Commonwealth Railways NRC36 / NIA36

NRC36 was the first sleeping carriage to be built by the Commonwealth Railways for the Central Australia Railway. It was constructed at the CR's Port Augusta workshop, and entered service in July 1929.

It was a composite sleeping car, having 5 first-class sleeping compartments, and 3 second-class sleeping compartments. The first-class compartments each had two berths, while the second-class compartments had four. In addition, a conductor's compartment was provided.

NIA36 on Pichi Richi Railway's Afghan Express train service

A distinctive feature of NRC36 (and other Commonwealth Railways carriages of this era) was the external louvres fitted over part of the windows to provide protection from the fierce central Australian heat. Other features of NRC36 were a "turtle-back" roof, the use of Tasmanian Oak for internal cladding, and nickel-plated fittings. The carriage had open end platforms, which were fitted with gates, and provision for walk-through access. NRC36's exterior was brown in colour, with the canvas-covered roof coloured yellow.

In March 1942, NRC36 carried United States General Douglas MacArthur from Alice Springs to Terowie (through Quorn.) Terowie was the break-of-gauge junction between the narrow-gauge line to Alice Springs and the broad-gauge line to Adelaide. Upon disembarking from the narrow-gauge train, he made his famous speech, "I came out of Bataan and I shall return."

In 1966, NRC was substantially altered to convert it to an officers inspection carriage. After this change it was reclassified NIA36. In this conversion the second-class sleeping compartments were replaced with kitchen and dining saloon areas. (The first-class compartments were unaltered.) The first-class end platform was also enclosed to provide a shower. NIA36 also received a new colour scheme - the exterior became maroon with two horizontal silver stripes, and silver roof.

NIA36 was used on Central Australian Railway up until its closure in 1980, and was transferred to the Pichi Richi Railway in 1981. In 1995 PRR purchased NIA36 from Australian National.