Fp 1 - Rail Pay Bus | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Fp 1 - Rail Pay Bus

Item details

Name of item: Fp 1 - Rail Pay Bus
Other name/s: Rail Pay Bus
Type of item: Movable / Collection
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Locomotives & Rolling Stock
Primary address: Thirlmere Railway Precinct, Thirlmere, NSW 2572
Local govt. area: Wollondilly
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Thirlmere Railway PrecinctThirlmereWollondilly  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
RailCorpState Government 
RailCorpState Government 

Statement of significance:

Rail Pay Bus FP 1 has state heritage significance as the first and only extant Pay Bus of the first series FP 1 - FP 6, and demonstrates the application of emerging road bus concept to rail transport. The bus was used to provide a passenger service on short branch lines where the level of patronage did not justify a conventional passenger or mixed train, or a rail motor. It was later converted for an important use as a rail pay bus. It has a distinctive external form and character, showing the adaptation of coach-building techniques and the emulation of the appearance of contemporary road buses to rail transport, with a design origin clearly based on the road bus of the 1930s. This type of vehicle continues to be very distinctive, being unlike other railway vehicles of the period. FP 1 is rare as the only survivor of the original pay bus group. Following conversion to a pay bus, this item was used for over 50 years to facilitate the payment of wages to remotely stationed personnel, until other financial systems were employed.
Date significance updated: 04 Feb 10
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: New South Wales Government Railways Road Motor Section
Builder/Maker: Waddingtons Ltd (body), Ford Motor Co. Chassis and mechanical components
Physical description: EXTERNAL
Rail Pay Bus FP 1 is a small 4-wheeled vehicle closely resembling a 1930’s style bus. It is built on a modified truck chassis, powered by a Ford petrol side-valve V8 engine, and fitted with a 4-speed Ford truck type gearbox and rear axle. When constructed it weighed approx. 4½ tons. The body is of steel sheet, of riveted construction, with sliding glass windows and a single entry door in the centre of the left-hand side.

Following recent restoration by railway apprentices, the pay bus is currently painted mid green and cream. It has chrome-plated bumper-bars and grille, while the double roof (or canopy) carries a set of air-horns.

INTERNAL
Seating was originally provided in standard bus type seats for up to 17 passengers. After conversion to a pay bus, the vehicle was fitted with a safe for the wages, tables and chairs for the paymaster, a passengers seat on the left side of the engine cowling and the drivers seat about one third of the way along the car.

MECHANICAL
While it is unclear, it is likely that FP 1 originally had a 1937 Ford Model 78 engine, with 21-stud cylinder heads. These were to the basic 221 cu.in. (3.6 litre) side-valve V8 design introduced by Ford in 1932.

Some time after conversion to a pay bus, FP 1 was modified to allow reverse running, entailing body modifications (retractable air scoops) to provide engine cooling, and mechanical changes including to the transmission (addition of a supplementary reversing gearbox). The driving position (and location of the instruments) was also altered. Though it is unclear, it is likely that these works happened in the late 1930s.

FP 1 received a new English Ford Thames engine in December 1964. The Thames engine was of the same basic Ford side-valve pre-war design, but reverted to 21-stud cylinder heads, the same as the original 1937 version. The engine currently fitted to Pay Bus FP 1 is of this type.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Operational Status: Operational
General Condition: Excellent Condition
External Condition: Excellent Condition
Internal Condition: Excellent Condition

Following recent restoration by rail apprentices, the FP 1 Pay Bus is in excellent condition.
Date condition updated:11 Sep 09
Modifications and dates: 7 July 1937 - Entered service as 17 seat rail bus. Initially a branchline passenger vehicle for use on sparsely trafficked lines. (Its sisters FP 2-7 entered traffic as Rail Pay Buses).
1937 - (September) Converted to rail pay bus. Reverse running enabled
1942 - Ownership assumed by Mechanical Branch in lieu of Road Motor Section
1943 - General overhaul
1947 - Canopy (double roof) added
1949 - Caught in Maitland Floods and completely submerged
c.1950 - Pair of headlights replaced with a single roof-mounted headlight
1964 - Ford Thames V8 petrol engine replaced the original Ford V8 Mercury petrol engine
1968 - Declared surplus by Railway Department
1969 - (27 March) Handed over to Rail Transport Museum. (initially at Petersham then Enfield. At
this time it was in Tuscan Red livery ex NSWR/PTC.
1970-71 - Repaired by RTM (body rust and dents fixed) and repainted in 1930's livery
1975 - Displayed at Thirlmere after move, under cover in "carport" then in main exhibition hall
from 1980.
1982 - Damaged in a shunting accident and moved to loco workshop (outside).
2009 - Restored by railway apprentices.
Current use: NSW Government Railways Collection
Former use: Pay Bus, Rail Passenger Bus

History

Historical notes: The first group of six rail buses FP 1 - FP 6, were designed by the NSW Railways’ Road Motor section, and built in 1937 by coach-building firm Waddingtons Pty Ltd, Granville (subsequently to become Commonwealth Engineering). Although essentially similar in construction with a truck chassis with Ford mechanicals (V8 petrol engine and gearbox), the bodies of this group were all slightly different. Nos. 1 and 6 were single ended, and originally had to be turned (using a locomotive turntable or a triangle junction) at each end of a run. Despite their design similarities, FP 1 was different in style from FP 6, while both the single-ended buses were different from Nos. 2 to 5, which were substantially identical. As well as having driving controls at both ends, buses Nos. 2 to 5 were slightly larger, and had a door on both sides, originally accommodating 18 passengers.

The rail bus concept was intended to provide a passenger service on minor branch lines where the available traffic did not support economic use of a conventional steam-hauled passenger or mixed train, or even a rail-motor service provided by one of the relatively new ‘42 footer’ CPH 'tin hare' motors. FP 1 entered service on 7 July 1937, and the rest of the fleet entered service in September 1937.

It appears that the rail bus concept was less than successful, because all were withdrawn from passenger service, to be used as pay buses, within a year or two of their commissioning. It is not recorded why they were not successful, but it is likely that the depressed economic circumstances of the time impacted on the number of available passengers, while road transport was by that time emerging as a serious threat to rail, particularly for passenger services - the road bus concept being by then quite well established.

FP 1 is likely to have been converted to a Pay Bus in September 1937, linked possibly to repairs after a failure at Grenfell. In any case, it had certainly become a pay bus by 30 June 1938, as it is noted as such in the Railways Department’s Annual Report for 1937-38. Although seating was originally provided in bus-style seats for up to 17 passengers, most of these were removed when the vehicle was converted from a passenger bus to a pay bus, with tables provided for Railways pay staff and seating for six (plus the driver).

All the surviving pay buses were transferred to the Mechanical Branch in 1942, presumably as part of a reorganisation - possibly the original Road Motor section being absorbed into the Mechanical Branch. All except No. 2 (and of course also excepting No. 5) were transferred on 23 August that year, with No. 2 apparently following on 5 October.

FP 1 received another general overhaul in June 1943, and again in 1949 after it was submerged by floodwaters at Maitland.

All the original rail buses were painted green and cream, but with minor variations. FP 1 had a number of versions of this colour scheme, with varying shades of green until the mid 1950s when all of the Pay Buses were painted Indian Red with Chrome Yellow lining.

All members of this first group of rail buses, except FP 5 were withdrawn from service between 1968 and 1970, enabled by the commissioning of a new group of six pay buses in 1968, designated FP 7 to 13. FP 1 was withdrawn on 3 October 1968. All except FP 1 were scrapped in December 1970. Pay Bus FP 1 was transferred to the NSW Rail Transport Museum on 27 March 1969. In 2008-09 the rail pay bus was the subject of a thorough restoration by RailCorp apprentices, and now a well-known component of the NSW Government Railway Collection.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Coaching stock design and technological development-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Technology-Activities and processes associated with the knowledge or use of mechanical arts and applied sciences Making gas /generating electricity-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Railway gardens-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Railway workshops-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Railway impacts on Aboriginal cultures-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Mail trains and parcels service-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Rail Pay Bus FP 1 has historical significance, as the first and only extant Pay Bus of the first series FP 1 - FP 6. It demonstrates the application of the emerging road bus concept to rail transport, to provide a passenger service on short branch lines where the level of patronage did not justify a conventional passenger or mixed train, or a rail motor. Following conversion to a pay bus, this item was used for over 50 years to facilitate the payment of wages to remotely stationed personnel, until other financial systems were employed.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Based on current knowledge, Rail Pay Bus FP 1 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]
Rail Pay Bus FP 1 has aesthetic significance for its external form and character, showing the adaptation of coach-building techniques and the emulation of the appearance of contemporary road buses to rail transport, with a design origin clearly based on the road bus of the 1930s. This type of vehicle continues to be very distinctive and looked nothing like other railway vehicles of the period.

Rail Pay Bus FP 1 has a high level of technical significance. The pay bus provides evidence of the adaptation of road bus technology to rail transport, displayed by this first group of rail buses in particular (as represented by FP 1).
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Rail Pay Bus FP 1 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]
Rail Pay Bus FP 1 has research significance for its potential to provide more information of the use of road technology for rail transport.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Rail Pay Bus FP 1 is extremely rare as the only known example of a pre-war rail bus in existence.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Rail Pay Bus FP 1 is a good representative example of a rail bus, dating from the 1930s.
Integrity/Intactness: Rail Pay Bus FP 1 retains a high level of integrity.
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.

Listings

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
WrittenDavid Cooke1984Railmotors and XPTs
WrittenNSW GR Records1980Notes from SRA records
WrittenRTM2002FP1 Self-propelled 4-wheel pay bus CMP

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 4807199


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