In the early 1980s, 14 were sold to SteamAge to operate charther services out of Melbourne. In 1987, these were sold to Australian Vintage Travel and converted to standard gauge for use on the Southern Cross Express luxury train in New South Wales. After this ceased, the carriages were sold to Northern Rivers Railroad for use on its Ritz Rail tourist train on the Murwillumbah line. They were stored at Junee Locomotive Depot before moving to Casino in October 1996.
A few remained in service when Australian National's passenger operations were sold to Great Southern Rail in November 1997. Four were passed to West Coast Railway in 1994. Others were sold to SteamRanger. Today many are owned by Steamrail Victoria.
Some sources list the twenty-three 800, 850 and 860 class carriages as part of this fleet, but those are covered on the suburban trailers page.
During the 1930s, the South Australian Railways were undergoing a massive quality increase under Commissioner Webb. After addressing the serious deficiencies in locomotives and freight rolling stock, Webb turned his attention to the quality of passenger accommodation on longer runs around the state. To address these failings, a new fleet of steel passenger carriages were constructed at Islington Railway Workshops, with the first entering service in 1936.
The first 12 cars were of a similar external design; first class carriages were numbered 500 through 503, and second class carriages 600 to 607, in keeping with Webb's preference for numeric over alphabetic categorisation. All cars were painted green with a cream band along the windows, and black for the undergear and roofs. Bogies were fitted with plain bearings, to accelerate construction and reduce costs. The cars were fitted with folding stairs at the four corners, to provide platform-level and ground-level access.