ZL guards vans

ZL 607

3 axle ZL's were built with 4 cupola windows, the 2 centre windows were covered over in the mid 60's as shown here. ZL 607 was built as Z 607 in 1928 and converted to ZL 607 in 1966
Number in Class 490
1979 total 203
Number group 1 - 746
Construction period 1889 - 1951
In service 1960 - early 80's
Where built various
DIAGRAMS
Modeling SEM makes a supurb HO model of the 3 axle type.
Veteran Models make a etched brass and whitemetal O scale kit.
# group features Built
1 - 626 wood frame 3 axle, planked sides 1889 - 1929
627 - 706 (80) steel frame 2 axle, planked sides 1941 - 1945 NP
707 - 746 (40) steel frame 2 axle, smooth sides 1950 - 1951 NP

The ZL classification came about by installing modified couplers to standard Z vans in an effort to reduce harsh slack action

In latter years the guard's union limited the the number of wagons ZL's could be used behind. The limit was reduced by 5 vehicles every year, in 1980 the limit was 45, 4 wheel wagons.

The article below is from the Jan. 1960 VR Newsletter


Photo courtesy Rob O'Regan


ZL 10 at Ararat 1977.


ZL 36 at Dandenong, May 19 1978.


ZL 62 fitted with disc wheels, very unusual for a ZL. 1978
Photo courtey Rob O'Regan


ZL 200 at Woodend. March 1978


ZL 220 was the last ZL to keep its corrugated double roof, Nth Melbourne April 1977
Photo courtesy Peter J. Vincent.


ZL 270 at Nth Melb workshops March 1978


ZL 292 at Jewell, April 22 1978.


By the 70's the vast majority of ZL's had their planked door panels replaced with plain panels as shown above and below.
Also, compare the roof overhang style on these two vans. ZL 321 at Jewell, April 22 1978


ZL 336 at Bendigo. March 28 1978.


ZL 352. April 24 1978.


ZL 354 at Bendigo. March 28 1978.


ZL 364 at Newmarket. April 15 1978.


ZL 375 was stencilled for "Way & Works overhead van" of particular interest is that the centre windows were not blanked over.
Very few ZL's had all cupola windows intact by the late 70's. Arden St, 1978


ABOVE & BELOW: ZL 403 at Nth Melbourne workshops 1978.


ZL 404 at Nth Melbourne workshops, 1979


ZL 418 at Nth Melbourne workshops, 1979


ZL 419 at Ararat, Jan 7 1971
Note the split axleboxes and much higher running board than the running board location on one
piece axlebox equipped vans.
Photo courtesy Tony Smith


ZL 439 at Castlemaine. March 28 1978.


ZL 443 at Jolimont workshops, April 1977
Photo courtesy Peter J. Vincent


ZL 443 at Nth Melb workshops March 1978


ZL 448 at Westall, July 1 1978.


ZL 451 at Castlemaine. March 23 1978.


ZL 482 at Nth Melb. workshops 1978


ZL 488 at Dandenong, March 1978.


ZL 491 at Nth Melbourne workshops, 1978


ZL 518 at Nth Melb workshops 1978.


ZL 525 at Dandenong, April 22 1978


ZL 569 at Nth Melb workshops, Nov. 1979


ZL 583 at Jolimont June 1982
Photo courtesy Rob O'Regan


ZL 596 at Nth Geelong April 24 1978.


ZL 601 at Dandenong, April 22 1978


ZL 607 at Port Melbourne. April 1 1978.


ZL 624 at Bendigo, after withdrawl from service, Oct. 1 1985.
Note the wire grills over the cupola windows, these were added from about 1980 onwards
Photo courtesy Rob O'Regan


4 Wheel ZL's
627 - 706 were built with 2 axles, planked sides and just 2 cupola windows


ZL 628 at Nth Melbourne, March 1978.


ZL 644 at Port Melbourne, April 1 1978


ABOVE: ZL 669 at Nth Melb workshops, Feb. 1978
BELOW: 31 years later near Daylesford, Aug 2009



ZL 673 at Nth Melb workshops March 1978


A number of ZL's were restricted to local area work in their later days, June 1983, Tottenham
Photos of ZL 673 courtesy Rob O'Reagan


ABOVE: ZL 677 at Woodend, March 1978
BELOW: ZL 677 at Nth Geelong, Feb. 7 1978
Photo courtesy Geoff Winkler


ZL 691showing the dog compartment door blanked over, 1978.


ZL 695 at Bendigo. March 28 1978


ZL 699 at Nth Geelong April 24 1978


ZL 705 at Arden St. Feb. 1978.


Although the group 707 - 746 were built with panel sides as shown in the photo above of ZL 709
Photo at Dandenong Feb 1978

ABOVE (Arden St April 1 1978) and BELOW (Bendigo July 8 1978): ZL 711 showing both sides still retaining its full panelling


ZL 712 at Mildura, 1978.


ZL 714 circa 1978.
Photo courtesy Peter J. Vincent


ZL 721 at Port Melbourne, July 22 1978.

ZL 723, photo at Dandenong April 30 1978, is a good example of the final group in close to "as built" condition. Note the lack of a gusset between the cupola and body and the flat bottomed end windows. This series were built with only 2 windows in the cupola. In latter years some of these "smooth sided" ZL's recieved planked side and/or end panels. ZL 723 was built as Z 723 in 1951 at Newport, it was converted to ZL 723 in 1960.


ZL 725 at Nth Melb workshops March 1978

ZL ZL 725 at Nth Geelong, June 15 1978
Photo courtesy Geoff Winkler


In this photo we see ZL 743 with most panels replaced with planks. Also note the dog compartment door blanked over,
this was common in later years. Nth Geelong April 24 1978.


ZL 745 at Nth Geelong, June 15 1978
Photo courtesy Geoff Winkler



Behind a church at Lockwood South is this ZL, thought to be ZL 283. I took the first two photos in 1978

BELOW: I revisited the van in 2012, 34 years later.
The non cupola end faces north which accounts for the severe sun damage.

page last updated Sat, Nov 7, 2015