M cattle wagons

M 393 at Camperdown. May 1 1978.
Photo courtesy Geoff Winkler

Although the M code was in continuous use for cattle vans since 1861 the "modern" M van described here first appeared in 1897. There were two main variations. M's 319 - 418 were slightly longer (11' wheelbase) than the rest of the class (10' 6" wheelbase) The other variation was that the later M's (780 - 879) had different ends and GYstyle handbrakes. 3 M's had raised roofs for the transport of elephants in circus train. The way the diagonal bracing attached to the body also varied slightly within the class.

CLICK HERE for a 1948 VR article on the transport of stock

Number in Class 879
Number group 1 - 879
Construction period 1952 - end
In service 1897 - end
Where built Newport W.S.
Modeling Steam Era Models make a supurb HO model of the early number group ( 1 - 779)

Veteran Models makes an O scale kit of the gable roof version.

M 3 at Seymour, 1978.
Note how the diagonal bracing extends below the wagon floor.

M 74 at Wodonga. March 1981
Photo courtesy Rob O'Regan

M 86 at Brooklyn. March 1978

ABOVE: M 140 at Tottenham. June 1982 (photo courtesy Rob O'Regan)
BELOW: M 140 at Dandenong. May 6 1978.

Long M's 319 - 418

M 319 at Brooklyn. March 1978.

M 441, built Oct 1909, autocoupled Sept. 1932, off register circa 1978. photo date 1978

ABOVE: A great builders photo of a modern M wagon. M 468 was built Oct. 1909. Apart from auto couplers and buffer removal the wagons went
through their entire lives virtually unchanged. Note the dual waybill clips. The vertical straps on the door later were made from channel section steel.
Official VR photo, Frank Kelly collection

M 639 has carried its last cattle and awaits the scrapper at Newport. Feb 1978.

M 679 at Brooklyn. Aug. 6 1978
Photo courtesy Geoff Winkler

At least 3 M's had raised roofs as shown above, for circus elephant traffic.
M 679 stored at Marong. March 28 1978.

BELOW: 2 views of M 773 at Brooklyn, Aug 6 1978
Photos courtesy Geoff Winkler

This photo shows the height difference between a standard M and the 3 "elephant M's"
It also shows the length difference of the 319 - 418 group and the standard length M.

A circa 1934 view of M 690. Built Dec. 1921, autocoupled 1932
Official VR photo, Frank Kelly collection

Final Design

ABOVE: M 822 at Dandenong. May 6 1978.

M 780 - 879 had different ends from lower numbered M's as shown above and below

BELOW: M 827 at Newport. Feb 1978.

M 869 at Dandenong, April 30 1978

M's had their class and number info applied to a black patch, this wagon has the number directly applied to the wagon red and may have been a "one off"
M 876 at Camperdown. May 1 1978
Photo courtesy Geoff Winkler

BELOW: End view of M 822

The majority of M's had the handbrake arrangement shown above, very late M's had the handbrake arrangement shown below (sometimes called a GY handbrake)

Also of note are the vertical braces. In the above photo the brace curves into the side sill, the later M's (780 - 879) and M's that were built prior to 1897 (up to M 418) that later got steel frames had braces that were straight and an additional gusset was required to attach them to the side sill. Also note the bottom of the diagonal brace extending below the floor level.

ABOVE: M 441 door detail