General Interest

News for anybody who wishes to keep track of what's happening in our workshop, sheds and around the Grounds at the Tram Museum.

News - May 2015

From Colin Seymour and Kym Smith
‘Bib and Bub’ set
Work has progressed on the ‘Bib and Bub’ set. 14 has now had the recently applied body panels and driving cabin frame given a coat of paint. On the 1st of March 2015, the set was driven out of the body shop for examination of the paintwork in the sun. A run was made down to the town and back.

W7 1013
The air compressor ceased operating on Australia Day. Examination by Mike Crabb, Geoff Moore, Jack Pennack and William Adams eventually determined that one of the brushes had worn down. Contact was made with Tony Smith at the MTPA at Haddon for replacement brushes which were subsequently sent to St Kilda and installed on the 27th of February. A trial trip was made to put the compressor through its paces afterwards and 1013 has now been made available once again for service.

H 365
Repainting of privately owned H car 365 has commenced in earnest with Arnold Krueger, Jack Pennack and William Adams being involved.
Site Maintenance
The ongoing task of maintaining the Museum site continues, with a clean up of the rear of the site resulting in a much tidier appearance. Chris Summers and Rob Lench are also doing a fantastic job of keeping the grass mowed around the public areas and in removing fallen branches and other debris to keep the neat appearance.
Website and Facebook
William Adams and Julie Lench have been working on a new website to replace the now outdated site. Weekly updates have also been made on the Facebook page

Also Please Note That the new Tram Museums web address must be written as follows.





News from February 2015

Track and overhead work:
A total of 101 sleepers were installed along the main line during the 2014 winter and spring, together with around 20 or so ‘rail sleepers’ installed in road 6A and currently on the road 7/8 fan.  Thank you to all members who have supported the track maintenance program.

Following a derailment in early October 2014 straight-railing of the western end of the Mangrove Street Loop was undertaken in a manner where the pointwork could be reinstated if required.

A major task carried out over four days in January 2015 was the removal of the old centre poles at the now disconnected Mangrove Street Loop and the replacement of Pole 4 at the Museum end of the line.  Work on the first day (Thursday 8 January 2015) was severely hampered by inclement weather, resulting in the holes bored for Pole 4 and the new pole at the former loop, and the overhead on loop poles 31N, 34N and 35N being transferred to the new poles.  It had been hoped to have had the new Pole 4 and the new pole at the former loop erected and the centre poles removed, but the lightning and rain curtailed any attempt to complete these works.  It should be noted that a few days before, the weather was extremely hot and there was a major bushfire in the Adelaide Hills!

Friday 9 January was a better day with the weather holding off and allowing works to proceed.  The new Pole 4 and the new pole at the former loop were installed, the two centre poles were removed, old loop poles 31N, 34N and 35N were removed, the contact wire for the loop was retrieved and stored, the bracket arm installed on the new pole at the former loop, a replacement rail was selected and brought to the site for installation at Mangrove Street, and the remains of the old phone wire were removed from the lakeside track!  A massive effort by all involved!

The removal of the two centre poles allowed a much closer inspection of them once they were horizontal, and both are in very poor condition.  While further inspection will occur in due course, it is unlikely that either pole will be easily repairable, and both would likely need to be re-creations if they were ever to be utilised again anywhere in supporting the overhead.

Although the morning of the Saturday was cold and wet, work did progress and resulted in the bracket arm being installed on the new Pole 4, the old Pole 4 being removed, and the hanger being installed on the new pole at Mangrove Street loop.  Attention then returned to the track and the defective rail on the western side of the Mangrove Street crossing was cut, removed and a replacement rail length plated in.

Tram services operated over the entire line to the Playground on the Sunday afternoon thanks to the efforts of the crew who that morning completed the works west of Mangrove Street (the rails bolted together with tie-rods and re-spiked ready for the track to be backfilled).  Later that afternoon old loop poles 31N, 34N and 35N were returned to the Museum and had all reusable fittings removed before being consigned for scrap.

Thanks to Kym Smith, Jack Pennack, Charlie Rodgers, Michael Crabb, Geoff Moore, Mark Jordan, Ron Jenkins, William Adams, Damian Hill and Michael Pretty who participated in the work, as well as thanks to Kym, Graham and Dennis from NED (North East Demolitions) for their work.  Thanks also to those who supported the project with the additional workload such as Julie and Rob Lench for the additional financial work and who ensured the gates were open for early morning arrivals of members, NED and boom lifts.  Thanks also to Bruce Lock and Peter Letheby who attended on the Sunday, and after ensuring they weren’t required on track, kept the work progressing on ‘Bib and Bub’ set 14 and 15.  From where we started on the Thursday morning to return the our tramway to full operating condition was an outstanding effort by all involved in very challenging conditions.

Another recent activity has been the setting up of newly organized pole and rail storage areas in the back yard at the Museum.

623 visits the Port:
At the invitation of the National Railway Museum AEC 623 was transported to Port Adelaide to participate in the Festival of Vintage Boats, Trains and Planes over the October 2014 Labour Day long weekend.  623 was positioned alongside Volvo 1300 near the Jacketts Siding platform and received considerable interest from the public, especially when the Redhen railcars, which were in service between Adelaide and the NRM were loading and unloading at the platform.

Peter Meridew from NRM assisted with the logistics in getting 623 to Port Adelaide.  Although 623 started with a good British ‘buuurrrruuump’, it was determined that the risk in trying to take it on the road was too great given the affordability of being able to transport it on a low loader.  The haze created by the over 20 year old diesel fuel also helped confirm that!

Thanks to Peter and to NRM for their support, and also to our members who volunteered to assist at the Railway Museum handing out brochures to visitors to promote our Museum.

New Shed:
Work has been completed on some adjustments to the Road 5 troughing to complete the overhead works on this road, with work to commence in January on the troughing for Road 6.   In discussions, the work team has agreed that it is a more practical proposition to install the troughing prior to the pit being constructed as it allows for a flat floor to operate the scissor lift work platform from while installing the troughing.

Tower Wagon:
The tower wagon has been moved into Road 5 for work to commence on its ‘Dulux overhaul’ prior to it being placed on static display on Road 10 for display.

Bib ’n’ Bub:
Work on the restoration of trams 14 and 15 continues when volunteers are available; recent works have included fitting of drop-end seats, fitting of steps, installing safety glass to the saloon windows, and preparing for the steel panelling for the saloons of tram 14.  Cladding of car 14 has commenced, including grinding flush some screw heads to make them properly flush with the panels.

Vale - Malcolm Butler:
Former member Malcolm Butler, passed away on 28 September 2014.  Malcolm was a significant contributor to the AETM in earlier years, at work parties and on traffic duties.  He held regular member barbecues at his home.

Malcolm was also on the ill-fated trip to Bendigo in 1972 to take delivery of the original Birney (Bendigo 29, ex Adelaide 302).  When a Birney did arrive at St. Kilda (car 303, ex Bendigo 27) in 1976, Malcolm was given the honour of driving the tram on its official launch.

Malcolm was a train driver (steam and diesel) and would often regale members with his tales of working on steam engines. 

Malcolm was one of the stalwarts who helped build and progress the Museum in its infancy, and his contribution will be forever remembered in the memories and folklore of the group.


The loop at Mangrove Street on 11 January 2015 without the centre span poles and with the revised wiring arrangement. A new pole and bracket arm has been installed roughly half way along the loop to carry the main running wire.
William Adams

Track repairs being carried out at the Mangrove Street curves including marking out locations for the new tie bars and using the tractor to compact the newly refilled track bed. The works car can be seen in the background.
William Adams

AEC 623 with Red Hen 400 at the National Railway Museum on 5 October 2014.
Kym Smith

Cladding for ‘Bib & Bub’ car 14 prepared by Jack Pennack and Charlie Rodgers on 25 December 2014.
William Adams

Michael Pretty (left) shows new conductor Arnold Krueger some of the 'tricks of the trade' on tram 118 on 28 December 2014.
William Adams

Malcolm Butler (yellow Museum shirt) assists the Hon. T M Casey to launch Birney 303 (ex Bendigo) 27 into service at St. Kilda on 8 August 1976.