Anniversary of the closure of the Kogarah steam tramway and the opening of the Trolleybus system

On 30th July we celebrated the 80th Anniversary of the closure of the Kogarah steam tramway and the opening of the Trolleybus system.

Trolley bus 19 was cleaned up and came out doors for the day.

But possibly the real star attraction was steam motor 1A, which the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences lent to us for the event. As the trolley bus replaced the steam trams, it was thought that reuniting the two would make the event all the more special.

Opening day of the trolley bus services

It’s been many years since 1A has been seen by the public,  living at the MAAS storage site at Castle Hill. After months of patient negotiation, the MAAS agreed to a 6th-month loan of 1A. There are many conditions attached to this loan that all had to be sorted out prior to the motor being moved.

In parallel, the Rail Safety manager, along with input from many others had to prepare a ‘change notice’ for the rail regulator – as 1A was a ‘new type’ of rolling stock for the museum.

It all came together on the 30th of July when steam motor 1A and Trolleybus 19 were displayed side by side in ‘Cross Street’, while not quite recreating the scene from 80 years ago, was a pretty good try.


Martin Pinches

Three types of vehicle used in the Kogarah/Rockdale region. 154 operated on the Rockdale line for some time.
1A did not have a real fire, the smoke is from a theatrical smoke machine hidden in the smoke box.

Martin Pinches

(Left) Demonstration of how the trolley bus conductor placed the poles. Sydney trolley buses did not have ropes. The long pole lived in a slot in the body under the offside windows. This did mean however the conductor needed plenty of space at the rear to slide the pole out.

Martin Pinches

1A arriving

1A was transported from the MAAS storage facility at Castle Hill to Lofus by Australian Train Movers.

1A almost at it’s new home on the highway outside the museum.
1A ‘touches down’ at Loftus.

Martin Pinches


1A is on loan for static display only. While 1A was restored to ‘operable’ condition about 20 years ago the boiler does not have a certificate and apparently would need minor repairs before it could be steamed anyway. However, the MAAS has no reason to allow 1A to be steamed. Putting a boiler under pressure is quite a lot of stress on an old machine and MAAS priority is conservation, not operation.

Even if the MAAS did consent to 1A being operated, a full set of procedures, training and crew certification’s would have to be developed and approved by the rail regulator – although I expect our friends at Valley Heights could help a lot with this.

Trolley Bus 19 has only been cosmetically restored – while most components are present, they have never been overhauled and connected up. There is also the issue of providing suitable overhead should it’s electrical system be overhauled.