Dunedin Railways. Mainline certified.
FM 56 FM 756 Mitsubishi June 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 57 FM 762 Mitsubishi June 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 58 FM 779

EA 7305

Mitsubishi June 1977 North Island In service Used as a Radio Test Car.
FM 59 FM 785

EA 7098
ECL 58
ESR 75

Mitsubishi June 1977 North Island In service Used in the ballast cleaner consist.
FM 60 FM 791

AG 124
AKL 21

Mitsubishi June 1977 North Island In service
FM 61 FM 802 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 62 FM 819 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 63 FM 825 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 64 FM 831 Mitsubishi August 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 65 FM 848 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 66 FM 854 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 67 FM 860 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 68 FM 877 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 69 FM 883

EA 7455
ETR 17

Mitsubishi October 1977 North Island In service Used as a Radio Test Car.
FM 70 FM 900 Mitsubishi October 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 71 FM 917

AG 130

Mitsubishi October 1977 North Island In service Used on the Capital Connection.
FM 72 FM 923 Mitsubishi November 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 73 FM 946 Mitsubishi November 1977 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 952 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 969 Daewoo February 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 975 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 981 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 998 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1006 Daewoo June 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1012

AG 147

Daewoo April 1981 South Island Under overhaul Undergoing conversion to an AKV open-air viewing/generator vans at Hutt Workshops.
FM 1029 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1035 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1041

EA 7144
EAM 24
FM 3010

Daewoo April 1981 N/A Preserved Preserved, Mainline Steam Heritage Trust. Mainline certified.
FM 1058 Daewoo June 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1064 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1070 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1087 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1093 Daewoo April 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1104 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1110

AG 153

Daewoo March 1981 North Island In service Back-up van for the Capital Connection.
FM 1127 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1133 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Preserved Preserved, Railway Enthusiasts Society.
FM 1156 Daewoo April 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1162 Daewoo February 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1179 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1185 Daewoo February 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1191

EA 7121

Daewoo June 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1202 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1219 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1225 Daewoo April 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1231 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1248 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1254 Daewoo February 1981 September 1988 Preserved
FM 1260 Daewoo April 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1277 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1283 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1300 Daewoo April 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1317 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1323 Daewoo June 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1346 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1352 Daewoo June 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1369 Daewoo June 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1375 Daewoo April 1981 September 1988 Preserved Preserved, Mainline Steam Heritage Trust.[7]
FM 1381 Daewoo April 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1398 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1409 Daewoo May 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1415

AG 176

Daewoo April 1981 North Island Out of service Out of service due to the withdrawal of the AO carriages in November 2014. Can still be used occasionally.
FM 1421 Daewoo April 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1438 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1444 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1450 Daewoo June 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
FM 1467

AG 182

Daewoo June 1981 September 1988 South Island Out of service Out of service due to the withdrawal of the AO carriages in November 2014. Can still be used occasionally.
FM 1473 Daewoo March 1981 September 1988 Scrapped
N/A AG 199 N/A September 1988 South Island Under overhaul Original FM number and date into service unknown. Undergoing conversion to an AKV open-air viewing/generator vans at Hutt Workshops.

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ T.M Small NZR GM. Archive Files 24/565rre FM van
  2. ^ Observation of FM vans late 1970s. In May 1975 it was planned to fit two 2 x 2 recycled twin set seats and one new type DA driver seat NZR, CME 26/5/75 NZ Nat Archive files 24/565 NZR Order 450 FM railcars 1973-75, but better seats were used, usually from scrapped 50/56ft ex Express first class carriages. Voluminous Material on every fitting to the FM vans, can be found in the National archives, but no material on the seat fittings, other the fact/drawing they were fitted can be found
  3. ^ Booz Allen Report on NZR, 5/1984, cited, Uni Cant,NZ, Eng Lib, 2006-7
  4. ^ Railway Gazette international (monthly) 1976 UK
  5. ^ Rails Magazine[citation needed]
  6. ^ Mainline Steam Heritage Trust http://www.mainlinesteam.co.nz.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[full citation needed]
  7. ^ "Passenger Cars". New Zealand Rolling Stock Register. Retrieved 1 December 2017.