ⓘ Tait (train)
The Tait trains were a wooden bodied Electric Multiple Unit train that operated on the suburban railway network of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. They were introduced in 1910 by the Victorian Railways as steam locomotive hauled cars, and converted to electric traction from 1919 when the Melbourne electrification project was underway. The trains derived their name from Sir Thomas James Tait, the chairman of commissioners of the Victorian Railways from 1903 to 1910. The first cars were built during 1909 with the last entering service in 1952.
Tait trains were initially referred to as "Sliding Door" trains, as opposed to the Swing Door trains then in service. From the 1950s, they became known as Reds or Red Rattlers, following the introduction of the blue-painted Harris trains.
Tait trains had a partly open saloon layout, with bench seats running across the train, the saloon being divided by partitions into a number of smaller areas. Each seating aisle was provided with its own exterior sliding door.
Incandescent lighting, a ceiling with pressed tin patterns, luggage racks above head height, and beautifully stained woodgrain walls were fitted inside each compartment. Interiors were split into smoking and no-smoking compartments until late 1978 with the abolition of smoking on trains, and carriages were designated as first or second class until 1958 when one class suburban travel was introduced.
The exterior of the trains were of two main styles: the original cars had a clerestory roof, and those built from the late 1920s onward had a simpler arched roof.
From 1971 the interior was simplified to cut maintenance costs, with some doorway windows being replaced by metal and plywood, and the wooden latticed sun blinds being removed. The motor bogies on the trains were originally of pressed steel construction, being changed for a new design in cast steel in the 1930s.
2.1. In service Pre-electrification
The carriages were constructed before electrification, with the intention of later retrofitting of equipment.
The carriages were grouped as the P type, with codes like AC P indicating the passageway connecting most of the compartments, rather than the older carriage style with each compartment isolated from its neighbours. In the 1910 recoding project the P was changed to a normal-size, normal-font letter, i.e. ACP. However, most diagrams show the raised letter with the newer code, perhaps because they were drawn during the construction phase, around the same time as the recoding was being planned out.
All carriages were roughly 62 ft 19 m over buffers, 9 ft 2.7 m tall and 9 ft 6 in 2.90 m across, though there was some variation. All compartments were linked with a through-corridor, though internal sliding doors were placed every three compartments from one end. The carriages were not initially marked for Smoking or Non-Smoking.
2.2. In service AC P, A P, BC P, B P
Initial construction saw 48 AC P cars, 62 A P, 18 BC P and 62 B P carriages built in the period 1910 to 1913. The A P and B P carriages were of identical design with capacity for 92 passengers each across nine compartments, except that the second class B P carriages had lower-quality seating. Similarly, the AC P and BC P cars shared a design in every way other than the seating; these carriages were fitted with eight compartments for 82 passengers, and the ninth compartment was repurposed for a train guard. This last compartment was fitted with a raised cupola for sighting of signals.
From 1915 more carriages were constructed as the electrification project gathered pace and requirements were locked in. Further ACP carriages 49–106, and BCP carriages 19–80 were constructed in 1915–1916. However, these did not have the standard carriage bogies; instead they were fitted with plate-framed bogies intended for later fitting of traction motors. The cars also varied in having a well in the roof designed for later provision of electrical equipment - motors, pantographs etc. This gives a rough indication of when the decision was made to proceed with 1500 VDC overhead wiring for Melbournes electrification, as against earlier proposals for third-rail equipment.
2.3. In service Conversions for electrification
Conversions started in 1917, in preparation for electrification trials and driver training on the Flemington Racecourse line and later the Sandringham line.
Some carriages were stored after conversion, awaiting traffic requirements. It is thought that these vehicles were held until around 1919/1920.
Carriages converted kept their existing codes, but with D, M or T appended indicating Drivers compartment, Motor car with drivers compartment or Trailer. However, in 1921 the system was regarded as too complex, and coding was simplified with all motored and driving carriages becoming second class, and all trailers becoming first class.
The conversion project was completed in 1922.
2.4. In service Driving motors - ACPM, BCPM, M
From 1917 through to 1921, ACP and BCP carriages were withdrawn from steam service in preparation for electrification. The carriages taken for motor conversion had been pre-built with that in mind, having heavier underframes, bogies designed to support traction motors, and a well in the roof to allow a pantograph to be fitted.
Seventeen of the ACP 49–106 range were recoded to ACPM. From 1916 on, a further 26 ACPM cars were built, bringing the fleet to 45. But in 1921, the entire class was recoded M, taking on numbers 201M–284M.
Similarly, 28 of the BCP cars in the range 19–80 were recoded to BCPM, and in 1916 the class grew by 30 units. In the 1921 renumbering, the ex-BC P /BCPM class became 294M-385M.
Additional M cars 285–293 and 386–411 were built new in 1922. Further cars were built from 1925–1926 with curved roofs, taking numbers 412M–441M. 442M and 443M were rebuilt from 18M and 44M, formerly Swing-door motors. These carriages ended up having the thinner Swing-door underframe with the larger Tait body, giving a rather unbalanced look. The carriages entered service in 1936. Following this, 444M through 461M were built in the period 1944–1949, and the last of these entered service in 1951.
In 1968, four motors, 300M, 398M, 244M and 397M were modified to include driving cab at both ends, taking on new numbers 470M–473M. They were mainly used on the Eltham/Hurstbridge and Alamein lines, where even a two-car set could not be justified at off-peak times.
In 1979, the deliveries of the new Hitachi fleet were catching up with the Tait numbering block, so some carriages were renumbered, using numbers that were not in use. That started with the gap 462M–469M and 474M–499M, and later cars took numbers of Tait motor cars previously scrapped. By 1983, deliveries of the Comeng fleet made even that measure insufficient, so the 19x remaining Motors had the prefix "1" added to their numbers: e.g. 383M became 1383M.
2.5. In service Parcel motors CM
In 1921 a decision was made to supplement the mail/newspaper distribution fleet with double-ended motor cars, with the interior organised like a typical bogie guards van of the CE/CW/CV types.
Coaches 1CM and 2CM entered service in 1921, with a capacity of 25 tons each. In 1923 they were joined by a third vehicle, 3CM. This was partially paid for by the Electrical Engineering Branch, with a modification to the design by addition of a centre cupola for viewing of overhead wires. This van was run with the normal fleet, but was made available for overhead wire inspection if and when required. CMs 4 and 5 entered service in 1925 and 1926 respectively, both using the new arch/curved roof style between their two cupolas.
The fleet was used for cash transport and as a staff-only taxi service, for the use of crew members scheduled to start work between 3am and 5am before the regular services started operating.
Extra coaches were built from the mid 1950s using Swing Door carriages.
The parcels coach traffic dried up in 1988 when a railways policy change saw a change to road transport. Correspondence to stations is now delivered on a few select trains per week, noted in advance.
2.6. In service Driving trailers - ACPD, BCPD, D
When planning the initial electrification project, it was expected that some lines could be operated with single-carriage or two-carriage trains instead of requiring a full consist. The single-carriage, double-ended motors were sourced from the Swingdoor fleet. However, some Driving Trailer carriages were sourced from the Tait fleet. While it was initially thought that around twenty of these carriages would be needed for service, only eleven were converted in the early stages of the electrification project.
Six AC P carriages 16–17, 23, 92–93 and 52 and five BC P carriages 2–3, 8–9 and 18 were rewired and recoded with a "D" appended in the first half of 1921. New identities for the ACPD series were 1–2, 8, 10–12, while the BCPD cars kept their old numbers of 2–3, 8–9 and 18.
In 1922 with the class simplification, the last of the three ACPD cars were converted to M motorised carriages 244, 245 and 204 in 1922. These three had previously been heavier-underframe carriages. The remaining eight driving trailers were recoded to D 201–202 and 208 ex ACPD and 211, 204–207 ex BCPD respectively. Further conversions direct from AC P and BC P carriages saw the class rise to eighteen D carriages, numbers 201-218.
In 1940 carriage 244T, originally 44A P, was converted to driving trailer 225D.
2.7. In service "Ringer" Trailers, T
The 48 remaining, lighter-framed AC P and BC P carriages not converted to driving trailers were classed as "ringer" trailer cars, with the guards compartment equipment removed and that slightly larger compartment being made available to passengers. This compartment was identifiable by the lack of the word "GUARD" and a white circle painted on the door; the circle indicated to crew members that the vans were not fitted with the handbrake and emergency brake taps normally found in carriages with the guards raised profile. Because of the larger area available, passengers tended to store prams and luggage in these areas.
The Ringer trailers had formerly been AC P 15, 19–22, 24–48 and BC P 1, 4–7 and 121–133 ex. AC P 1–13. They took the number range 263T to 286T ex AC P 25–48, 349T to 361T ex AC P 1–13, later BC P 121–143, 362T to 367T ex AC P 15, 19–22, 24 and 368T–372T ex BC P 1 and 4–7.
From 1926–27 the first batch of Ringer Trailer to Driving Trailer conversions were made, with trailers 365 and 368–372 converted to 224D, 219D, 220D, 221D, 222D and 223D.
Then from 1965 to 1972 all bar two of the remaining Ringer trailers 349T and 350T were converted to full Driving Trailers and coded randomly into in the range 226D–265D.
2.8. In service Trailers - APT, BPT, T
The plain trailer carriages were converted between 1919 and 1922 for electric traction. This involved removal of the then-standard gas lighting and refitting with electric lighting, as well as through-jumper cable connections for the driving and motor cars expected to operate on each end.
The T fleet comprised the original 124 A P and B P carriages.
The A P fleet was initially relettered to APT, and the B P fleet to BPT. When the classes were simplified in 1921, only 39 APT and 28 BPT cars had been refitted with the required electrical equipment. Further conversions were straight from A P /B P to T. From 1922 on, ex-A P cars had 200 added to their numbers to indicate the Tait/Sliding door fleet; for example 37A P became 37APT then 237T. The ex-B P cars were renumbered into the range 287-348, keeping the sequence i.e. 1B P became 287T and 62B P became 348T.
Additional carriages were built, numbers T380 to T400 in 1922, T401–424 in 1926, and T427–T442 between 1944 and 1952.
As noted above, trailer 244T was converted to driving trailer 225D. This happened in 1940.
288T was temporarily recoded to second class, with a G cars shunting/braking equipment, in 1954.
2.9. In service Experimental Trailer 201BT
As a testbed for the new Harris cars then being developed, the body of incomplete 441T was reworked to a more modern design and released into service in 1950, with three sets of doors per side. The car was coded 201BT, and lasted in service until 1984.
Shipping companies would publish in newspapers their six-monthly planned departures from Port Melbourne ; ships to be met by The Boat Train would have an additional comment that the train was to leave Flinders St Platform 10, about 90 minutes prior to the vessels departure time.
The train ran as required until October 1939, when disappointing patronage and the outbreak of World War II caused the service to be withdrawn. The six carriages were restored to normal service, and continued until the general withdrawal of the Tait fleet.
Photos of the train are noted as PTC collection H 1792 and 1793. A copy of the train is available in Microsoft Train Simulator - link & photo
2.10. In service Overhead Inspection Train
For the purposes of inspection of overhead wiring, carriage 3CM was constructed to a modified design with an overhead compartment for inspectors to watch the way that the overhead wiring reacted to contact with pantographs.
Later, 10CM was constructed with similar modifications from the normal design.
Inspection trains would often run with two randomly selected motor carriages, one either side of the inspection car which would have its own pantographs locked down.
On 6 October 1980 carriage 447M had a similar fitting added, and it was renamed the Greasing Car. It was painted bright yellow with most windows boarded over, and large black letters declaring "OVERHEAD INSPECTION" were painted on both sides. Internally the car was fitted with a power generator and hydraulic equipment to lubricate the overhead wiring. The car was renumbered 1447M in 1983, and after a graffiti attack around 1995 it was painted all-over yellow.
Sometime in that period, 1447M was coupled with Harris motors 794M and 797M, with transition vans 320 and 329D as 797-320-1447-329-794. The two Harris cars were fitted with rail greasing equipment for tight curves, and the five-piece train made regular runs around the electrified network. While 1447M was in all-over yellow and the two Harris cars in similar livery but with green/yellow Met stickers along the sides, the two D vans were in normal V/Line orange livery; the only alteration was the fitting of screw couplers at one end each to allow coupling to the Tait carriage.
In later years the Greaser train was withdrawn, and now small automatic greasing pots are attached to the rails at tight curves.
General Electric traction equipment was fitted to the trains, of the same type as that in the Swing Door trains and enabling the trains to be operated in mixed sets using multiple-unit train control.
4. Conversions and alterations
Incomplete trailer car 441T was converted to experimental trailer car 201BT in 1950 with double width sliding doors to test design features for the Harris train. Later, a new 441T was constructed.
In 1958 class designation on the suburban network was abolished, with all painted indications of former First- and Second-class ticketing requirements painted over within two days; it took a little while longer to standardise all seating, and until that happened there were stories of passengers rushing to the former first-class trailer cars for the more comfortable seating.
Four motor cars were converted to double ended motors in 1968–1970 and renumbered 470M to 473M. These were mainly used on the Hurstbridge and Alamein routes.
From the mid 1970s the cost of replacing damaged glass windows was becoming prohibitive, and so one in three windows was sheeted over, with plywood on the inside and painted steel on the outside. Some carriages were also fitted with communication doors and/or diaphragms allowing staff and passengers to walk between carriages, particularly on two-carriage trains.
Smoking was abolished in 1978.
447M was converted to an overhead inspection car in 1980.
5. Typical use
As of 1956, 584 Tait carriages were rostered for regular use in conjunction with 218 Swing Door carriages.
76 seven-car sets of Tait cars were assembled as M-T-T-M-G-T-M, for use on the Broadmeadows to Sandringham 20, Williamstown Pier to Dandenong and Frankston 34, Glen Waverley to Fawkner and St Albans 19, Lilydale and Upper Ferntree Gully 1 and Thomastown and Hurstbridge 2 lines.
14x G cars were included in otherwise Swing-Door sets on the Box Hill lines, and a further four on the Thomastown and Hurstbridge group; two driving trailers were allocated to the Newport to Altona shuttle, and one M, two T and one G to the E Trains running towards Stony Point and Healesville.
This roster requires 229 of 261 M, 2 of 25 D and 95 of 103 G, but 230 T cars despite only 227 plus 201BT in service at the time. It is likely that G cars were used as substitutes for T cars, most likely in the E train sets. Alternatively some blocks could have been M-D-M-D, allowing for division of blocks for even shorter trains to save on operating costs late at night or on weekends.
5.1. Typical use Example roster 1981
Roster as at 19.10.1981:
For 7-car sets, the first four typically at the west end are the Block, while the last three typically at the east end are the Unit.
The table totals 228 cars, with an additional 61 spare or undergoing painting, repair or scrapping.
Lowercase w and e indicate whether the cars driving compartment is facing west or east respectively, where applicable.
7-car sets were typically used on the Epping and Hurstbridge lines, with 19 sets required in a typical morning peak hour. On weekends, the four-car blocks were used, with the three-car units stabled to save on operating costs. Anything spare was used on the North Melbourne or occasionally Camberwell group of lines, which at the time did not have a connection to the City Loop, where wooden trains had been banned account fire risk. 6-car sets would be used on the Sandringham route, split offpeak and shared with the St Kilda and Port Melbourne lines, and if a path could be found across the junction, Epping and Hurstbridge. A single 2-car set was used on the Epping-Hurstbridge shuttle weeknights, and on weekends the double-ended Motor car was used, with the driving trailer stabled. Two 2-car sets were used on the Saturday Camberwell-Alamein shuttle, with one pair on Sundays. From 4 October the Altona shuttle was discontinued, so the spare 2-car sets were coupled into a 6-car set and absorbed into that roster.
If being painted, Motors would be at Bendigo and all other types at Ballarat.
Cars renumbered have their previous identities noted.
Other cars not listed in sets:
Off Register / scrapping underway:
- 235D w, 236D w both at Spotswood
- 51G, 66G both at Spotswood, 78G at Newport
- 242M 201M at Newport, 283M, 310M, 329M, 346M, 407M, 412M, 496M 353M, 497M 352M at Spotswood, 400M, 493M 379M * at Jolimont, 487M 328M at Bendigo
- 254T, 427T both at Spotswood, 350T
- 238M, 251M, 260M, 269M 217M, 277M 223M, 289M, 388M, 408M, 452M, 483M 321M, 484M 359M, 489M 386M
- 205T, 224T, 230T, 236T, 251T, 292T, 301T, 302T, 306T, 419T, 423T, 425T, 436T
- 201BT held for preservation
- 15G, 56G, 98G
- 389T, 396T
- 245M wired for 60W globes, 284M, 295M, 364M, 380M, 384M, 417M, 445M 376M, 459M, 465M 313M
- 267M, 268M 216M, 281M 227M, 477M 316M
- 89G, 102G
- 406T, 430T, 442T
The Tait trains were replaced from 1974 by the Hitachi trains sets, and later, the Comeng trains.
From 1981, the last 37 of them began to be replaced by 50 Comeng trains. Tait trains were not allowed in the City Loop after 1982, due to fire hazard presented by their wooden bodies, so they spent most of their final years on the Port Melbourne, St Kilda and Sandringham lines.
The longest-lived carriages of each class lasting to 1984 or 1985 were:
- G: 2, 6, 28, 35, 37, 48 and 51
- T: 203, 298, 346, 382, 383 and 394
- M: 240, 243, 246, 248, 252, 254, 256, 267, 269, 273, 281, 284, 296 and 299
A large number of carriages were burned for scrap at Kingston. However, the large number of complaints from local residents ended the practice, and a program of public sales followed.
Due to asbestos found in the brakeblocks, amongst other industrial problems, the last of the 7 Tait trains were withdrawn from service by 27 December 1984.
On Friday 15 February 1985, the "great carriage auction" was held at Newport Workshops with large quantities of vehicle bodies sold and proceeds donated to the Australian Railway Historical Societys museum. The first carriage listed sold for $540, and prices rose through the day to as much as $3.000. Pairs of bogies, if required, were an additional $600, and cranes, road haulage etc were around $1.000 each. A total of 49xM, 24xT, 9xG and 2xD vehicles were sold, including a number that had not been transferred from either Jolimont Workshops or the Spotswood Reclamation Depot.
7.1. Preservation Elecrail
Carriages 317M, 381M, 208T and 230D were retained by the then Public Transport Corporation as an operational heritage set, although originally 486M was expected to be restored in lieu of 317M. The heritage set is owned by VicTrack and in the care of Elecrail a division of Steamrail Victoria. Elecrail have also restored 470M to working order, and has 341T under restoration, along with 201BT, 327M, 472M and 2CM stored.
Due to the lack of door locks and other safety issues, the Tait cars had been banned from operating on the Melbourne rail network between 2004 and 2016. Their first run post-ban was on 12 November 2016 between two steam locomotives to provide motive power and air brakes, but with pantographs lowered and no internal lighting provided. The special was organised, from the West end, as D 3 639, 317M, 230D, 208T, 381M and K190, and operated by Steamrail Victoria and V/Line on behalf of the Level Crossing Removal Authoritys festivals at Ormond, McKinnon and Bentleigh stations. Since then they have been used on a number of suburban trips in the same configuration. In April of 2019, Steamrail announced that federal funding had been granted to restore the set to electric service by early 2020. The funding will be used to reinstate the automatic stopping trip system, provide radios and speedometers for the first time, and restore and upgrade the mechanical and electrical components to modern standards as required.
7.2. Preservation Other
Overhead inspection/greaser car 1447M is owned by VicTrack and stored.
The Mornington Railway has 98G operational. Like much of the Mornington Railway stock, the car has been fitted with a thin silver band below the windowline.
Many Tait car bodies were sold privately. Several have been converted to railway-themed restaurants, and many others are on private properties.
8. Model railways
Auscision Models has announced their intention to release plastic injection-moulded models of the Tait carriages sometime in 2019/2020.
The eras listed below take the latest possible start and the earliest possible end for all carriages listed in each set; individual carriages within each package have a much wider period, and/or could be renumbered by the purchaser.
Trainbuilder has released a series of brass Tait carriages. The cars are all fitted with internal lighting, marker lights and headlights, but no interiors.
Brimbank models has a range of 3D-printed Tait carriage components which can be purchased and assembled for standard mechanisms. The carriages are available as complete-body kits, or as a range of parts. Parcels vans are also available. The cost is generally around $100 per carriage plus mechanisms for motor cars, which the purchaser must source separately.
- Tait may refer to: Tait band an American Christian rock band formed by Michael Tait Tait train a type of train that operated in and near Melbourne
- Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland in 1839, the son of John Tait and trained as a baker. In 1863, he married Elizabeth McKie. Tait travelled to Pennsylvania in 1871 and then
- Thoroughbred racehorse owner trainer in Australian Racing Hall of Fame John Tait rugby union born 1973 Canadian rugby player John Tait runner 1888 1971
- Sarah Anne Tait nee Outhwaite 23 January 1983 3 March 2016 was an Australian rower - a national and world champion, three - time Olympian and Olympic - medal
- played the harmonium on Chris De Burgh s album, Spanish Train and Other Stories. Goodhand - Tait has also produced live albums by Magnum, Venom, Climax Blues
- Group Captain James Brian Willie Tait DSO Three Bars, DFC Bar 9 December 1916 31 August 2007 was an officer in the Royal Air Force during and
- medals and a bronze. Trained by her coach Shannon Rollason at the Chandler Sports Complex along with her good friend Jodie Henry, Tait was selected to make
- last of the 60 - year - old Tait trains More were ordered after the failed refurbishment and subsequent withdrawal of the Harris trains In total 570 carriages
- 263 seated. However, the set had about the same seating capacity as a Tait train - 10 seats per compartment, 34 compartments per four - carriage set, with
- fitted to the trains of the same type as that in the Tait trains and enabling the trains to be operated in mixed sets using multiple - unit train control. Six
- suburban train from Sydney built between 1925 and 1960, most notably the pre - war Standard type built between 1925 and 1937 A slang term for a Tait train a
- term for Sydney Trains S sets Tangara Also Known As Sydney Trains T set, a class of electric suburban train in Sydney Tait VIC Former Tait type or Red
- The Tait service would be aimed at tourists visiting Puffing Billy. In November 2016, La Trobe MP Jason Wood committed 1 million to restoring a Tait set
- owner and trainer John Tait 1871 to 1880 Melbourne Cup winners races.com.au. Tasmanian History Horseracing utas.edu.au. John Tait Biography
- train and Tait train EMU s of the 1920s and 1930s, were fitted with R.V.B three chimes, while the Harris train 1950s 60 s Hitachi train 1970s
- David Martin Tait OBE born September 29, 1947 is a Scottish - born commercial airline executive, brand marketing consultant, Washington Post best - selling
- Reeves bass, string bass on A Spaceman Came Travelling Phillip Goodhand - Tait harmonium Chris Laurence string bass Ken Freeman string synthesizer
- The short films were scored by Emily Goodden, Christine Fellows, Jason Tait and Steve Bates additional contributors on the CD included John K. Samson
- Noah Inhofer, Josh Haynes Team Shamrock: Jesse Forbes, Kristian Rothaermel, Tait Fletcher, Mike Nickels Dana White Episode 1: Fresh Meat Original Air Date:
- destinations in the suburban area. The Boat Train was a short - lived experiment that used a set of Tait trains specially painted, on shuttle runs between
- February 1968 Alamein trains ran at 23 minute frequencies during working hours, otherwise every 46 minutes. A one car Tait train took over the service
- February 1973, Tait trailer carriage 202T was destroyed by a fire whilst stabled in No. 1 road. On 9 April 1983, Comeng motor carriage 315M Tait motor carriage
- first generation of electric trains the Swing Door and Tait the stainless steel Hitachi was the first Melbourne suburban train to feature heated carriages
- Thomas Tait the train left Spencer Street Station at 11: 30 pm and arrived at Sunshine at 12: 17 am. Conflicting reports indicate that the train did not
- Tait and Hitachi trains had these. G indicated a trailer carriage fitted with both gas and electric lighting, for use on country services. Only Tait
- country services. Only Tait trains had these. BT indicated a second class trailer carriage. Only Swing - door and Harris trains had these. Prior to the
- for 200 guineas as a yearling. He was owned and trained by Honest John Tait who owned and trained three other Melbourne Cup winners: Glencoe, The Pearl
- bushranger and outlaw Ned Kelly and his gang. It was directed by Charles Tait and shot in and around the city of Melbourne. The silent film ran for more
- The Harris trains were the first steel - bodied Electric Multiple Unit train to operate on the suburban railway network of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- required to change trains at Eltham. Prior to the timetable change, the shuttle service was provided by a double ended motored Tait train and after their
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