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Barwell's bull

Barwell's bulls were rail cars introduced on country lines in about the 1920s. The nickname came from the Premier of the day, Mr Barwell & the horn of these railcars was a loud and not very melodious noise, like a bellowing bull. (One is preserved & still operates on the Pichi Richi Railway): Barwell's bulls are used on many branch line services. Compare blue bird, Brill car, red hen. Also, Barwell Bull, Bull.

Contributor's comments: In South Australia, an older (1940's-50's) model of railcar used principally on country lines. Named I understand from a Commissioner of Railways: "He caught the Bull to Tailem Bend."

Contributor's comments: 75 class railcars entered service in the 1920s, and the last were retired in 1971. Two are in preservation society hands.
blue bird

diesel railcars used on country lines, so named because they were painted blue and all had a name of a native bird on them: Are you going to catch a bluebird to Mt Gambier or take the bus? Compare Barwell's bull, Brill car, red hen.

Contributor's comments: Blue bird was also known in Northern South Australia as the Blue bird or bud-car serviced Woomera in my youth 1959-1972. We also had the "tea and sugar train" that travelled the line each fortnight bringing tea, sugar, meat, etc.

Contributor's comments: The Blue bird was a diesel train with blue and silver carriages. Each carriage was named with an Australian bird name. From Adelaide, the Blue bird travelled only to Mount Gambier, and stations in between. It was distinguished from the Melbourne Express and the Budd cars of Northern South Australia by its colour. Until the 1960s country trains going North from Adelaide were usually steam driven. Passengers changed to the Budd car at Port Pirie. The Ghan, which travelled from Port Augusta to Marree, and the Overland, which travelled from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie were both diesel trains at that time.

Contributor's comments: I lived at Riverton in the 1960s, and we had blue bird railcars there. I suspect they were used on all the broad gauge lines - ie south of Port Pirie, Gladstone and Terowie.

Contributor's comments: The Blue Bird sounds like what Victorians called a Rail Motor. In the 90s flash new ones have been introduced and are called Sprinter Trains.
Brill car

A type of Rail Car also nicknamed Barwell's Bulls, introduced by the South Australian Railways in the 1920s. (They were made by the Brill Co in USA I think. This Co made trams & rail cars): Gradually the new Bluebird rail cars took over from Brill cars on country rail services in South Australia. Compare Barwell's bull, blue bird, red hen.
red hen

Red Hens were the rail cars used to operate the Adelaide suburban rail service, as distinct from Blue Birds which operated long distance country services: We caught the red hen to Gawler races. Compare Barwell's bull, blue bird, Brill car.


Contributor's comments: So called because a) they are coloured dull red, and b) the country trains are 'birds' (see 'bluebirds')

Contributor's comments: Red Hens were suburban railcars operating on the Adelaide suburban railways until phased out some years ago & replaced with more modern units. (Blue Birds were the country rail cars operating long distance services): "We caught the Red Hen to Gawler."

Contributor's comments: I have also heard of a Red Hen train that was heavily rebuilt (to make it look like a Jumbo set), which was referred to as a Super Chook. Any further info on this?

Contributor's comments: Yes, they were dull and red and ratlly and old inside. They always ran on the Outer Harbour line (Adelaide CBD - Port Adelaide - North Haven).