This photo was taken a few weeks ago when I joined a group of train buffs on a rare experience to relive a part of Sydney’s past. This is a photo of a vintage train stopped at St James Station on the City Circle line getting ready to depart on a specially arranged shuttles to celebrate 90 years since opening of the first underground railway in Australia.
This set of single deck steel carriages of the suburban trains in operation between the 1920s and the 1990s that were affectionately nicknamed “red rattlers”, do to their colour and the way their windows would “rattle” in their frames. I’m sure the train buffs around can tell us more about the train, but I’m told the restored carriages are great examples of the 883 similar cars that carried passengers around Sydney for over 60 years. One of the carriages is said to have been the first car on the first electric train to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932, albeit after a number of modifications.
The shuttle was organised to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first section of the City Circle opening on the 20th of December 1926. The first section connected Central, Museum and St James stations. This served the purpose of bringing passengers closer to the city centre. Prior to this the line only went as far as Central with many passengers completing the journey on foot or by horse and car.
They were unglamorous, slightly loud, slow, freezing cold in winter, stinking hot in summer and well overdue for an upgrade back in the 90s, but this was a fun morning taking a little trip down memory lane and a great event organised by Sydney Trains and Transport Heritage NSW.
Below are some more shots of inside the red rattler during the trip
Below is some dodgy camerawork but shows a quick spin inside one of the carriages during the shuttle.
This was some more terrible camerawork but the short clip below is of the train arriving at St James Station.
Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.