Z (Disposed) Carriage, Electric ETB 6039 Comeng 1955 Inter-urban Trailer Car | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Z (Disposed) Carriage, Electric ETB 6039 Comeng 1955 Inter-urban Trailer Car

Item details

Name of item: Z (Disposed) Carriage, Electric ETB 6039 Comeng 1955 Inter-urban Trailer Car
Other name/s: Single Deck Interurban Trailer Car
Type of item: Movable / Collection
Group/Collection: Transport - Rail
Category: Railway Locomotives & Rolling Stock
Primary address: Valley Heights Locomotive Depot Museum, Valley Heights, NSW 2777
Local govt. area: Blue Mountains
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Valley Heights Locomotive Depot MuseumValley HeightsBlue Mountains   Primary Address

Statement of significance:

These cars were the first use of stainless steel on passenger rolling stock on the NSW Railways. They were specifically designed for the electrified section of railway over the Blue Mountains to Lithgow and later to Gosford, Newcastle and Wollongong. The cars replaced old timber bodied stock that had been used for many year behind steam locomotives. Their rapid acceleration and high average speed allowed journeys to the near country areas to be speeded up. This in turn popularised the Blue Mountains, and Central Coast as dormitory areas for the Sydney metropolitan area.

These cars were the first on the NSWR to be built using the technique of spot welding. Previous steel cars have been rivited or welded using conventional techniques. Said to be one of three still intact and capable of being operated in a four -or six- car set.

Although the car needs some minor work, it is intact and in original condition.
Date significance updated: 04 May 04
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: Commonwealth Engineering P/L
Builder/Maker: Commonwealth Engineering P/L
Construction years: 1959-
Physical description: Single deck stainless steel trailer car. The car has entrance doors set at each end of the passenger compartment creating a saloon area for most of the carriages length. The saloon area is divided into two, a small one set aside for the non-smokers and a larger one for smokers. Although smoking was abolished in interurban trains the partition remained Toilets are located at one end of the car, one toilet being nominated for each sex. Seating is two and two transverse style. Forced ventilation was fitted and the windows were able to be opened. The end wall of the car are flat, matching the toilet end of the control motor car. When coupled into a four-car set the train presents a uniform appearance and appears as a single unit.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The exterior of this car is reasonable. The interior condition indicates the car will need a major overhaul if it is ever to be considered for operational duties. Corrosion appears at the junction of the wall and floor in both toilets. The floor at the non-toilet end is buckled, indicating some frame twisting and needs to be repaired to enable the doors at that end to operate correctly. The floor covering is old and needs replacement. Some minor damage has occurred to the inside and the interior needs a full repaint. Otherwise the car is in reasonable shape.
Archaeological potential – high.
Date condition updated:04 May 04
Modifications and dates: No significant changes to the car.


Historical notes: i. Entered service November 1959 as first class car.
ii. Reclassed as economy class mid 1970’s
iii. Condemned September 1993

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
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 (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Cars of this type were the first attempt by the Railways to provide high speed, frequent and comfortable transport to the near country areas surrounding Sydney. Electric trains replaced the slow and dirty steam trains that previously performed the task.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
With their polished unpainted fluted stainless steel sheathing, standard NSW Railways tapered shape at the driver’s end and large headlamp mounted above the centre inter-car connection door, these cars presented a very pleasing appearance to the passenger and rail enthusiast alike.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
Use of these cars in the near country regions accelerated growth of these areas. They have now become dormitory areas of Sydney, providing both cheaper land for sale and to some a better lifestyle.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The construction of these carriages marked another step in the development of alternative materials for carriage construction. Previous steel cars had been riveted or welded using conventional techniques. The welding of these cars was of the Spot type, developed by E. Budd in the USA. This method of construction was to have a great impact on future development of rolling stock design and construction in NSW.
SHR Criteria f)
This car is one of three still in tact and capable of being operated in a four- or six- car set.
SHR Criteria g)
This carriage is still in very much original condition and demonstrates 1950’s taste and style
Integrity/Intactness: This carriage has all the characteristics that make it a good example of mid 20th century design and construction.
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.

Recommended management:

This car is significant in terms of rolling stock development and should be preserved. When coupled to a matching trailer and control motor cars, the effect of the stainless steel appearance becomes more dramatic, as it presents a uniform appearance along the train. This car, like most of its type, was fitted with Beclawat sliding windows for ease of maintenance. As two cars in substantially original condition remain, this item could not be considered a core exhibit. Note some confusion exists about the ownership of this car. One source states that it was purchased by the NSW Rail Transport Museum while the Museum members at Valley Heights claim the car is still owned by State Rail. This point will need to be clarified. (RTM comments, 2001): It is difficult to see why the recommendation re this car is different to those of ETB 2029 and TF 6013, the other two surviving interurban trailer cars. All three are in similar condition, with no apparent reason for selecting some and not another. If it is appropriate to retain one so as to make up an authentic set of 4 or 6 cars, then why not retain 3- so a 6-car set is possible? The validity of any recommendation on retention of multiple cars depends on assessment of the whole collection, the genuine need to have fully operational sets of cars, and determination of what constitutes an authentic set. Individually, only one of this type of car could be argued to be of state significance.


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

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenKeenan & Clarke1963First Stop Central
WrittenNSW R Mechanical Branch Monthly Reports
GraphicState Rail Authority Steel Control Car

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

(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: 4820390

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