tressteleg1 has contributed lots of interesting videos of transport history not only in Australia but around the world. The following video was one focused on the parcel vans including the STM/SPER tour on 22 March 1986. This can all been seen from 4:40 onward. This tour featured 3 preserved historically significant cars and by virtue of being part of this tour, added a little extra to their own history as being part of the last electric working over the Ropes Creek line which has since been mostly lost and developed over. Part of the consist was C3102 the oldest remaining steel power car which was part of the first electric train in 1926, a wooden trailer T4279 and Parcel Van C3653 (then numbered 3773), which was one of the only 3 purpose built bi-directional steel vans by Walsh Island Dockyard and entered service 09 November 1928 as C3903. C3902 entered service on the same day and C3901 a week prior. All the other parcel vans which followed (Bradfield and standard 2 motor red cars) were conversions. C3779 (3659) which was also part of the tour was actually the final conversion of a passenger motor car to a bi-directional parcel van in late 1977.
The following is a link to the PDF SPER Newsletter covering news from 1986 and below a list of notes from it in case the link or file were to disappear which covers details of the tour.
DOC LINK: http://www.sydneytramwaymuseum.com.au/members.old/SPER_News/SPER%20News%201986.pdf
January 1986 (page 4 / 33 of PDF)
Proposed Rail Tour
- Mentions that Friday 21 March 1986 will see last passenger trains operate on St Marys to Ropes Creek branch line
- Mentions rumours of closure of Sandown and Carlingford branch line, the latter due to condition of Parramatta River bridge and former due to proposal by Goodyear to cease manufacturing tyres at their factory near Sandown
- Mentions that Ropes Creek is not a place to be wearing cameras given its location on Defence Department property and the Munitions Filling plant.
- Plans to organise suburban rail tour for Saturday 22 March 1986 to cover Ropes Creek line for the last time
Rail Tour Progress (page 6 / 33 of PDF)
- An application to operate proposed rail tour on 22 March 1986 submitted to the S.R.A. and the train is to have as part of it's consist 2 parcel vans, wooden trailer T4279, a steel trailer and steel power car C3102
- Tour train to depart Central at 12.05pm or 11.49 via Circular Quay travelling to Carlingford, Ropes Creek, Riverstone, East Hills and North Sydney Car sidings, returning to Central at 6.34pm
March 1986 (page 12 / 33 PDF)
- Mentions the train consist designed to recreate as near as possible the mixed parcel van/passenger train which until October 1985 operated on Ropes Creek and Riverstone lines.
- The last regular passenger service on Ropes Creek branch line operated on Friday 21 March 1986 and the tour train was the last electric train to Ropes Creek the following day
- Mentions the overhead power to be turned off after the rail tour trip and wiring to be removed
- Branch will then be cut back to Dunheved and will become a single track siding.
- Mentions that they have to charge a high price to cover the costs of the tour and must have at least 115 full fare paying passengers to break even.
- Mentions the consist to have 2 ordinary parcel vans, wooden trailer T4279, a steel trailer without Beclawat windows and power car C3102 which has been carefully looked after by the S.R.A. and retains the original Chocolate and Cream interior and red exterior with yellow lines.
- Any profits from tour to go towards the STM's new site.
May 1986 (page 19/33 PDF)
Rail Tour Report
- The tour train represented the former electric mixed train P1 which operated early morning runs on Ropes Creek and Riverstone lines.
- Mentions that the additional steel trailer (with original windows) was required to cater for extra passengers.
- Consist was C3102 (lowest numbered power car in service), T4279 (preserved wooden trailer set aside for RTM), T4391 (Standard steel trailer), Parcel Van C3773 and Parcel Van C3779 (the only parcel van with power operated doors).
- Cost of tour, including cost to pay Traffic Inspector to accompany train and staff at Dunheved and Ropes Creek was $1904.00 which was the most expensive tour operated by STM to that date.
- A total profit of just over $600.00 was made by STM from the tourhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMpMIMzzRFI
I posted this in a Ropes Creek thread but appropriate to post it here. Preserved C3653 during it's duties as part of the mixed P1 train back in the day.https://www.flickr.com/photos/133770415@N04/34737296471/https://www.flickr.com/photos/133770415@N04/34868425945/in/photostream/https://www.flickr.com/photos/133770415@N04/25625420735/in/pool-2772838@N24/
Hopefully when the Carlingford line shuts down for conversion to the planned light rail route, F1 may get the chance to run some shuttles on the last day.