National Railway Museum celebrated 50 years in 2013 with some special events. One of those events was the Return of the Red Hens" shuttles running again on the suburban network to Adelaide. Here we see 6 minutes of a 21 minute clip of the Red Hens running back & forth
The Red hen was a diesel rail car, formerly used on the suburban railway system in Adelaide South Adelaide Red hens were the backbone of Adelaide’s metropolitan rail system between 1955 and 1996. They operated on all the South Australian Railways, routes, including several lines which are now closed to local trains (for example Bridgewater, Port Dock, Hendon and Wingfield).
The first Red hens were introduced by the South Australian Railways (SAR) in October 1955 to replace aging suburban steam trains in Adelaide. Construction of Red hen vehicles continued until 1971, when the latest examples were built to supersede 1920s-era diesel rail cars known as Barwell Bulls.
TransAdelaide withdrew the last Red hens from regular service in October 1996, following delivery of a new fleet of 3000-class diesel-electric rail cars. A number of Red hens have been preserved and are now operated by heritage and tourist railways in Australia.
The Red hens comprised two designs:-
• 300-class had a driving cab at one end of each rail car. These needed to run as a minimum of 2-car trains.
• 400-class had driving cabs at both ends, and could be used as a single car when needed, or in multiple with other rail cars to make up longer trains.
In addition, there were a number of unpowered trailer cars, designated 820-class or 860-class. These had been modified from steam-era suburban carriages and were used with the Red hens between 1955 and 1987.
The Red hens were built in three batches. The overall design of the rail cars was very similar, but there were differences in detail between the batches. Several rail cars in the 300 class were re-numbered later in life, taking on the numbers of written-off or modified units.
The exterior of the units was always painted red, with variations in the colour of roofs and bogies over the years. The interior design and layout remained largely unchanged throughout their life. Some 300-class units were modified to provide guard’s accommodation or space for bikes when the 860-class trailers had been withdrawn in 1987. This slightly reduced the seating capacity of these modified cars.
Group photo by Maikha Ly
Video & Editing - C Carpenter for Alco961 Media