Class J Tankers (Classes F and FB before 1900)
This group represents one of the most used code groups in the W.A.G.R. wagon classification system. However, very few of the classes in this group were owned by the W.A.G.R. The W.A.G.R. vehicles are considered first followed by the privately owned tankers.
In 1900 all of the water tankers used by the W.A.G.R. were grouped together as class J. This included some bogie and six-wheeled vehicles as well as the normal four wheelers. The six wheelers came from the GSR. Tanks were rectangular and made of either wood or iron. However, the bogie vehicles had all had their tanks removed by 1902 and were re-converted to class R. The tanks themselves were not scrapped but were used again later. There is another complicating factor. Until the Goldfields' water supply scheme was completed there were several years where standard wagons from classes G and H were temporarily converted to tankers during the summer and then re-converted during the winter. They did not always go back to the same type that they had started out as. As with the Z class brake vans I will adopt an unofficial "type" system to distinguish between the various J class tankers.
The oldest group (type 1) were (I believe) built on 15-0" wooden frames of the original WAGR type and had 1312 gallon rectangular iron tanks. There was then a group (type 2) of wagons with 1312 gallon wooden tanks on a 14'-0" chassis. There was also one odd vehicle (J77) which at some point acquired a 1420 gallon tank with "special joints" (type 3).
There were a number of variations on a theme with the N.Z.R. underframe. The largest group (type 4) had a 1312 gallon wooden tank. This was the type that was frequently built in a hurry on G or H class wagon underframes. A more permanent variation had a 1312 gallon rectangular iron tank (type 5). Another group (type 6) had a 1390 gallon wooden tank on the N.Z R. underframe. From 1910 members of all of the NZR underframe types were given new 1500 gallon cylindrical tanks (type 7). This was a long lasting group. In 1925-6 a small number of NZR underframe wagons acquired 2025 gallon wooden tanks (type 8) whilst in 1926-1930 some NZR underframe wagons were given a rectangular 1630 gallon tank (type 9). The final variation on this underframe was the 1600 gallon tank fitted from 1950(type 10). Frustratingly many underframes in this group carried more than one of the above types of tanks at different periods and this makes life rather difficult.
There were fewer variations on the GC type underframe. Fifty purpose built tankers on the GC underframe (type 11) only lasted from 1911 to 1913 when they were converted to M class wagons. Many of the older tankers were replaced by new 1600 gallon tankers on GC chassis (type 12) built from 1953-5. One of these wagons had a steel GC type underframe (type 13). There was also a single 1650 gallon wagon on GC underframe which had an old P class boiler barrel for the tank (type 14).
From 1968 some of the 1600 gallon tanks from some of the older J class wagons were fitted onto CXA class chassis from sheep wagons to produce a final type of four wheeled water tankers (type 15) used for chromate water for diesel engines.
In 1908/9 eight U class wagons were fitted with the large bogie tanks and reclassified JA. The last of these wagons reverted to class U in 1925.
In 1925 a new class of water tankers was created which took over the JA classification. Eighty-one of these were built on the standard GC type chassis by 1936. A final ten were built on a steel chassis in 1937. These JA's were used as the basis for two other classes. From 1927 some JA's were converted to carry petrol and hired out to oil companies. These wagons became class JP. A further thirteen were altered into bitumen tankers from 1939 and reclassified JX. The other twenty bitumen tankers in class JXA were all conversions of J class wagons in 1958/9.
In about 1928 a group of seven J class tankers were altered to carry residual oil. Four of these became class JW in 1938. The last was written of in 1977 but it was replaced by a new vehicle created from a BE class chassis and a JOA class tank. This JW was finally written off in 1990.
A shortage of water tankers lead to the conversion of K class steel open wagons in 1936 into 3000 gallon tankers as class JK. These were all either re-converted to class K or to class KC and the group was extinct by 1959.
With the introduction of the ADE class railcars there came a need for oil tankers. Two new four-wheeled wagons were built as class JO in 1937. The last was written off in 1976. However the rapid expansion of dieselisation in the 1950's resulted in the need for more fuel tankers and class JOA was created in 1955. These wagons served most of the W.A.G.R's fuel needs until the 1980's. Four of the JOA tanks were used on bogie chassis from QJG class flats to produce class JOB in 1983/4 . Class JOC was the result of fitting JOA tanks to VD and VF chassis in 1984 although these were all written off in 1992/3.
Two old R class tender chassis were converted to JY class water tankers in 1941. One became a JYA class fuel oil tanker in 1961 but both had gone by 1966. A further fuel oil tanker on an old O class tender underframe became class JZ in 1945. It was written off in 1968.
In 1942 a total of twenty-seven JU class wagons were created for the Commonwealth Government on RB class chassis. After the war some passed to C.O.R., CALTEX, VACUUM and SHELL whilst in 1947 five became JJ class tankers for the W.A.G.R. Two more were reclassified to JJ from JU in 1982/3 whilst two more became class JUR in 1987.
Class JI was created by the conversion of old tender frames in 1944-9 with various capacity water tanks. They are all believed to have been written off by the mid-1950's but one wagon was still nominally in traffic in 1986.
Class JG was a group of eight ex RAAF 5000 gallon drinking water tankers fitted onto new bogie chassis in 1948. They were all withdrawn by 1959 and some of the chassis used for class QJG platform wagons.
Fifty GC class wagons were fitted with two square water tanks in 1951 and reclassified JAC. The last of these wagons was written off in 1961.
In 1962 a single GS class open wagon was fitted with two hot oil tanks and reclassified JGS. It was replaced by a similar wagon converted from a KA class open wagon in 1973. This lasted until 1982. A further GS was fitted in 1964 with a 965 gallon hydrochloric acid tank and reclassified JGH. It was replaced by a similar wagon in 1972, which was finally withdrawn in 1982.
The M.R.W.A. had a number of four wheeled water tankers in their classes G and GR but despite the fact that some lasted until 1965 none were taken into W.A.G.R. stock.
Class JK was used again in 1971 for a batch of Caustic soda tankers. This class has continued to expand and by 1991 a total of 29 were in traffic.
Class JS was used for a second time in 1986/7 for the results of the conversion of sheep wagon chassis to carry sand and water tanks from written off MS and J class wagon
Four V class tenders were converted to tankers for the weed-killing train and reclassified JVW in 1972. These were written off in 1986.
Privately owned tankers
Bulk distribution of fuels began in April 1927 when the British Imperial Oil Co (SHELL from July 1927) opened its North Fremantle depot. Country depots at Bunbury, Bruce Rock, Goomalling, Kalgoorlie, kellerberrin, Narrogin, Northam, Wylkatchem, and York opened in May. By the end of 1927 there were also depots at Bridgetown, Ballidu, Corrigin, Katanning, Merredin and Quairading. More opened later including Geraldton and Albany. The twelve vehicles of class JD were the first bogie petroleum tankers built to operate on the W.A.G.R. when they entered service in 1927 to supply this network of depots. They were written off in the mid-1970's. A group of eight four-wheeled J class tankers was purchased by SHELL from W.A.G.R. in 1928/9. These eventually became class JWA although it is not certain when (probably 1938). The last of these four-wheelers went in 1975. The next tankers for SHELL were built by Hurst Nelson and Co between 1929 and 1931 and entered traffic as class JM. There were twenty-two of these in total. Three went to South Australia during the war but returned in 1946. Two JN class tankers were built by W.A.G.R. for SHELL in 1936 one of these eventually becoming class JNR.
The twenty JDA class tankers were built for SHELL by Hume steel in 1953. Six were transferred to Queensland in the early 1970's. The next class of SHELL tankers comprised the ten class JH vehicles built in 1934-6. In 1937 two more were built for Triton Gold mines with another vie for Big Bell Gold mines and two for Lake view and Star Gold mine. A final example for SHELL arrived in 1951. Three of the SHELL tankers went to South Australia between 1941 and 1947. The two Triton tankers went to Commonwealth Railways in 1949 and the Gold mines tankers passed to other owners. In 1976 two JH became class JHS whilst in 1987 seven of the remaining JH became class JHR. The two JHA class fuel tankers were built in 1954 by Hume Steel for SHELL.
In 1928-30 Perry engineering built eighteen JB class oil tankers for VACUUM oil (later Mobil). In 1971 the six oldest were written off and then taken over by W.A.G.R. and reclassified JBS. Three further wagons then became class JBB in the mid-1980's. The next VACUUM oil tankers were the seven JC class tankers built in 1936-8. Three of these became class JCA in the 1980's. They were followed by the six JR class wagons built in 1938/9. Up to this point all of the VACUUM tankers had been bogie vehicles but two four wheeled JS class tankers were added in 1939. A further pair was added as class JSA in 1950. The four-wheeled tankers lasted until 1976. In 1949 four JBA class tankers belonging to VACUUM oil were transferred from the S.A.R. They returned to South Australia in 1952 but came back to Western Australia in 1966. Fifteen JRA class wagons were built for VACUUM by Hume Steel and Tullochs in 1952/3. Three large JRB class tankers were built for MOBIL in 1968 by Tullochs. A single JZ class tanker was created for Mobil in 1974 using a tank from a JSA and the frame from a bogie van. It only lasted four years. Finally two class JGF tankers were built for Mobil in 1983.
In 1930 two JE class tankers were built for the Texas oil co (later CALTEX). A further pair with slightly different bogies became class JL in 1936-40. In 1952-5 a further 15 tankers were built for CALTEX, this time, classed JEA. Class JEB was a single CALTEX tanker built in 1959.
Class JF covered a group of eighteen tankers built by Hurst, Nelson and Co for Wiluna Gold mines and Lake View and Star GM between 1930 and 1936. These later passed to other owners and two were later reclassified JFS and JFR.
In 1961/2 three JGA class oil tankers were built by Tomlinsons for H. C. Sleigh (trading as Golden Fleece). Four more JGB class tankers followed in 1964/7 with a single JGC class tanker in 1969. Two JGD class tankers were built by Scotts' of Ipswich in 1969 and a final five JGE class tankers were built in 1975. Eventually all of the Golden Fleece tankers passed to CALTEX with the exception of two JGE sold to Mobil.
Eight JIA class 6000 gallon tankers were by Tomlinsons and Hume Steel between 1955 and 1961 for AMPOL. They were followed by six more JIB class tankers in 1961/2. A single ex South Australian tanker became class JIC in 1965 and four more, 8240 gallon, tankers became class JID in 1966.
In 1976 eight JPA class tankers were built. These were transferred to the standard gauge as class WJPA in 1984. One returned to the narrow gauge as class JPAA in 1985. Another group of nine tankers was issued as class JPB and WJPB (standar gauge) in 1981. These all became class JPBA in 1986. Three then reverted to WJPB in 1987-90. Class JPC was the result of the conversion of three WJP class standard gauge tankers in 1986.
In 1938 six JQ class tankers were built for Commonwealth Oil Refineries (later BP). Two more bogie tankers were added as class JT in 1939. Nine class JTA tankers were built for C.O.R. by Hume steel and Hoskins in 1953-5 followed by five JTB class in 1956/7 from Tomlinsons and Hume steel. Three class JTC wagons came from Tomlinsons in 1961 for BP. Two class JTD were added in 1965 but in 1970 one became a standard gauge WJT whilst the other was written off and did not go into standard gauge service until 1988! Two class JTE tankers came from Commonwealth Engineering in 1965 as did a pair of JTF class.
The single class JV was a 2550 gallon sulphuric acid tanker for CSR built in 1945. It was purchased by the W.A.G.R. in 1950 for fuel oil and renumbered. It was written off in 1986.
The first tankers for ESSO were the six JY class vehicles built in 1965-72 by Tomlinsons.