V/Line trains and antimacassars

The word for today is ‘antimacassar‘ – a piece of cloth placed on the back of a chair to protect the seat fabric from dirt. A decade ago they were a common sight onboard V/Line trains.

BTN263 looking to the east end

They were fitted to the seats onboard the Sprinter trains.

Sprinter train interior, November 2007 (photo by Jb17kx, via Wikimedia Commons)
Photo by Jb17kx, via Wikimedia Commons

As well as the newest VLocity trains.

Sprinter train interior, April 2006 (photo by Mcbridematt, via Wikimedia Commons)
Photo by Mcbridematt, via Wikimedia Commons

As you might expect, antimacassars on a V/Line train would get dirty quite quickly, as well as being a target for vandalism.

Good thing they came in boxes of 1,000!

2000 count of new headrest covers

But by 2008 they disappeared from VLocity trains used on commuter services.

New style interior onboard VL00: yellow poles and the same fabric as all of the other refurbished V/Line trains

And by April 2009 they had started to disappear from the locomotive hauled carriages used on long distance services.

No more antimacassars, economy section of a N car

The word at the time was that the manufacturer went bust, and V/Line couldn’t find a new supplier.

In the years since nothing has changed – V/Line seats are still bare, the layers of head grease increasing day by day.


V/Line antimacassar supplier was Merino Pty Ltd in Queensland, which entered administration in 2007.

February 25, 2008

A failed punt on recycled paper and a million-dollar-plus water compliance bill helped quicken the collapse of Australia’s oldest tissue manufacturer.

More than 100 staff at Logan City-based Merino were made redundant earlier this month as the bulk of the business and its assets were sold to a Victorian rival for $29.4 million.

Merino, whose brands include SAFE, Bouquets and Earthwise toilet paper, had lost more than $21 million since 2005 before entering voluntary administration last December.

The ‘Headrex’ trademark was lodged back in 1973 under class 24 “covers of all kinds including antimacassar, formed of non-woven fabric or other material”, and last updated in 2008 by Encore Tissue Pty Ltd.

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13 Responses to “V/Line trains and antimacassars”

  1. Albert3801 says:

    NSW Trainlink still uses them on their regional trains. Maybe VLine could use the same supplier.

  2. Martin Bennett says:

    This is bit of pettifogging cost-cutting that will cost more in the long term and result in carriages looking shabby.

    What is more disappointing though, is the pictures of “long-distance” train interiors with 3 + 2 seating and 2 + 2 in first class. Having traveled extensively in Britain on similarly long-distance services, it is immediately noticeable that standard class seating is 2 + 2 and first class is very luxurious with 2 + 1 seating. The 3 + 2 that we see quite a lot in Australia is only on shorter-distance commuter type trains in the UK. Admittedly the width of the carriages is slightly less over there, though nowhere near the width of an extra seat.

    Another point is that journeys are shorter in time even where they are longer in distance. For example, I recently traveled by rail from London Kings Cross to York, just over 300 km., in one hour 50 minutes. Victoria’s ‘Regional Fast Rail’ is not fast at all by world standards. The maximum speed on Victorian RFR routes is 160 km/h, which in a European context would be regarded as non-high-speed routes. It is also worth noting that I had a very good hot breakfast on my way to York, served at my seat. If that were offered on V/Line trains would there even be a table to eat it on?

  3. Daniel says:

    Well there you go. I always wondered what happened to Safe recycled tissues/toilet paper.

  4. Albert3801 says:

    I keep thinking of Anti-Macca’s!

  5. Paul Westctt says:

    I was wondering only the other day what had happened to the V/Line antimacassars. The top of each seat back had a little slot into which a tab on the antimacassars fitted. Do the new-build VLocitys still have that provision?

  6. Martin Bennett says:

    Antimacassars were originally meant to protect seat fabric, or leather, not from dirt but from ‘Macassar’, a hair oil used by gentlemen in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Now, in the 21st century, hair oil is rarely used, but many people have naturally oily hair so antimacassars still have a use.

  7. […] was writing a post about the use of antimacassars onboard V/Line trains, so started researching the Australian supplier of the seat headrest […]

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