Sydney Tramway Museum
About the Museum
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:
- Hawthorn Tramway Trust (HTT) No. 13 - 1916-1923. The HTT was a Melbourne council tramway
- M&MTB N-class, late C-class No. 119 - 1923-1946. Car sold to the SECV
- SECV Geelong tramway No. 35 - 1946-1956. The Geelong tramway closed in 1956.
- SECV Bendigo tramway No.1 - 1956-1960. Transferred.
- 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.