TAM sleeping cars must be one of the most recognised carriage types used by the NSWGR but there is a lot more to them than most perhaps appreciate. Eveleigh, Meadowbank and Ritchie Bros all made this type of TAM, and each manufacturer had their own little nuances in the finer details.
All TAMs had berth number boards outside of each compartment, where as our old Ritchie Bros TAM has illuminated berth numbers:
Some TAMs, had elaborate curved cedar panels on the bunks, where as our TAM has flat finish panels:
All the TAM’s had berth lights, although there were several different light fitting castings and the location of the switches varied from builder to builder:
Our old girl, L516, was originally constructed by Ritchie Bros and classified as TAM502. It was released to the NSWGR for traffic in the July-August intake of 1937. When new, TAM502 had 10 compartments and could sleep 20 berths:
When it became a works car, it was re-classified to L516, where the L denotes that its a works vehicle and 516 was just simply a number allocated to it. In this part of its life, berths 1-10 were stripped out and that area was made into an amenities and workspace for the crew:
We’ve opted for a lounge setting in the former amenities area:
Carriage classification is a passionate topic for some and so it is important that we are sympathetic to the heritage of the carriage. It’s obviously no longer a TAM, nor an “L” works car, it’s become a composite sleeping and lounge car. The NSWGR actually had composite sleeping cars manufactured and used in service. Coded CAM, these cars combined sitting areas and sleeping areas in a couple of different configurations. Our old TAM has been re-classified to CAM502, and its nice to see that some of the CAM traits have been incorporated into the car including the traditional saloon seating against the wall in the lounge.
This old girl is a long way off from when it was recovered from storage in 2007. Looking at it now, it’s hard to believe we embarked on this ambitious project. However, some years down the track and we have another quality carriage restoration completed and looking forward to seeing people enjoy our labour of our love.
The next step is main line trials. Keep an eye out, as our recently completed CAM502 will be coming very soon to a station near you!