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Vintage Tramway (Replacement) Festival 2024

Sunday, February 25, 2024 saw the Sydney Tramway Museum hold its annual 'Vintage Tramway Festival' commemorating the closure of the original Sydney tramway network on the same date in 1961. In recent years, the SBM has become more and more involved in supporting this event, with 2024 no exception.

2186 approaches the bus stop to pick up another load of waiting passengers. Michael Costigan.

While the tram line into the Royal National Park was closed for extensive maintenance, this allowed the Museum to greatly expand our offering to visitors of the festival! Leyland OPD2 2186 of 1948 vintage proved extremely busy fulfilling the role of 'Tramway Replacement Bus' for the second time in its life, operating from the STM entrance on the Old Prince's Highway, up to the Performing Arts Centre in Sutherland, and finally into the Royal National Park where the tramline terminates. A total of 13 trips were operated with a staggering 515 passenger journeys made! An average of 40 people per trip is quite something, and prove that even at a tramway event there is still room for their historical successors. Our congratulations must go to volunteer Driver Joseph, and volunteer Conductors Etienne and Phoebe, who worked tirelessly throughout the day.

It wasn't just the bus which was in operation however, the Museum also supplied its genuine 1959 Holden FC taxi. It provided people short rides to the surrounding areas from Tramway Avenue, and was even able to do door to door service for some locals visiting the event. Being dropped home in an authentic 1950s taxi certainly gives the neighbours something to talk about! In spite of the hot conditions, the reliable Holden proved well giving rides to approximately 100 people on the day.

STM R1 class tram 2001 passes SBM's 1959 Holden FC taxi in Tramway Avenue. M Costigan.

The Museum's pop-up BusShop was also in Tramway Avenue among the displays, again staffed by our volunteers and providing the much needed revenue to keep our historic vehicles accessible to the public. Over $1,000 worth of goods were sold or was received as kind donations throughout the day. If you came buy and made a purchase, or even dropped in just to say hello it was greatly appreciated.

We look forward to joining the Tramway Museum for their event next year, as we strengthen the ongoing relationship between Sydney's heritage transport museums.

Incase you missed our appearance at this event, we will be back in the Sutherland Shire in April for the Shire Heritage Festival. You can find out more on our website here.

Some excellent coverage of the event was also filmed by Museum member Greg Travers, available to watch here on YouTube. You see what to expect form these great museums next year!

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