T 4554 - Tulloch 1940 Suburban Trailer Car | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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T 4554 - Tulloch 1940 Suburban Trailer Car

Item details

Name of item: T 4554 - Tulloch 1940 Suburban Trailer Car
Type of item: Movable / Collection
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Locomotives & Rolling Stock
Primary address: North Eveleigh Heritage Store, Eveleigh, NSW 2015
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
North Eveleigh Heritage StoreEveleighSydney  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 has heritage significance. This car was designed by the NSW Railways and built by the former Tulloch Phoenix Ironworks of Rhodes in Sydney for the city’s electrified suburban network. This design of single-deck carriage continued to be built for the NSW system in 1960 when the last car in a total of 283 had been delivered. Considering the use to which it was made, it offered a good quality of accommodation for suburban passengers by offering more space for standing passengers as traffic increased in the late-1930s. It is significant as one of two extant single-deck cars built by this firm and retained for heritage display from the 203 single-deck carriages they built for the NSW Railways from 1940 to 1957.
Date significance updated: 17 Dec 09
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: NSW Railways
Builder/Maker: Tullochs P/L
Physical description: EXTERNAL
Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 is a full integral steel wide-bodied car with doors set at the quarter points to allow good ingress and egress into the car. Two pairs of manually-operated doors are located on each side of the car with an opening of .724m, separated by a pillar so sufficient circulating room was available for circulating passengers. The body sides are riveted with the roof panelling being welded together.

There are twelve opening lift windows on each side and two fixed ones at each end. The opening windows can be raised about 36cm above the sill and slide in moulded rubber guides replacing the original felt. A fixed window is fitted into each door in the car. Intercommunication doors for access to adjacent cars are located at each end.

The steel body of the carriage remains virtually as delivered by Tulloch’s Ltd. in 1940.

The doorways divide the car into three distinct sections with two short compartments at each end and a longer saloon in the middle. The passenger doors lead into two vestibules 2.388m wide which in turn give access to the two saloons. At each end of the car are smaller saloons without doors. The central saloon has 40 transverse seats, most of which are reversible, while each end saloon has 16 longitudinal seats. Total seating is for 72 passengers. All seats are upholstered and covered with a standard SRA black vinyl. In the end saloons there is a bench squab with seat back attached to the interior steel wall of the car, while in the centre saloon the seats are mounted on steel frames supporting squabs with a reversible seat back. Seats in the centre saloon adjacent to partitions are fixed and cannot be reversed.

The partitions which enclose the saloons are of three different dimensions. Each has small fixed glass windows for visibility between the entrance and the saloons. Often, advertisements and public information displays were pasted to them. The centre saloon has sliding doors with a fixed glass window at each end to reduce draughts.

For passenger entry and exit plus security for standing passengers, four stainless-steel vertical poles are located in each vestibule. These are secured at their tops by horizontal bars which retain their original a baked enamel covering. Nine shorter stainless-steel grab-handles are attached to the bulkheads in each entrance vestibule which were also originally of baked-enamel. In each end saloon are more stainless-steel poles for use by standing passengers although four appear to be missing.

Although defined as all-steel, window sills and seat arm-rests are of timber for ease of maintenance, the interior ceilings are of masonite sheet and the floor of concrete. Passenger windows are frameless with a steel bar at their foot incorporating a lift handle with stop catches. Opening and closing a window is assisted by a spring above it secured between the external and internal steel walls accessible by removal of the adjacent advertisement panel. These windows can be lifted above the sill by a small handle on the lower bar. A steel safety bar is attached to the body outside each external window to prevent passengers leaning out. A brass bar is secured to the wooden sill to restrict entry of water and dirt.

Originally pairs of vented steel sunshades were fitted to each window for passenger comfort. During the car’s life, the lower shades were removed while the remaining shades have been taken outside for cleaning and are stored. On the inside of each pair of shades was a brass bar which held them in place. These have also been removed but are stored nearby. Pendant light globes are fitted inside the car surrounded by a standard NSW Railways globular shades. Circular ceiling ventilators are fitted into the internal ceiling incorporating the letters ‘N S and W in a rose design. A hand-brake wheel to secure the car when stored is at the No. 2 end of the car.

The car rides on two MR-type cast-steel bogies with roller-bearing axle-boxes designed specifically for Sydney’s electric trains. At an unknown date these were changed from the original M-type which had friction-bearing axle-box bogies. Standard NSW Railways automatic couplings are fitted at each end beneath tread-plates which give access between cars. Connecting air-hoses are fitted at each end for main air-reservoir and train-brake-line respectively. Four sockets are provided at each end (two on each side) to anchor electrical jumpers connecting to the adjacent cars in a train which carry the control signals from the leading car to others in a train-set.

Equipment located under the floor compromises the air-brake operating equipment, two brake pressure reservoirs, cabling carrying the low-voltage (36v dc) current for normal lighting from an adjacent motor carriage together plus switches and fuses for electric multiple-unit operation.

The present two MR-type bogies under the car ride on 940mm disc wheels which replaced the original spoked wheels in a routine maintenance procedure during the life of the car.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Operational Status: Non-Operational
General Condition: Good Condition
External Condition: Good Condition
Internal Condition: Good Condition

The car is currently undergoing restoration.

This car has some rust appearing at underframe level but is otherwise in good condition. Good wheels.

The interior has been stripped prior to restoration taking place. It retains the earlier panelling above the windows. This panelling has little inspection cut-outs that were covered by a small panel used for advertising.
Date condition updated:24 Sep 09
Modifications and dates: August 1940 - Designed and built for NSW Railways by Tulloch's Ltd and entered service.
1973 - Repainted in blue and white.
1982 - Repainted Indian red.
April 1992 - Withdrawn from service.
Current use: NSW Government Railways Collection
Former use: Suburban Trailer Car


Historical notes: Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 is a steel, single-deck, multiple-unit electric train trailer carriage designed and built for the NSW Railways. The car entered traffic on 13 August 1940 and spent its life in service on the Sydney electric train network until withdrawn in April 1992. The cars of this type and those that followed, were designed by the design-office of the Chief Mechanical Engineer’s Branch of the NSW Railways, under the Chief Mechanical Engineer, Mr Harold Young.

The use of steel, single-deck carriages began with the introduction of electric train services in Sydney in 1926 until replaced by double-deck stock from 1964 to 1993. Increased passenger loads and new electric lines to Cronulla and East Hills in 1939, were the reasons for the NSW Railways placing an order for six eight-car electric trains to a new design with the Tulloch Phoenix Foundry of Rhodes, NSW. Car T 4554 was one of the 24 trailer cars delivered with this contract. The Tulloch Phoenix Ironworks Ltd factory at Rhodes was established in 1914 when the company moved from their original site in Pyrmont. Prior to receiving the contract for this and the other carriages, the company had built freight rolling-stock and other items for the NSW Railways. This was their first order for passenger cars.
The design was a modified version of the original single-deck carriages built from 1926 to 1930. From 1940 to 1957, the NSW Railways placed 203 new carriages in traffic which were similar to T 4554. Eighty more carriages to a very similar design were built by ComEng Ltd from 1956 to 1960. After that order, building of single-deck carriages in Sydney ceased.

With the Tulloch order, the 48 carriages were painted in a new scheme of all-over Indian Red, relieved with two light-buff lines above and below the windows. The roof was painted silver and the underframe and below-floor equipment in black. Painting of the light-buff lines was discontinued in 1957 while retaining the Indian Red. From 1973, this car among many others, was painted in a new style of blue and white. Painting cars in red was resumed in 1982.

A class designation was never displayed on this carriage as from 1940 all Sydney electric trains provided only one-class accommodation. From Cityrail records, it was not involved in any collision or derailment during its service life. It is in virtually as-built condition.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Impacts of railways on urban form-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Railway work culture-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 has a high level of historical significance. The car belongs to a group of 203 all-steel single-deck electric rail carriages built by Tulloch limited from 1940 to 1957 which operated on the Sydney suburban electric rail system until 1993. Most of the car’s fittings were manufactured and assembled locally. From 1960 to 1964, the single-deck fleet of the Sydney electric system totalled over 1,100 cars, all of which have been withdrawn from traffic apart from those selected to represent the heritage of that period. At the time of its building, the single-deck Sydney electric train fleet of cars represented about 45% of the total fleet of passenger carriages on the NSW Railways.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Based on current knowledge, Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 is not known to have any special associations with people or events of significance in a local or state context. It does not have significance under this criterion.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 has a moderate level of aesthetic significance. The cars were built for economy and utility and not aesthetic appeal in high-volume suburban service. A new colour scheme was introduced with these deliveries which was appropriate for the time. Their original external appearance in Indian-red with two parallel buff lines had considerable appeal when the car was built. The carriage is visibly distinctive from other single-deck electric carriages on the system by the very visible large ventilators on the roof and pairs of double entrance doors.

Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 has a moderate level of technical significance. This car displays a shift in carriage design for the Sydney suburban services. Rather than offering as many seats as possible, standing room was given priority particularly in the end saloons. The car is almost totally built of steel in contrast to the locomotive-hauled fleet of carriages of the time where most cars were built with wooden bodies on steel and wooden underframes.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 is likely to have a degree of social value for the community-based associations who have demonstrated an ongoing interest in its conservation and management. This item may also have a degree of social significance to a broader section of the community linked to its historic, aesthetic and associative values.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 has a moderate level of research significance. The car has the potential to reveal information regarding the development of both the use of all-steel construction cars on the NSW Railways, and the introduction of electrification to the Sydney suburban network.
SHR Criteria f)
Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 has rarity significance. At the time of this car's construction in 1940, the single-deck fleet of electric carriages totalled 900. From 1940 until 1957, the Tulloch Phoenix Foundry built 203 cars, which then comprised 18% of the total fleet. Of these 203 cars, only car T 4554 and another, C 7485 have been retained.
SHR Criteria g)
Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 is a good representative example of a steel trailer car. It represents a typical trailer car from an eight-car set, and is one of 883 single deck steel cars that formed the backbone of the Sydney Suburban fleet from 1926 until the late 1980s. The construction of this car heralded a subtle shift in accommodating the increasing loads of passengers on the Sydney suburban electric system, by increasing accommodation for standing passengers. This car and its 202 companions reflect this change to the design of electric carriages built from 1926 to 1930 while maintaining a likeness to the original fleet. The layout of longitudinal seats was to be extended to almost every carriage on the Sydney system after 1940.
Integrity/Intactness: Suburban Trailer Car T 4554 has a high level of integrity and intactness.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
SRA Heritage Rolling Stock Stage 2b Heritage Assessments2000 David Sheedy Pty Ltd Architects and Heritage Consultants  Yes
S170 Rolling Stock Review2009 NSW Department of Commerce  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenGreen Air Services Pty Ltd2007SRA Rolling Stock Condition and Maintenance Assessment, Part 2
WrittenIan Brady2006T 4554 - Tulloch 1940 Suburban Trailer Car CMP
WrittenKeenan & Clarke1963First Stop Central
WrittenNSW R Mechanical Branch Monthly Reports
GraphicState Rail Authority Steel trailer car

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4807176

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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