Long before recycling became fashionable … and a necessity … the various state railways around Australia were into recycling in a big way. Of course they weren’t thinking of recycling … they were just making sensible use of equipment that still had some life left in it.
For example when an open wagon was surplus to requirements you could remove the sides and ends and use the frame as the basis for a container wagon.
The need to carry horses may have passed but there was plenty of life left in the underframes of the wagons that had been used for horse transport so why not build passenger carriages on those underframes.
Suburban power cars might have passed their use-by dates but the bogies still had plenty of life in them so why not have Clyde use them under a new class of branchline locos?
And there were times when the reverse applied and the body was fine but the underframe was beyond repair or no longer suitable for a use on a modern railway.
Here are two examples:
At some stage there was a need for a simple storage shed in the yard at Bathurst and somewhere on the system was an old HG guards van that was no longer required and here is the result photographed sometime after 1978.
It may have fairly dilapidated to begin with but after years on the ground in Bathurst it looked even worse.
In Queensland the move away from 4-wheel rolling stock saw a number of wagon classes removed from operation despite being in relatively good condition.
The ALY steel louvered vans were one group of wagons that still had a lot of life left in them and what better use for these steel-bodied vans started finding their way into various railway yards.
I photographed this one in the yard at Mungar on the North Coast mainline a couple of years ago.
While modelling the old HG may be something of a challenge modelling the QR ALY is going to be a little easier thanks to Southern Rail Models who have grounded bodies available with or without graffiti.