On the 8th of December 1899, Sydney city’s first electric tramway opened between Circular Quay, the Railway and Pyrmont via George St and Harris St, terminating at John St, Pyrmont. From these small beginnings, the Sydney tramways quickly expanded to become the largest system in Australasia and one of the largest electric tramways in the world.
120 years later, the Sydney Tramway Museum commemorated the anniversary of this opening by operating its collection of Victorian and Edwardian era Sydney trams. These trams were C 290 (built 1896), C 29 (built 1898), F 393 (built 1902), and N 728 (built 1906). All these classes of tram were commonly used in the first few years of tramway operations along George St, some of which saw continued use until the early 50’s.
Also on display during the event, was Sydney Steam Tram Motor 1A, on loan to us from the Powerhouse Museum. Whilst steam trams never ran down George St, they were commonly seen operating alongside electric trams on the main Sydney system until around 1910. As such, Motor 1A was taken out of the Display Hall and placed in Cross St for public viewing; recreating for the very first time at Loftus, an authentic Edwardian period scene when steam and electric trams were last together in Sydney.
As was the case with the Vintage Tramway Festival back in February, Channel 7 News ran a story about the museum, tying it into the upcoming opening of the CBD & South East Light Rail line out to Randwick and Kingsford. The first stage of the line from Circular Quay to Randwick, is expected to open on the 14th December 2019; a whole 120 years and one week since the opening of the original George St tramway.