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|Sydney tramway network|
|Trams on George Street, 1920.|
|Locale||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
The Sydney tramway network once served Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales, Australia. In its heyday, it was the largest in Australia, the second largest in the Commonwealth of Nations (after London), and one of the largest in the world. It was extremely intensively worked, with about 1,600 cars in service at any one time at its peak during the 1930s (cf. about 500 trams in Melbourne today).
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, an average of more than one tram journey per day was made in Sydney by every man and woman, infant and child in the city. Patronage peaked in 1945 at 405 million passenger journeys. The system was in place from 1879 until its winding down in the 1950s and closure in 1961 (a single horse-car line operated from 1861 to 1866). It had a maximum street mileage of 181 miles (291 km), in 1923.
Sydney's first tram was horse-drawn, running from the old Sydney Railway station to Circular Quay along Pitt Street. Built in 1861, the design was compromised by the desire to haul railway freight wagons along the line to supply city businesses, in addition to passenger traffic. This resulted in a track that protruded from the road surface and damaged the wheels of wagons trying to cross it. Hard campaigning by competing omnibus owners - as well as a fatal accident involving the leading Australian musician Isaac Nathan in 1864 - led to closure in 1866.
In 1879 a steam tramway was established. Despite several accidents, it was a great success and the system expanded rapidly through the city and inner suburbs. The Steam Motor Trams comprised a Baldwin locomotive hauling one or more double-deck carriages. A preserved Baldwin Steam Motor Tram is at the Powerhouse Museum "Discovery Centre" at Castle Hill, and there is an operational steam motor and trailer set at the Valley Heights Steam Tramway Museum, in the Blue Mountains near Sydney. Another is at MOTAT, Auckland. There were also two cable tram routes, to Ocean Street (Edgecliff) and in North Sydney, later extended to Crows Nest, because of the steep terrain involved.
Additionally, horse trams operated between Newtown and St Peters railway stations in the 1890s and between Manly and North Manly from 1903 to 1907. These two instances were replacements of existing steam trams during periods of low patronage.
The Sydney tram power supply system was built using New York subway electrical equipment that was adapted for tram usage. Generating plant was installed at Ultimo and White Bay Power Stations. Electrification started in 1898, and most of the system was converted by 1910- the privately owned Parramatta line built by Charles Edward Jeanneret in 1881  to Redbank Wharf (Duck River) steam tram remained until 1943. Service began with C-class saloon cars, followed by D-class combination cars. In contrast to other cities that started with combination cars and toastracks, then quickly abandoned them for drop-centre and saloon cars, Sydney started by going the other way. Footboard trams continued to be introduced, notably E-class, K-class, and the double-bogie cars O-class and P-class trams required the conductor to collect fares from the footboard of the car, as those trams had no corridor. Revered though those trams were, they were deathtraps for conductors. On average, each day one conductor fell or was knocked off the footboard by passing motor vehicles. The majority suffered a fractured skull. In the three years 1923, 1924, 1925, there were 282, 289, and 233 accidents respectively to conductors on N.S.W. tramways. From 1916 to 1932, there were 4097 accidents to tram employees, and from 1923 to 1931 there were 10,228 accidents to passengers having falls when alighting or boarding. 63 of the falls were fatal. Of the more than 100 falls reported of conductors, one quarter died from their injuries. It was not until the 1930s with the introduction of the R-class that the drop-centre saloon tram, widely used elsewhere in Australia, came to Sydney. Even so, footboard trams continued in wide use until the late 1950s, despite calls as early as 1934 by the tram union for them to be modified.
By the 1920s, the system had reached its maximum extent. In many ways, the Sydney tram system was a victim of its own success. The overcrowded and heaving trams running at a high frequency, in competition with growing private motor car and bus use, created congestion. Competition from the private car, private bus operators and the perception of traffic congestion led to the gradual closure of lines from the late 1930s. Overseas transport experts were called upon to advise the city on its post-war transport issues and recommended closure of the system. Closure was supported by the NRMA, but generally went against public opinion. Nevertheless, closure became Labor government policy and the system was wound down in stages, with withdrawal of the last service, to La Perouse, in 1961, which was driven by Jerry Valek, a Czechoslovakian man from Annandale.
This was an extremely busy service for passengers transferring from suburban trains at Central, particularly prior to the opening of the city underground railway lines in 1926. Trams operated from Central station down Castlereagh Street to Circular Quay and back up Pitt Street in a large anti-clockwise loop. These tracks were also used as the city route for some eastern and southwestern routes during busy periods. The line made use of the sandstone viaduct onto the colonnade at Central station, used by the Inner West Light Rail since 1997, but in the opposite direction.
Circular Quay was the focal terminal point of most services to the eastern suburbs, and allowed easy transfer to ferries. For many years, 27 regular services operated from Circular Quay. A number of full-time services also operated from a secondary terminus at 'Railway' (Railway Square at Central Station).
This line started with a loop at the corner of Erskine and Day Streets near Wynyard Station then proceeded south down Day Street, turning left into King Street. It then proceeded down King Street, crossing four other busy lines (George, Pitt, Castlereagh and Elizabeth Street). It then passed through Queen's Square at St James Station, then swung right into College Street, heading south past St Mary's Cathedral, then turning left into Boomerang Street. The line then swung left into William Street and proceeded down William Street to King's Cross, before heading into Bayswater Road. The line then ran east along Bayswater Road, then into New South Head Road at Rushcutters Bay. The Rushcutters Bay Tram Depot, which served this line, was located at this point, on the north side of the road.
The line then followed the course of New South Head Road through Double Bay, Rose Bay and Vaucluse. A single track then passed through narrow rock cuttings, low cliffs and rugged back-drops, twisting and turning its way down to the terminus at Watsons Bay. The line reached Edgecliff in 1894, and Watsons Bay in 1909. In 1949 the line from Rose Bay to Watsons Bay closed, but reopened in 1950 due to public protest. In 1950, the line down King Street to Erskine Street closed and a new terminus constructed at Queens Square. The remainder of the line closed in 1960. This line had its own depot and city terminus and operated independently, although was connected to the main system. The tram line followed the present-day route of buses 324 and L24.
This line branched off from Park Street and ran north along Haig Avenue, St John Young Crescent and Lincoln Crescent to Brown's Wharf at Woolloomooloo. Through service ran from Circular Quay via Elizabeth and Park Streets. The line opened in stages between 1915 and 1918. The line was an early closure, in 1935, being replaced by a bus service from Pyrmont.
Services operated from either Circular Quay (via Bridge and Elizabeth Streets) or Railway Square (via Elizabeth and Liverpool Streets), to Oxford Street. The line then passed down Oxford Street to Bondi Junction, were it branched off from Bronte services, to run down Bondi Road to Fletcher Street, Campbell Parade and then to the North Bondi tram terminus. A feature of this line was the large 3 track terminus cut into a hillside at North Bondi, which opened in 1946. The line opened in 1884 as a steam tramway to Bondi, then to Bondi Beach in 1894. Electric services commenced in 1902. The line closed in 1960. The tram line followed the current route of bus 380 as far as North Bondi.
Heading south down Elizabeth Street from Circular Quay, the line turned left into Park Street, then wound through East Sydney via a right turn into Yurong Street, a left turn into Stanley Street, a right turn into Bourke Street, then a left turn into Burton Street. According to plans held in the archives of the City of Sydney a spur line existed linking Burton Street to the prisoners entrance on Forbes street at the rear of the Darlinghurst Courthouse. This may have allowed prisoners from Long Bay Gaol or elsewhere to be transported by tram to Darlinghurst Courthouse [East Sydney Technical College, Court and Old Gaol 1 Jan 1933 ~ 1 Jan 1933 Archives of City of Sydney http://tools.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/AI2/Entity.aspx?Path=\Item\4011]. FA feature was the tram only viaduct over Barcom Avenue and Boundary Street in Darlinghurst as the line headed into MacDonald Street. This viaduct is now a road bridge. The line then twisted down Glenmore, Gurner and Hargreave Streets in Paddington, then Moncur and Queen Streets in Woollahra. Here, a connection to Oxford Street allowed access to the Waverley Depot. The line then travelled down Edgecliff and Victoria Roads, then wound along Birriga Road in Bellevue Hill, finally running down Curlewis Street in Bondi to join the Bondi Beach via Bondi Junction line on Campbell Parade, to the North Bondi terminus. The line was double track throughout with numerous points to allow short working. Services operated from Circular Quay via Elizabeth Street and Park Street. The line opened to Bellevue Hill in 1909, and to Bondi Beach in 1914. The line was cut back to Ocean Street, Woollahra in 1955; the remainder closed on 27 June 1959. The line followed approximately the current route of bus 389 between the city and Woollahra and route X84 between Woollahra and Bondi Beach.
This line branched from the North Bondi via Bondi Junction line at Bondi Junction, running down Bronte Road and MacPherson Street to Bronte Beach. A feature of this line was the final approach to Bronte Beach in a rock cutting parallel to the Pacific Ocean. The line opened to Waverley in 1890, then to Bronte in 1911. Electric services started to Waverley in 1902, then Bronte in 1911. Through services ran from Circular Quay or Railway Square. The line was closed in 1960 and replaced by a bus service that follows the current route of bus 378.
This line branched from Anzac Parade at Alison Road, and ran on its own tram reservation beside Centennial Park as far as Darley Road. Here it diverged from services to Coogee, to run north along Darley Road, then turned right into Clovelly Road to run down to its terminus at Clovelly Beach. The line opened from Alison Road to the intersection of Clovelly and Carrington Roads in 1912, then to Clovelly in 1913. Though services ran from Circular Quay and from Railway Square (from 1923). The line closed in 1957. The tram line followed the current route of bus 339.
The line branched from the line to Clovelly at Darley Road in Randwick. It ran down King Street beside the Randwick Tramway Workshops, then ran in its own reservation to Belmore Road. It then ran down Perouse Road, St Pauls Street, Carr Street and Arden Street before terminating in a balloon loop in Dolphin Street, Coogee Beach. It ran through several small tram reservations on its way down from Randwick to the beach. The line from Randwick to Coogee opened in 1883, and electric services were introduced in 1902. The line closed in 1960. It follows the current route of bus 373.
This line branched from Oxford Street at Taylor Square in Darlinghurst to run south along Flinders Street, then into its own tram reservation along the eastern side of Anzac Parade beside Moore Park. It then proceeded down the centre of Anzac Parade through Maroubra Junction, and Malabar to its balloon loop terminus at La Perouse. At Malabar a single line branched off to serve Long Bay Gaol. The line was double track throughout. In 1934 the fourth section of the La Perouse tramline was built to Bunnerong Power Station in Matraville to encourage residential and industrial growth in the area. The line reached La Perouse in stages from 1900 to 1902. It was the final line to close in 1961. The line followed the current route of bus 394.
This line branched off the line to La Perouse at the intersection of Anzac Parade and Maroubra Road, travelling east along Maroubra Road, Cooper Street (now Mons Avenue), French Street and Mons Avenue before terminating in a balloon loop in Marine Parade, Maroubra Bay Beach. The line was double track throughout, and passed though several tram reservations on its descent down to the beach. Direct services operated from Circular Quay and Railway Square. The line opened from Anzac Parade to Maroubra Bay in 1921, and closed in 1961. The line followed the current route of bus 397.
This line branched off Bronte Road at Waverley and travelled south down Albion Street and Frenchmans Road, then via Frances and Cook Streets to join the Coogee line at Belmore Road in Randwick. The line was single track throughout, with a passing loop on Frenchmans Road. Initially services ran from the junction at Albion Street in Wavelery to Randwick only, this was later extended to Coogee in 1907. From 1910, through services operated from Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach, and later additionally from Waverley Depot to Coogee beach. The line opened as a steam tramway in 1887, and was electrified in 1902. It closed in 1954, replaced by the 314 bus.
This line branched from the tramlines in Oxford Street and ran down Crown Street to Cleveland Street in Surry Hills, then south along Baptist Street to Phillip Street, where it swung left into Crescent Street before running south along Dowling Street. It passed the Dowling Street Depot, then tuned left into Todman Avenue where it terminated at West Kensington. Services operated full-time from Circular Quay, and to Railway in peak hours. The line opened in 1881 down Crown Street as far as Cleveland Street as a steam tramway. It was extended to Phillip Street in 1909, Todman Avenue in 1912, and then to its final terminus down Todman Avenue in 1937. The line down Crown Street closed in 1957, the remainder stayed open until 1961 to allow access to the Dowling Street Depot. Sydney Buses routes 301, 302 and 303 generally follow the route down Crown and Baptist Streets as far as Phillip Street.
Route: Services operated from Circular Quay initially via Elizabeth, Chalmers and Redfern Streets (from 1902), then in 1933 via Pitt and Castlereagh Streets, and Eddy Avenue, Lee and Regent Streets, to Botany Street in Waterloo. A single-track connection along Bourke and O'Dea Streets joined at the present day Green Square, allowing access to the Dowling Street Depot. The line then passed down the entire length of Botany Road to Botany. In Mascot, a branch led to the former Ascot Racecourse at the site of Sydney Airport. Points were provided at Bay Street on Botany Road in Botany for short working. The line was double track throughout. From Botany, a single-track line crossed the Botany Goods railway at Beauchamp Road, then passed along Perry Street and Bunnerong Road, past the former Bunnerong Power Station to join the La Perouse line at Yarra Junction. Generally a shuttle service operated on this single track section between Botany and La Perouse. This single-track line was cut back to Military Road in 1935. The line opened in 1882 as a steam tramway to Botany, and electric services commenced in 1903. The line from the junctions at Cleveland Street to Botany closed in 1960. Sydney Buses route 309 generally follows the route.
This line branched from the Botany line at the junction of Henderson and Botany Roads in Alexandria. The line proceeded down Erskineville Oval for short working. The line turned right into the present day Sydney Park Road (then known as an extension of Mitchell Road) before terminating at the junction with the Cook's River line at the Princes Highway near St Peters railway station. Services operated from Circular Quay in a route similar to the Botany line as far as the Henderson Road junction. The line opened in 1902 as a single-track electric line, duplicated in 1910. It was closed in 1959. Sydney Buses route 308 generally follows the route as far as St Peters station.
This short line branched from the Alexandria line tracks at the corner of Henderson and Mitchell Roads in Alexandria and passed along Henderson Road to Park Street in Erskineville, and later to Bridge Street adjacent to Erskineville railway station. Services operated from Circular Quay. The line was an electrified single track throughout. The line opened to Park Street in 1906 and to Bridge Street in 1909. The line was an early closure, in 1933. It was replaced by a private bus service that no longer operates.
This line opened in 1902 initially via Chalmers and Redfern Streets and south along Elizabeth Street to Zetland via Elizabeth Street. In 1924, the line was extended to Epsom Road in Rosebery. In 1948, to facilitate construction of the Eastern Suburbs Railway, a new line was constructed down Elizabeth Street between Devonshire Street and Redfern Street and the route was deviated to run down this new section. The line was electrified double track throughout. The line was closed in 1957.
This line branched from the Botany Road line at Gardners Road, and passed east along Gardners Road to join the lines at Anzac Parade at what was known as Daceyville Junction. It included a large collection of sidings at the former Rosebery Racecourse, now the site of The Lakes Golf Course. The full line opened in 1913, with services from Circular Quay via Waterloo. Some services were extended to Maroubra Beach via the Anzac Pde lines. The line closed in 1957.
The majority of services operated from Fort Macquarie and Circular Quay down George Street to various destinations. In the peak hours and other busy periods, supplementary services operated from Railway Square. The 1920s were seen as a boom period. with up to 200 trams in use on lines to Leichhardt, Drummoyne, Ryde, Abbotsford, Glebe and Balmain on a daily basis. The tram lines to Glebe Point, Balmain (Gladstone Park), Lilyfield, Leichhardt and Haberfield were closed in November 1958.
Trams also serviced Leichhardt via Parramatta Road and Norton Street, turning right onto Perry Street and then onto Balmain Road where it joined Darling Street. The terminus was located adjacent to the Rozelle Primary School. It was possible to change trams and connect with ferry services at the Darling Street Wharf.
The Abbotsford line branched off the Leichhardt line at Marion Street, Leichhardt. The line followed Marion Street, Ramsey Street, Haberfield, and then turned right onto Great North Road, travelling through Five Dock and Abbotsford before terminating near The Terrace and connecting with ferry services at Abbotsford Wharf. The line was closed between Five Dock and Abbotsford in 1954, Haberfield and Five Dock in 1956, and closed to Haberfield in 1958.
The Lilyfield line branched off the Balmain line at Epping Junction (adjacent to Harold Park Raceway and the Rozelle Tram Depot) and then went via reserved track to Taylor Street and then right into Booth Street, Annandale. The tram line turned right into Catherine Street and terminated at the intersection of Abattoir Road and Grove Street, on the bridge over the railway Goods Yard. This was the only tram terminus in Sydney located on a bridge. The Lilyfield line was closed in November 1958.
The first steam tram to service Darling Street was in 1892. Ten years later the service was electrified. A feature of this line was a counterweight dummy system that controlled and assisted trams on a steep single-line section of track near the terminus at Darling Wharf. Due to the very steep incline at the bottom of the street, the trams used a complex 'dummy' counterweight system constructed under the road surface. The trams were assisted up the steep hill by the dummy, and were retarded by the dummy on the way down to safely descend the hill.
Services branched off from the main line on Darling Street, turning left into Rowntree Street, then another left into Cameron Street, before turning right into Grove Street and terminating at Wharf Road, Birchgrove. This route follows the contemporary 441 bus route.
This line travelling from the city branched off onto Glebe Point Road from Parramatta Road, terminating near the corner of Pendrill Street.
From either Railway Square or Circular Quay services ran along Broadway and Parramatta Road. At Forest Lodge the line swung right into Ross Street before entering onto its own reserved track, now known as Minogue Crescent, passing Rozelle Tram Depot. Turning right onto Commercial Road (now City West Link Road) and left onto Victoria Road, the tram then crossed the Iron Cove Bridge and the former Gladesville Bridge before turning right onto Blaxland Road. It then wound its way along Blaxland Road, behind the sight of the current council chambers, terminating near the intersection of Pope and Devlin Street in Ryde.
It was initially a single line, later duplicated from Rozelle to Ryde between 1906 and 1936. The tram terminus was established at the western end of Blaxland Road, located near the current Top Ryde City shopping centre, and extended down Victoria Road through Gladesville, where it eventually terminated at Fort Macquarie (present site of the Sydney Opera House). The entire trip took approximately 61 minutes to complete, and was the single longest route on the Sydney tram network, measuring 10 miles 61 chains (17.3 km) via Pyrmont.
In 1914 a single tram line was added between Ryde Post Office (corner of Church Street and Parkes Street) and West Ryde railway station. The Sydney to Ryde service became very popular, particularly at weekends when Sydney residents would travel to the orchards of the Ryde District to buy produce.
The tram service from Ryde to the city was terminated on 19 January 1949 and replaced by buses.
Services commenced at Railway Square, travelling southwest on Broadway, turning right onto Harris Street, passing the former Darling Harbour Goods Yard. At Pyrmont a separate line branched off from the main line on Harris Street, turning left into Miller Street, turning right into Bank Street, crossing the former Glebe Island Bridge. It then travelled along Commercial Road turning right onto Victoria Road, then right onto Darling Street, terminating at the Darling Street Wharf.
Lines ran along Booth Street, Parramatta Road, Ross Street, St Johns Road, Mt Vernon Street and Catherine Street, as well as Taylor Street. Current bus route 470 follows this tramline.
The Southwestern group of lines branched off Broadway at City Road in Camperdown, and passed along King Street through Newtown. Four lines then proceeded to Cooks River, Dulwich Hill, Canterbury and Earlwood. A short lived line also operated between Canterbury and Summer Hill.
This line ran south-west along City Road from Broadway, then along King Street, Newtown, past Newtown and St Peters railway stations to the Princes Highway. It then proceeded down the Princes Highway to its terminus at the Cooks River. At Tempe, a connection lead to the Tempe Depot, on the corner of Princes Highway and Gannon Street. Past the terminus at the Cooks River, a single line led over the river to the Wolli Creek Perway Yard. The line reached St Peters as a steam tramway in 1891, then to Cooks River in 1900 when electric services commenced. The line closed in 1957, and bus 422 parallels the former line.
This line branched from the line to Cooks River at Newtown, and travelled down Enmore Road through Enmore, then along Victoria Road to Marrickville Road before tuning right along Marrickville Road through Marrickville and Dulwich Hill to New Canterbury Road. At the New Canterbury Road terminus, a tram turning loop was provided, this is currently used as a layover area for buses. Current bus route 426 follows this tramline.
A cross country connection between the Canterbury Line at New Canterbury Road to Petersham and the Western Suburbs lines on Parramatta Road allowed a cross country service to operate between Canterbury and Balmain. From Crystal Street, Fort Street (single line loops), Parramatta Road, this route continued via Norton Street Leichhardt to Balmain Road Rozelle where it crossed Victoria Road, then Darling Street Wharf, East Balmain, to reach the wharf itself with the help of the famous counterweight. It now forms the basis of the 444 and 445 bus routes.
From Circular Quay trams reached Newtown via Catlereagh Street (Pitt Street to the Quay) Broadway, City Road, King Street, then headed south on Enmore Road the tram turned right into Addison Road, before turning right into Livingstone Road and then left onto New Canterbury Road in Petersham. The line then travelled down New Canterbury Road through Dulwich Hill and Hurlstone Park to a terminus adjacent to Canterbury railway station in Broughton Street. The bus route 428 follows the route of this line.
This line branched from the line to Dulwich Hill at Illawarra Road at Marrickville Road. It travelled south-west along Illawarra Road, crossing the Cooks River, followed by a steep ascent up Homer Street to the Earlwood shopping district. The line terminated in Homer Street at the intersection of William Street and Hartill Law Avenue. Current bus route 423 follows the former tram line, although this bus route now extends to Kingsgrove.
A cross country line connected the Cooks River Line and the Dulwich Hill line via Sydenham, operating along Railway Road and Sydenham Road in Sydenham. A cross country service operated between Cooks River and Dulwich Hill.
A short lived single track line operated from the Canterbury Line at Hurlstone Park along Old Canterbury Road and Prospect Road to Summer Hill railway station. Services operated between Canterbury and Summer Hill from 1915 however low patronage and competition from motor buses saw the line close in 1933. The disused track and overhead remained in place until the 1950s.
This line branched from tracks at Regent Street in Chippendale, and passed west along Meagher Street, then south into Abercombie Street. It followed Abercrombie St south across the junction with Cleveland Street through Golden Grove, before swinging south into Golden Grove St then right into Wilson Street. The line then passed under the railway lines at Burren Street, adjacent to the entrance to Macdonaldtown railway station. The line then became a single track loop passing up Burren Street to Erskineville Road, then west along Erskineville Road to Septimus Street, then Albert Street before rejoining the tracks at Burren Street. Services operated from Circular Quay using the Pitt and Castlereagh Streets lines. The line opened as an electric double track tramway in 1909. The line south of Cleveland Street closed in 1940, with the northern section used by other services until its closure in 1958.
The following lines were all isolated from the main system.
This line opened as a private steam tramway in 1885. It was electrified in 1900, and moved into government ownership in 1914. The line connected with the trains at Rockdale station, then passed down Bay Street to Brighton-Le-Sands. The line was single track throughout, with a passing loop at each end. The line closed in 1949 and was replaced by a bus service. A small depot in Rockdale maintained the cars.
This steam tramway opened in 1887  using small railway locomotives and carriages. In 1891 two conventional steam tram motors were built for the line by Henry Vale. Six C1 type trailers replaced the railway carriages around the same period. The tramway operated for 50 years until it was replaced by an electric trolleybus service in 1937. It connected with trains at Kogarah station by way of a large balloon loop through the streets, then passed south down Rocky Point Road to Sans Souci, Sandringham and Dolls Point. Small depots at Sandringham and Kogarah serviced the line. The line was single track at each end with a double-track middle section down Rocky Point Road. Track on the line was laid to railway standards to allow railway trucks to haul goods over the line. Wilson's 1917 map shows the route leaving Kogarah Station (no loop), then Gray Street, across Kogarah Road, and thence by a ROW to Rocky Point Road, entering near Herman Street, thence along Russell Avenue, Clareville Street to the foreshore, then along the foreshore (now Cook Park) to Sans Souci/Rocky Point Road, then north along that road, rejoining the line at Russell Avenue.
This steam tramway opened in 1909 and closed in 1926. It connected with trains at Arncliffe station, and ran down Wollongong Road, then Forest Road through Bexley before terminating at the corner of Forest and Preddys Roads, Bexley. The line was single track, with a passing loop midway. A small car shed at Arncliffe maintained the trams.
This line opened as a steam tramway between Sutherland railway station and Cronulla's Shelley Beach, in 1911. It closed to passengers and was replaced by a bus service in 1931, and closed completely in 1932. It pre-dated the Sutherland to Cronulla branch of the Illawarra line, which took over its role.
A feature of these lines was the underground tram terminus at Wynyard railway station (the only one in Australia), and the tracks over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Trams ran from Blue Street, North Sydney over a now-demolished steel arch bridge over the Harbour Bridge Roadway, then over the eastern side of the harbour bridge (now road lanes), through a tram platform at Milsons Point similar to the existing railway station, and dived underground into platforms 1 and 2 of Wynyard station. These platforms were converted into a car park after the tramway's closure in 1958. Wynyard station's railway platforms are thus numbered 3-6.
The line along Military Road, opened in September, 1893, was the first permanent electric tramway in Sydney and New South Wales.
The first part of the North Sydney tramway system was a double-track cable tramway which started at the original Milsons Point Ferry wharf, located where the north pylon of the Harbour Bridge is now. The line originally extended via Alfred Street (now Alfred Street South), Junction Street (now Pacific Highway), Blue Street and Miller Streets to the winding engine house and depot at Ridge Street. It used cable grip cars called "dummies" and unpowered trailer cars, similar to the large Melbourne cable tramway system but quite different from the surviving lines in San Francisco, where everything is combined in a single vehicle.
The original cable line was extended via Miller and Falcon Streets to Crows Nest, and later the whole line was electrified and extensions were built to various termini around the Lower North Shore.
The history of the North Sydney tramway system can be divided into three periods - the first from the original opening in 1886 to 1909, when the McMahons Point line opened. The second period covers the time until the Wynyard line was opened across the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932, and the third from then until the general closure of the system in 1958.
In the initial years of the North Sydney tramways, services operated from Milsons Point Ferry wharf to....
During this first period, some North Sydney tramway services did not operate to and from Milsons Point. These were:
In September 1909, a new line was opened from McMahons Point to Victoria Cross, North Sydney and a new direct route was opened via what is now the Pacific Highway from Victoria Cross to Crows Nest. The Milsons Point line was deviated at North Sydney via Walker and Mount Streets to avoid congestion at Victoria Cross. The McMahons Point line was opened to relieve the load on the Milsons Point ferry wharf and connecting tramway. Services to Lane Cove and Chatswood were altered to operate to and from McMahons Point via the new direct route to Crows Nest. In conjunction with the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Milsons Point line was diverted to a new terminus in Glen Street in July 1924. Escalators were provided to carry tram passengers to the new ferry wharf below. Otherwise, services operated as during the first period.
In March, 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge with its associated railway and tramway tracks was opened and all of the above services to and from Milsons Point/McMahons Point (except the Georges Heights service, which had closed in 1925) were diverted to operate to and from Wynyard. The Milsons Point and McMahons Point lines were then closed.
From Wynyard services operated to....
All of these lines remained open until the general closure of the North Sydney tramways in June 1958, except for the Northbridge / Suspension Bridge line, and the withdrawal of full-time services from Wynyard to Balmoral and Taronga Zoo as stated above.
Services also operated as follows
NB "Athol Wharf" above refers to the facility now known as "Taronga Zoo Wharf" and now referred to as such on bus maps and signs.
The Manly lines originated on 14 February 1903 with steam motors hauling trailers on a line from Manly to Curl Curl (North Manly). Passenger traffic fell considerably by autumn that year, and services reverted to horse-drawn trams from 20 July 1903. However, following considerable increase in passengers during the next four years, steam trams were returned from 1 October 1907. A line was built to The Spit, and the Manly to Curl Curl line was progressively extended to Brookvale, Collaroy, and Narrabeen. A branch was run to Harbord. Electrification commenced with the construction of the line to The Spit, and was extended throughout the system. The Narrabeen line was also used for carrying freight, for a spur was run to the freight wharf at Manly, and goods sidings were built at Balgowlah in Sydney Road near Wonganella Street; at Brookvale from a line in Alfred Road short of Federal Parade; and at Narrabeen near King Street.  Various track layouts and routes existed in the early days in the vicinity of the Manly terminus, with quite different arrangements existing in 1903, 1911, 1912, and 1914. The routes prior to 1914 used The Corso and North Steyne, but from 1914 were confined to Belgrave Street. The Manly lines closed in 1939. 
The Manly lines, which were administered by the Railways, suffered from maladministration (as in the case of the Castle Hill line), resulting in considerable overcapitalisation of the network, unnecessary re-routing and re-building of the track at Manly terminus. Consequently the system never made a profit. Re-building the terminal at Manly terminus several times, accompanied by costly property resumption, accounted for huge expenditures with little gain. In 1919 planning began to move slightly the balloon loop at Manly, requiring demolition and re-building the Pier Hotel. Rebuilding track in Belgrave street and the terminus was estimated to cost £5,695, while land resumption including demolition of the Pier Hotel was estimated at £40,000 (less £3,500 from sale of land). The hotel was demolished in 1924.
The Department was slow to provide a speedy service. It persisted in scheduling the long-distance trams behind the all-stops (instead of the other way around). It rejected residents' suggestions to schedule the Narrabeen tram first, and to make the first set-down Dee Why or similar place. For nearly a decade from at least 1923, residents had been asking for faster services to Narrabeen. The trip took 49 minutes. A new timetable was introduced from 1 November 1920, giving a trip time of 39 minutes, but it proved unworkable and the timetable reverted to an old one on 4 July 1921, back to 48 minutes. Residents wanted optional stopping and express running to Dee Why from Manly. The Railways ignored those requests, and persisted in running the Narrabeen tram from Manly, behind the all-stops trams to Balgowlah and Harbord. Finally, when the Department moved to schedule Narrabeen trams first, with first set-down at Dee Why from 25 November 1931, it took only 31–33 minutes by tram from Manly to Narrabeen, down from 39 minutes previously, and down from 49 minutes when the service was inaugurated. 
This line commenced at the Spit Bridge (north side) with a balloon loop. From the balloon loop, in a reservation, the line ascended in a ROW beside Sydney Road, Heaton avenue, crossed Ethel Street, still in a ROW alongside Whittle Street, joining Sydney Road there. At Parkview street there was a semi-circular deviation south, out of Sydney Road (to gain height for Spit-bound trams). At Park Avenue a ROW took the tram north, then east alongside Raglan Street, eventually joining Raglan Street at Kangaroo Road. From there, which was a junction for the Narrabeen line, the line turned south, finishing at a large loop at The Esplanade (Manly). The Manly to Spit section opened on 9 January 1911.
This line commenced at Manly (The Esplanade), proceeded north along Belgrave Street, past the turnoff for The Spit, at Raglan Street, then along Pittwater Road. Between Queenscliff and Harbord roads, the line turned into a ROW, crossed Dalley Street, and joined Cavill Street near Lawrence Street. The line turned into Lawrence Street, then proceeded along Albert Street and Moore Road until the terminus at The Esplanade, Freshwater Beach. The single-track branch to Harbord was opened on 21 December 1926.
This line commenced at Manly (The Esplanade), proceeded north along Belgrave Street, past the turnoff at Raglan Street for the Spit, and on to Pittwater Road. It proceeded past the turnoff to Harbord and continued along Pittwater Road, all the way to Narrabeen at a bridge just north of Waterloo Road. This point was exactly 16 miles from Sydney.  The line to Narrabeen opened on 8 December 1913. It was always single track from Brookvale to Narrabeen terminus. . The line was wired with a catenary overhead, so apparently some high-speed running was anticipated—consistent with the light railway legislation for the line. Evidence of the catenary overhead is to be found in photographs in McCarthy's book. 
The Enfield system was a separate group of lines based around a depot in Enfield, in Sydney's inner southwest. The system began as a steam tramway opening in 1891 between Ashfield Station and Enfield. In 1901, this line was extended north to Mortlake, and in 1909 a branch to Cabarita Park was opened. The system was electrified in 1912. Services operated from Ashfield Station along Liverpool Road, Georges River Road, onto a reserved corridor that swung off Georges River Road at a point roughly opposite Windsor Avenue. From this point the corridor ran diagonally towards, then across Burwood Road and onto what is now Tangarra Street East. The reserved corridor ended at Portland Street, at which point the line continued west along the length of Tangarra Street, then north along what is now Coronation Parade (the two parallel streets were originally known as, from east to west, The Boulevarde and Punchbowl Road), back to Liverpool Road heading east through Enfield, and then north along Burwood Road through Burwood. The line then turned into Crane Street, then Majors Bay Road and Brewer Street to Cabarita Junction. The line was double track until this point, then it split into single-track branches to Mortlake via Frederick, Vanhee and Gale Streets and Tenneyson Road, and to Cabarita via Cabarita Road. Short services were turned back at Brighton Avenue, Plymouth Street, Enfield, Burwood Station and Wellbank Street. Services operated every five minutes between Ashfield and Wellbank Street in peak periods, and every 15 minutes (30 minutes at off-peak times) on the two branches.
A depot on Tangarra Street, near Kembla Street and Coronation Parade, served the lines. The lines closed in 1948, and were replaced by buses. Tramway infrastructure was removed throughout the route in 1951. The Tangarra Street depot was used by buses until its closure in 1989. The depot was demolished to make way for housing. A small brick hut used as a waiting room for passengers still stands on the western side of the Coronation Parade reserve near Dean Street. This is one of very few surviving remnants of the line.
The reserved tramway corridor at Croydon Park is now residential property from its eastern limit starting at Georges River Road opposite Windsor Avenue and running diagonally to Burwood Road, and also from Burwood Road to Tangarra Street East (with property boundaries following the route of the corridor). Tangarra Street East, whch did not exist in the days of tram operation, follows the route of the remainder of the corridor to its western limit at the intersection with Portland Street.
A steam tramway opened between Parramatta and Baulkham Hills in 1902, and was extended to Castle Hill in 1910, carrying passengers and produce to and from the area. This tramway departed at Argyle Street in Parramatta and tracked north along Church Street to Northmead, then along Windsor Road and Old Northern Road to Castle Hill. In 1919, the NSW government decided to convert the tramway into a railway to encourage the subdivision of estates for residential use. The railway line was extended to Rogans Hill in 1924. The line proved to be unsuccessful and was closed on 31 January 1932.
In 1905 a general alphabetical classification was introduced to the NSW Government Tramways. Generally the letters A and B were given to steam stock with letters C and higher to electric cars based on seating capacity.
Perhaps the most renowned of the electric trams that operated in Sydney were the O and P class trams, known at the time as the footboard cars, after the surrounding footboard that conductors precariously balanced upon. These were later known as toastrack trams for their crossbench wooden seating layout. They had a seating capacity of 80 and a crush capacity of 150, and it was this capacity that was their selling point for Sydney's crowded system. They were commonly coupled together to run as double trams. 626 O class and 258 P class trams were constructed from 1908, and some remained in service until 1960.
The first modern corridor style trams, the R class, were introduced in 1933. The final order of cars was for the R1 class in the early 1950s. The R class were unable to be coupled together. The R series offered their passengers a more comfortable ride away from the elements, and featured mostly upholstered seating. Some of these cars had not been in service long enough for a major overhaul before their withdrawal in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Upon withdrawal, most cars were stripped of their metal components and bogies, then burnt in an area of the Randwick Tramway Workshops known as 'burning hill'. Some were sold as stripped shells to private users to be used as shelters, storage shed, etc. Some were preserved, mostly at Sydney Tramway Museum at Loftus.
The workshops grew rapidly to become one of Sydney's largest engineering establishments peaking in around the 1920s.
Reduction in Sydney tramway diminished the Tramway Workshops functions and led to its eventual closure in 1960/61.
A map of these and other surviving physical remnants has been created. See "Sydney Tramway Remnants Map" in "External Links" below.
The following Acts of the NSW Parliament applied to tramways. This section will be expanded as more acts are added to the online legislation database of the New South Wales Government. In quoting the long title, the names of streets and roads have been left in the form given in the legislation, but modern forms are used in the notes.
Pitt-street Tramway Act of 1861 No 12a: "An Act for the construction of a Tramroad from the Redfern Railway Terminus to the Semi-Circular Quay. [30th April, 1861.]" - only allowed the use of "horses or other animals of draft".
Pitt-street Tramway Act of 1861 Repeal Act 1866 No 28a: "An Act to repeal the Pitt-street Tramway Act of 1861. [6th December, 1866.]"
Redfern to Hunter-street Tramway Act of 1879 No 14a: "An Act for the construction of a Tramroad from the Redfern Railway Terminus to Hunter-street Sydney. [7th May, 1879.]" Authorised the first line of what was to become one of the largest tramways in the world.
Consolidated Revenue Fund (No 6) Act 1879 No 20a: Allocated 11 000 pounds for the construction the Redfern to Hunter Street line, including rolling stock.
Tramways Extension Act 1880 No 11a: "An Act to authorise the construction and maintenance of Tramways along certain Streets and Highways in the City and Suburbs of Sydney and elsewhere. [28th April, 1880.]" - authorized the first parts of what was to become the Bondi Line, as far as Bondi Junction, a branch via Crown and Cleveland Streets to Anzac Parade, the first part of the Coogee line as far as Randwick, the first part of the Bronte line from Bondi Junction to Charing Cross, the line in George Street from Town Hall to Railway Square, the first part of the Botany line, the first part of the Canterbury line, the Glebe Point line and some other sections that were not built.
Jeanneret's Tramway Act: "An Act to authorize the construction and maintenance of a Tramway along George-street Parramatta, [9th August, 1881.]" Authorized the Parramatta Park - Redbank Wharf private steam tramway, the last steam tramway in Sydney.
Appropriation Act of 1883 No 14a: Granted a gratuity of 300 pounds to the widow and five children of a tram conductor accidentally killed while on duty.
Tramways Declaratory Act 1883 No 18a: "An Act to declare legal the employment of Steam Motors on Tramways constructed worked or maintained in pursuance of the "Tramways Extension Act 1880. [2 June 1883.]" - legalised the use of steam motors on the tramways, such use having been previously declared illegal by the Supreme Court.
Saywell’s Tramway Act of 1884: "An Act to authorize the construction and maintenance of a Tramway from the proposed Bay-street Station on the Illawarra Railway to and along Lady Robinson's Beach. [6th March, 1881]"
Balmain Tramway Act of 1886: "An Act to authorize the Borough of Balmain to contract for the construction and maintenance of Tramways within the said Borough. [30th July, 1886.]"
West Wallsend and Monk-Wearmouth Railway Act of 1886: "An Act to enable the West Wallsend Coal Company (Limited) and the Monk-Wearmouth Colliery Estate Company of Australia (Limited) to construct a Railway from the West Wallsend Coal-fields to the Sydney and Waratah Railway. [27th August, 1880.]"
Saywell's Tramway Act Amendment Act (1887): "An Act to amend "Saywell's Tramway Act of 1884. [28 April 1887.]" Confirmed the existing loop at Rockdale Station and allowed up to two further loops to be built.
Willoughby and Gordon Tramway Act of 1887:"An Act to authorize the construction and maintenance of a Tramway from the terminal point of the Saint Leonards Cable Tramway Saint Leonards to Forest Reserve No. 97 parish of Gordon. [13th July, 1887.]" Authorized a private tramway via Miller Street, Palmer Street and Bellevue Street, Cammeray then through private land and across Long Gully, i,e, what became the Northbridge line. The Schedule to the Act describes the route proposed to take the line from Long Gully to East Willoughby.
Government Railways Act of 1888 No 9a: "An Act to make better provision for the management of the Government Railways and Tramways of New South Wales and for other purposes connected therewith. [17th May, 1888.]" - replaced the Commissioner for Railways (who also controlled tramways) by three Commissioners, and allowed for a separate railway and tramway construction authority.
Public Works Act of 1888 No 11a: "An Act to provide for the constitution of an Authority to investigate and report upon proposals for Public Works and the carrying out thereof when authorized by Parliament, to make better provision for the acquisition of land for carrying out such Works, and for other purposes in connection therewith. [6th June, 1888.]" - established the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works, to consider and report upon all non-military public works the estimated cost of completing which exceeds twenty thousand pounds. If approved by the Committee, an Act of Parliament had to be passed to authorize the work. Works costing up to 20,000 pounds could be approved by the Governor, i.e. effectively by the Minister.
North Shore, Manly, and Pittwater Tramway and Railway Act of 1888: "An Act to authorize the construction of a Tramway from the northern terminus of the North Shore Cable Tramway to the Spit at Middle Harbour, and from the Spit aforesaid to Manly Village, and a Light Rail way thence to Pittwater, Broken Bay. [10th January, 1889.]" - authorized a private tramway from the end of the Milsons Point to Ridge Street cable tramway to Manly, and a light railway from Manly to Pittwater.
Appropriation Act of 1889 No 33a: Allocated funds (777 pounds 16 shillings) for the expenses of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the charge made against Members of Parliament and others in connection with the proposed leasing of the Government Tramways
Willoughby and Gordon Tramway Act Amending Act (1890): "An Act to amend the "Willoughby and Gordon Tramway Act of 1887." [17 September 1890.]" - altered the route of the Northbridge line between Cammeray and the Long Gully Bridge, and authorized its extension to East Willoughby and branches to what was later the Northbridge terminus, to Middle Cove and an extension of the main line from East Willoughby to Castle Cove. The actual routes and terminii are difficult to identify, because most of the roads named in the Schedules to the Act do not exist on modern maps, and may only ever have existed on plans of the various estates.
Loan Act of 1890 No 33a: "An Act to authorize the raising of a Loan for the Public Service of the Colony and for other purposes. [20th December, 1890.]" - Allocated 75 000 to be spent on additional rolling stock and to meet expenses of experiments in connection with electric trams
King to Ocean Street Cable Tramway Act of 1892 No 10a: "An Act to sanction the construction of a Cable Tramway from King-street via William-street, in the City of Sydney, to Ocean-street, in the Borough of Woollahra. [16th March, 1892.]"
Willoughby and Gordon Tramway Acts Amending Act of 1893:: "An Act to amend the "Willoughby and Gordon Tramway Act of 1887," and " Willoughby and Gordon Tramway Act Amending Act." [14 February 1893.]" - increased the amount of private land to be taken from a width of 22 feet to 132 feet, again amended the route approaching the south end of Long Gully Bridge, and amended the route of the main line to East Willoughby.
George-street and Harris-street Electric Tramway Act 1896 No 11a: "An Act to sanction the construction of an Electric Tramway from Circular Quay, in the City of Sydney, to the Redfern Railway Station, and along Harris-street from its intersection with George-street to its intersection with John-street in the said city. [14th September, 1896.]" Authorized the first permanent electric line forming part of the main system.
Loan Act of 1896 No 33a: "An Act to authorise the raising of a Loan for the Public Service of the Colony, and for other purposes. [16th November, 1896.]" - allocated 150,000 pounds for electrification of existing tramways and for electric rolling stock, and 130 500 pounds for construction of the George Street and Pyrmont electric lines.
Loan Act of 1897 No 43: "An Act to authorise the raising of a Loan for the Public Service of the Colony, and for other purposes. [10th December, 1897.]" - allocated 20,000 pounds for additions to workshops and buildings, additions to tramway lines and rolling Stock, and for other purposes.
Public Works Act 1900 No 26: "An Act to consolidate the Acts relating to Public Works." [22 September 1900.] - clarified and consolidated existing legislation.
Electric Tramway (Belmore Park to Fort Macquarie) Act 1900 No 63: "An Act to sanction the construction of an electric tramway from Belmore Park through Castlereagh, Bligh, and Loftus Streets to Fort Macquarie, returning through Pitt-street, and certain works in connection therewith ; and for other purposes." [5 December 1900.]
Sutherland to Cronulla Tramway Act 1908 No 16: "An Act to sanction the construction of a tramway from Sutherland to Cronulla; and for other purposes. [15th December, 1908.]" - authorized the original steam tramway to Cronulla, on a different alignment to the present railway.
Harris-street to Evans-street, Balmain, Electric Tramway Act 1908 No 25: "An Act to sanction the construction of an electric tramway from Harris-street, via Miller-street, Abattoir-road, Glebe Island Bridge, and Weston-street to Evans-street, Balmain; and for other purposes. [21 at December, 1908.]" - authorized the connecting line from Pyrmont to Rozelle, via Glebe Island Bridge.
The Spit to Manly Electric Tramway Act 1908 No 26: "An Act to sanction the construction of an electric tramway from The Spit to Manly ; and for other purposes. [21st December, 1908.]"
Cremorne Tramway Act 1909 No 12: "An Act to sanction the construction of an Electric Tramway from the Military-road, North Sydney, to Cremorne Point; and for other purposes consequent thereon or incidental thereto. [7th December, 1909.]"
Darley-road, Randwick, to Little Coogee Tramway Act 1910 No 32: "An Act to sanction the construction of an Electric Tramway from Darley-road, Randwick, to Little Coogee ; and for other purposes. [28th December, 1910.]" - Authorized what was later known as the Clovelly Line.
Tramways (Carriage of Goods) Act 1911 No 22: "An Act to authorise the carriage of goods upon tramways ; to amend the Government Railways Act, 1901; and for purposes incidental thereto. [21st December, 1911.]" - authorized the carriage of goods on tramways, except on the George Street and Pitt/Castlereagh Streets lines in the City.
Transport Administration Act 1988 No 109 [repealed]: "An Act .... to provide for the administration of public transport in New South Wales; and for other purposes." - allows the Director-General of Transport to develop or operate light rail systems, or facilitate their development or operation by other persons - was the legislative basis for the first part of current line from Central Station to Lilyfield, and provides governing law for that line.
Transport Administration Amendment (Light Rail) Act 1996 No 128: - established the Transport Administration Corporation to set regulations applying to the current line from Central Station to Lilyfield, including extensions.
Transport Administration (General) Regulation 2000 - Reg 14 [repealed]: Declared the route of the extension of the current line from Wentworth Park to Lilyfield.
Transport Administration Amendment (Rail Agencies) Act 2003 No 96: Established the Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation
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