The "Groper" was the home-built car of the Western Australian Government Railways, with, in most cases, all parts being made by the WAGR at the once extensive and very capable Midland Workshops. Other than a couple of Wickham saloon, two Type Four cars, and a Fairmont ST-2 or two, practically everything else was built by Midland.
They were powered by a WAGR single cylinder two stroke water cooled motor, not much different to an SAR "T" class motor, or, as in the case of this car, a two cylinder "Petters" engine. Flat belt final drive (see below)
My Dad kindly snapped this rather complete car at Boulder on a trip to Kalgoorlie in the far east of WA. There are a few gropers around, but very few that are as complete as this unit. This may be in part because of the work put in by the WAGR in the 1950s to facilitate the development of road-rail equipment, and its subsequent introduction onto that network.
Two cars made it to New Zealand in 1928 as part of trials in that country. Apparently this was a mistake as NZR had ordered two of the WAGR's 4 horsepower "Casey Jones" cars. The two Gropers cost NZ£200 at the time, but were not popular as they were very heavy to move. They were located on the Opanuke Branch of the Wanganui district.
Steamtown, based at Peterborough, even managed to find a groper - AKA "Toby".
The Midland Railway Company of Western Australia had, based on an MRWA drawing, 20 cars within its fleet that are identical to the Groper.
The casting patterns for the original WAGR Groper motor apparently survived the demise of Midland Workshops, and have been preserved!
General layout of the front end - Northam 2014
Original Groper Motor - Bassendean 2014
Section Car Page
Photos © E W Doncaster, page uploaded August 2002 Updated February 15, 2014