Historically, the MHG is one of 200 such vans operated by the NSWGR in the period of the early 1950's to the mid 1980's, when the use of guards vans were withdrawn by the State Rail Authority. For more info on this class of van, see:- http://www.trains.org.au/index.php?Itemid=118
The history of this van in its operating days is largely unknown. Apart from its build date in 1952 and being originally painted black (technically gun metal grey), the only modifications made to this van have been the 'closing in' of the old side guards doors and modifications to allow access to the passenger saloon from the guards area.
At some stage in the 1970's, the van was repainted in the standard Tuscan Terror red colour scheme. It is believed that the vehicle was reclassified in the early 1980's to the modern coding classification of "NVMF".
Without rollingstock record cars to confirm accurately, it is believed the van was withdrawn in the mid 1980's and stored at Parkes, NSW. The van was amongst a large string of freight vehicles, including flat tops, water gins and other MHG brake vans purchased by the ARHS and taken possession in 1999.
The van had no use with the ARHS and was never planned on ever being utilised for any particular purpose - the ARHS had sold similar vans from the batch acquired in 1999 for the use of "static" farm storage sheds.
The current owner made an offer of purchase of the van from the ARHS in 2007, and has since commenced restoring the vehicle. The vehicle was purchased 'as is, where is' where it had been previously heavily vandalised, water damaged, no windows, rust patches etc etc prior to its recovery by the ARHS in 1999.
Restoration has commenced in earnest and the follwing photos provide a very brief snap shot of works undertaken since this process commenced. It is anticipated that this calendar year (2009 - something about the best laid plans of men and mice...) that the vehicle will be mechanically ready for a test trip, although not fitted out.
The works undertaken thus far have involved securing the van, repairing the roof, replacing doors, fitting of windows, rust repairs and the bogie overhaul has also commenced...
Bogies prior to strip down and overhaul
Old internal roof removed for replacement and wall removed for preparation.
New baggage doors fitted.
New doors and prior to roof restoration
Repaired end walls
Bogies stripped down, needle gunned and new horn cheek wear plates fitted
Horn guides pre-needle gunning (not pretty!)
The bogies of a 1000 pieces!
More wall removals for fixing roof and rust correction!
The old guards chair... Not very comfortable.
Where the passengers will sit (eventually)
Rust removal from the end wall.
Some original photos from when the van was first purchased!