It was our biggest tramway festival ever!
There must have been some thousands of people at times within our grounds, some there for a glimpse of what they remember, some to see just what trams were like and to sample their ride and feel.
But for those who were already tram-lovers, or at least devotees of public transport, the main singular attraction had to be the news that a coupled set of trams in the manner seen in Sydney’s peak hours, race days, beach days complete passenger transport would be at least on display. It was confirmed in this website only on the previous day, that the set would actually carry passengers. This was made possible by the Sydney Powerhouse Museum, who hold the only other car of this model in complete working order.
Almost all models of Sydney passenger cars carried passengers over the two days and works cars, such as ballast motors (“truck trams”), tower trams and line scrubber cars also paraded.
Finally, there was a “last tram” re- enactment of the final day fifty years ago, when three modern corridor trams carried tram fans of the day on their farewell journey. Farewell messages were chalked by visitors as was the case in 1961.
Final passengers board the coupled set of trams, the Powerhouse Museum’s car in pre-1933 colours leading the Sydney Tramway Museum’s 1111 car, gleaming in its new livery of post-1933 green and cream.
Our Museum appreciates the faith the Powerhouse Museum has demonstrated in entrusting this valuable car to the skills base which has been nurtured within our Museum. This has enabled one of its prime valued items to be shown to the public in active service. O class 805 ran serveral trips on both days.
Picture by Martin Pinches
The wonderful media attention received is seen as a major factor in the success of the weekend. Local and metropolitan newspapers, plus radio and television provided generous coverage in advance of the day.
Engadine scouts’ sausage sizzle provided lunches to eager tram fans throughout both days, just one of a number of local groups who helped ensure the weekend’s success.
However, due credit must go to many within our own Museum who put great effort, some over many months. A skilled track crew, worked tireless over months every Saturday, including during the weekend heat wave, to complete re-laying of one section in time for the weekend. A skilled heritage timber artisan, with assistants, completed a major repair of the historic Railway Square Waiting Shed – the popular picnic shelter admired by so many. Our modest lawns and gardens bloomed beautifully in reponse to the work of one couple.
And all those trams. Our workshop crew, worked tireslessly to have all the older trams throroughly checked and brought into perfect order. The visiting Powerhouse Museum tram had its bogies and many and a plethora of items thoroughly checked. Receiving a full service, though generally in excellent order despite its 50 year rest, it was returned from being a museum exhibit to a fully functioning tram.
The Traffic Team, which was augmented by many workshop folk, also accredited drivers, worked solidly for the two days ready to undertake any work as needed. They were even assisted by visitors from interstate and NZ tram museums.
Finally, the leader of the Festival team, David Critchley, who spent countless hours contacting so many organisations, our Chairman, Howard Clark, who worked with the PowerHouse Museum executive officers who put in many extra hours to achieve a prize exhibit’s return to real tram tracks carrying the public. In a government museum, such an exchange of an exhibit is never simple.
Hearty thanks, to all our visitors, community helpers, media folk, and our Museum members and friends (including those from the Powerhouse). It was a great commemoration!
Lower picture by Liam Brundle
Revised: 20th September, 2011