Colin Seymour's Sydney Tramway Museum Photos & Information


Sydney Tramway Museum

Here are some photos of the Sydney Tramway Museum taken in my holiday travels in 2001 (Updated December 31, 2001) as well as some earlier photos from late 1995.

The first set of photos were all taken on July 29, 2001.

Thanks to Donald Campbell for supplementary information and showing us around the museum

About the Museum

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Museum Entrance
Click to view full size

This is the largest tram museum in the southern hemisphere and features over 80 tramway and related vehicles from places including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Ballarat, San Francisco, Nagasaki and Berlin.

The museum has a running tramway service; since May 1993, trams have been run over the former railway line south to the Royal National Park. Visitors may take the tram to the park, then walk for 10-15 minutes to a splendid clifftop view over the parklands. The museum has approximately 3.5 km of track, and also runs in the northern direction to a terminus about 800 metres south of Sutherland railway station.

The museum is located at Cnr Rawson Avenue (Old Princes Highway) and Pitt Street, Loftus New South Wales 2232, Australia.

Open Sundays, public holidays, and Wednesdays (the Royal National Park service operates Sundays and Public Holidays.)

To get there via rail, take the Illawarra railway line from Sydney. You may need to change at Sutherland to take the Waterfall train to Loftus Railway Station. The museum is just 75 metres from Loftus station.

For more information visit https://www.sydneytramwaymuseum.com.au/

A fine working tramway museum which I had the pleasure of visiting in 1993, 1995, and 2001.

Police call box

A yellow and black suburban Police call box- its purpose was similar to the old-fashioned "Tardis" Police boxes in England. They were a common feature of Sydney streets up until the late 50's when the system changed from the man on the beat to patrols in cars with two-way radio. The box gave the beat policeman somewhere to shelter when it rained, somewhere to eat his lunch and hang his raincoat, and had a direct telephone connection to HQ, usually a "candlestick" type phone.

Liverpool Street Signal Box

This signal box used to control points and signals at the intersection of Elizabeth St and Liverpool St, Sydney. After the tram routes closed in 1961, the box was transferred to the Sydney Tramway Museum.

Aboard L/P class 154 (1: Passengers)

This was the first electric tram preserved in Australia.

Aboard L/P class 154 (2: Conductor)

The L/P class was Newcastle's only style of tram following its conversion from steam operation.

Aboard L/P class 154 (3: Driver)

Between 1918 and 1930, all L class trams were rebuilt to resemble the P class trams as the L/P class.

R1 class 1971

The R1-class trams were a class of trams operated on the Sydney tram network, and their design was a development of the R class.

R1 class 1971 was built in 1936, and was located for many years at Hartley. Acquired from a fruit stall owner who kept it in a paddock for many years; when he died, his family offered it to the museum. Interior view at the Pacific Highway level crossing.

R1 class 1971

At the National Park end of the tram line.

R1 class 1971

At the National Park end of the tram line (All aboard!).

No. 19 trolleybus

This tram has an indicator shaped like a hand!

Inside prison van No. 948.

Prison van No. 948 was built in Randwick training workshops in 1909, used for transferring inmates between Long Bay Penal Institution and Darlingurst Court House. Retired from service 1950, Restored at Sydney Tramway Museum in 1989.

Brisbane tram No. 295, in the workshops

Built in 1935 by Brisbane City Council. Acquired by Sydney Tramway Museum in 1968.

No. 290, (1896)

This was one of Sydney's first small trams. Built in 1896 by J. Morrison, acquired in 1957, the oldest operational electric tramcar in Australia (runs for special events).

Berlin tram No. 3007, from route number 60, made in 1976.

This was the last tram to travel along the Berlin Wall. Loaned to the Hawthorn Tram Depot (a museum), Melbourne in 2015. Number 3006 is at Crich Tramway Museum.

Tram No. 37, a Ballarat tram (photographed awaiting restoration).

This tram from provincial Victoria completed a programme of "heavy refurbishment" in 2016 and has been declared fit for operation at Loftus.

Before 1923, Melbourne had been served by about 8 tramway companies, usually run by the municipal councils within the council boundary. Some were well run and modern, others had very little money spent on them at all and were shoddy.

In 1923, all these small tramways were amalgamated, with the formation of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramway Board (M&MTB) creating a city-wide system.

Something similar happened with electricity generation, which was usually in the hands of private companies. These generating companies were absorbed in the 1920's to form the state-wide grid know as the State Electricity Commission of Victoria (SECV).

In absorbing these private concerns, the SECV (relectantly) became a tramway operator, as several of the generating companies had developed electric tramway systems, in the cities of Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat. They had developed the tramways to make good use of the power generated during daylight hours (demand for power was usually for lighting at night, and it was too expensive to shut down the power plant during the day and start it up at night, so tramways became a means to keep the generators running).

Ballarat 37 saw service in all of these situations, as follows:

  1. Hawthorn Tramway Trust (HTT) No. 13 - 1916-1923. The HTT was a Melbourne council tramway
  2. M&MTB N-class, late C-class No. 119 - 1923-1946. Car sold to the SECV
  3. SECV Geelong tramway No. 35 - 1946-1956. The Geelong tramway closed in 1956.
  4. SECV Bendigo tramway No.1 - 1956-1960. Transferred.
  5. SECV Ballarat tramway No. 37 - 1960-1972. Ballarat was the last SECV tramway to close, and the car was donated.

This car is the most travelled of all the SECV cars, and it has survived to this day still with the HTT crest sandblasted on the bulkhead doors.

An 'F' class car

F-class trams were a class of two-bogie California combination car trams operated on the Sydney tram network with longitudinal seating in the open part of the car.

Although marked "cBc 71" the 'F' class car's number is not known. Found under advertising hoarding of Brisbane advertising tram. Sufficient paintwork remains to give the museum a good idea of the original livery, colour and style of lettering. The passenger tram came out about 1912 but when withdrawn after World War 2, they were changed into advertising trams.

No. 393, an 'F' class car

This 'F' class car survived in its original state owing to its being preserved in use at a tramway training school for driver training.

In 2019, the museum states that the F 393 is the only F class car remaining - the fate of the "cBc 71" is unknown.

Balmain counterweight, built 1903

This system ran from 1902 to 1955 and prevented runaways into the harbour at Balmain Wharf. The counterweight travelled underground and was linked via a cable loop to the dummy box shown in the picture, to which the tram car was attached. Shown with car No. 393.

No. 1111, an 'O' class car.

This style was the most numerous (over 650 built) in Sydney and the one that is most well remembered. No. 1111 was built in 1912 at Meadowbank, and could seat 80 people.

Rainbow over No. 1111

The 'O' class was nicknamed the “toastrack” because of its equally spaced vertical divisions between the bench seats and lack of a centre aisle. Four compartments in the middle were closed, and four at each end were open, and it had numerous doorways so that passengers could quickly enter and leave.

Earlier photos

These photos are from a visit to Australia in late 1995.

The museum, with operating track to the left.

The museum was opened at its original site on the edge of the Royal National Park by NSW Deputy Premier Pat Hills in 1965. It was relocated to a larger site across the Princes Highway. Mr Gerry Gleeson. Chairman of the NSW Bicentennial Council, officially unveiled a plaque to mark the completion of the Restoration Building on 19 March 1988.

Inside Parklink tram No. 548

The ‘Phoenix’ 548 was built in 1963 by Brisbane City Council Tramway Workshops after a fire in a Paddington tram depot destroyed 65 trams. 8 new trams were built using salvaged and spare parts. The museum operates it in regular service.

A Brisbane combination ("Dropcentre") tram. Length 49 ft., Weight 15.75 tons, four 40hp motors.

This is the only tram in the museum with fluorescent lighting. The Parklink ride takes you to the Royal National Park, where you can (for instance) walk to the spectacular Bungoona lookout.

Nagasaki Bogie Saloon Car

This 1952 tram operated on the Sendai (Eastern Honshu island) tramway (a 3 foot, 6 inch gauge) and ran until 1976, when the system finally closed down. It was then purchased by Nagasaki Electric Tramways (a standard gauge) and converted to the new gauge using bogies from a scrapped interurban tram. Sydney Tramway Museum acquired it in 1993 as a result of an arrangement made by Melbourne enthusiast Greg King with the tram's owners.

This tram was originally numbered 121 and changed to 1054 on transfer to Nagasaki.

Built: Niigata Iron Works
Seats: 28
Capacity: 84
Bogies: Single-motor, equal-wheel, 2 x 51 hp motors.
Length: 37' 5"
Weight: 14 tons

San Fransisco Tram No. 1014

This is a double ended PCC car, which was considered a major advance in tram technology in the 1930s; namely in improved electrical and mechanical systems, being faster and with a more comfortable ride than previous models.

After withdrawal from service in 1982 it was loaned permanently to the Sydney Tramway Museum in 1987 by the San Fransisco Municipal Railway (which also operates three trams of this class, restored in 1993) to mark the bi-centennial (Sydney being San Fransisco's sister city), and No. 1014 commenced running at the Museum in April 1989.

Melbourne W2 Class No. 244

This 1922 tram originally operated in Melbourne; it was acquired by Sydney Tramway Museum (I believe from somewhere other than Melbourne) for restoration and delivery to Christchurch City Tramways (a tourist operation in New Zealand) in December 1995 or January 1996.

Prison Tram No. 948

No. 948, built in 1909, 38ft. 4 inches and weighing 15.25 tons, carried prisoners between Darlinghurst Court House and Long Bay Gaol up to 1950. The construction was very sturdy, although a prisoner Darcy Dugan (1920-1991) once managed to escape via the roof, which had not received the same attention to strengthening.

While being transported from Long Bay Jail to a police station in Darlinghurst on March 4th 1946, one of the other prisoners caused a distraction, while he cut a 25cm-by-30cm hole in the roof, escaping to Sydney’s Centennial Park - he managed to evade arrest for 36 hours.

Sydney R1 Class Bogie Saloon

This tram (No. 1979) is shown collecting passengers for a trip on the museum's running line. The R1 class was an altered version of the R class, and were built between 1935 and 1953, ceasing operation at the closure of the Sydney tramway in 1961.

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