NSWGR Railway Carriage Group
During the construction of the first Government Railway System in N.S.W. (Sydney to Parramatta) crude trolleys, some hauled by horses while others by navvies, played a major part in the construction of the railway lines.
As the railways expanded more trolleys and trikes were required for construction and maintenance of the track.
Trikes quads and section cars really came into their own and the uses were numerous. By l96lthe N.S.W. G.R. had hundreds of these vehicles but around this time they were also being in the process of being phased out of use due to the mechanisation of the per way system.
Some of the track vehicles were sold, others junked and burnt but some were saved ,mainly by the efforts of the Bridge Gang staff at Armidale and the Per Way personal at Condobolin. Both these depots have “Trike Museum’s”.
In 1986 Ken McCawley in collaboration with a work colleague came up with an idea for these vehicles to be recognised as part of the 1988 Bi-Centennial Celebrations by propelling a Sheffield Quadricycle along the main line from Perth to Sydney.
They began by getting a few willing enthusiasts to put the project in motion. each person had a certain area to be concentrated on while Ken, Harry Shrubb and crew from the wagon workshop set about collecting parts, manufacturing many that were unavailable, then assembling everything into a four wheeled Pump operated Sheffield Quadricycle.
A small team of men and women set out from Perth on 3/9/1988 and arrived at Central Sydney on 9/10/1988, all well and no mishaps, just having completed the longest manual hand trolley journey in the world.
This journey evoked an interest by the general run of enthusiasts wanting these type of vehicles whether they be manual or motorised and that is the reason to-day why we have so many individual restorations taking place.
Peter Goodman, Jason King, Chris Harrison and Ken have restored many vehicles of varying types which are now scattered throughout N.S.W. Now currently, in conjunction with HETS (Historical Electrical Traction Society) led by Ed Sutton and ably assisted by Peter Neve, were able to catalogue a number of trikes and trolleys in the Eveleigh Car Sidings.
The above group so far have restored a Supervisor’s Inspection Car (SIC) and a Fairmont ST2 Gang Car. They have also restored a Traffic Lamp Trike which is on display at the Rail Heritage Bookshop , complete with operational display lights in the lamps and an operational signal signifying as to whether the Bookshop is opened or closed. This has brought much congratulatory comment from the general public
This group also Started the foundation work on an early Volkswagen Section Car, this was then handed over to Mick Delaymotte to be fully restored to mint condition by Mick and his Rail Corp Apprentice. To keep the Volkswagen in original condition ,several parts were donated by Jason King and Ken McCawley. Mick and his railway apprentices must be congratulated on their restoration of the 1937 Pay Bus which is currently on display on Central Concourse.
Unfortunately with the future closure and dismantling of the Eveleigh Car Sidings there will be no facilities available for volunteers to restore further small track vehicles that are the property of Rail Corp.
These trikes, trolleys and gang cars are very much part of New South Wales and Australia’s rail building history, and many of the people working on restoring them now are the same ones that in earlier years had operated, serviced and formed an attachment to and wants to see them preserved.
Hopefully something can be done so this work can continue.