Operation of Sydney style points

Many people ask our conductors what they are doing fishing about in the ground with a metal hook. The standard points used on the old Sydney tramways were changed by the conductor who would use a specially made steel hook about a metre long to ‘hook’ onto a weight under the road and drag it over to the other side. This would cause the blades of the points to change over and enable the tram to proceed in the desired direction.

Sydney tramway points mechanism

This picture is of the mechanism for the new ‘Railway Square’ points that were completed in July 2012. Normally this mechanism is hidden under a heavy timber cover and would only ever be opened for cleaning and maintenance.

The hanging weight holds one or the other end of the bow shaped beam down. This is connected via an arm (hidden some what above the bow and behind the pillow blocks it pivots on) to the rod that connects the two switch blades together. Two black (grease covered) adjusting turn-buckles for this linkage rod can be seen above.

A short video showing how the weight is moved.