The NBC classification was used for combined passenger car and guard's vans. Six cars, numbered 1 to 6, were built during 1898-1905 and originally classed NBDBD. The D was previously the letter code for Guard's Vans, but it was changed to C when the double-letter code was dropped in 1910. A final NBC numbered 7 was added to the fleet in 1910.

They were designed to provide accommodation for seven passengers. While it was never official, ladies were steered away from this car as it provided a lavatory for gentlemen, and the passengers were allowed to smoke in the compartment. The lavatory equipment still survives in the compartment behind the two frosted windows. Currently the seat is firmly screwed down to prevent use, for the system simply dropped the deposits on the track-side. Hence the exhortation on a notice in each lavatory
" WC must not be used at platforms".

Sliding doors in each end of the van provided access to adjoining platform-ended NBs. The window at the guard's end of the van was designed for selling tickets at way-side stops. The height of these vans was about 3 inches (750 mm) less than the platform-ended NBs. This leads me to think that the NBCs were the first vehicles built for the Victorian narrow gauge passenger service, and further thought by the designers lead to a slightly increased internal height. Taller passengers are more comfortable under the clearstory roof which runs the full length of the vehicle.

Currently the van 2NBC carries batteries providing power to the luncheon/dinner-train service. Hence 2NBC is usually coupled to a NAL. It also provides storage for the consumables.

Guard's Van, Brake Van or Caboose? There is some confusion about the correct terminology for our guard's vans. Brake vans were provided on trains where the majority of the vehicles did not have air (or vacuum) brakes which were under the driver's control. The brake van was a heavy van with a hand brake that could be operated by the guard when necessary whilst the train was moving.

The NBCs are not brake vans, although they had a hand brake that can be applied whenever necessary, for all the narrow gauge vehicles had driver operated Westinghouse air brakes.

Cabooses provide cooking, lavatory, and sleeping accommodation for travelling crew. Queensland Railways used some cabooses for drovers (and the guard) accompanying stock trains. The term caboose arose in the USA where cabooses provided accommodation for brakemen who applied the hand brakes of otherwise un-braked vehicles on trains without continuous air brakes.

The term van also implies that the vehicle can carry small goods (parcels) and all the guard's vans had provision for such, As there was only one guard to a train we can see that the Victorian narrow gauge railways had guard's vans.

NBC 1 was the first vehicle built for the Narrow Gauge in Victoria. It survived as a garden shed and by fortuitous circumstances was given to us for restoration. This should occur in the next ten years.

The NBCs were built on the standard narrow gauge frame.

Width6 feet 3 inches (1905 mm)
Vehicle Length25 feet 2 inches ( 7671 mm)
Coupled Length27 feet 4 inches (8330 mm)
Width6 feet 3 inches (1905 mm)
Weight10 tons
Capacity7 passengers, 4 tons of goods
Built1898 - 1910
Number Built7
In use NBC 2
To be restoredNBC 1 & 6

This page is maintained by Bill Russell Bill Russell bill.russell@optusnet.com.au.
Created: 16/03/97 Last update: 04/09/2005 URL: a href = http://members.optusnet.au/~narrow.gauge/rsnbc.htm