Top 5 things to do at the Transport Heritage Expo

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If you or your kids love all things transport, then the Transport Heritage Expo is one event you are not going to want to miss.

Held at Central Station in Sydney from June 9-11, the expo brings together the best heritage transport experiences from around the state.


1. The Great Train Race

The Transport Heritage Expo kicks off with the Great Train Race! Be part of this awesome experience as two steam trains from the NSW Rail Museum race from Central, through Sydney’s inner-west to Strathfield and return.

Travel behind your choice of steam locomotive 3526 (aka ‘the Nanny’), or the Southern Hemisphere’s largest operating steam locomotive 6029 (aka ‘the Garratt’).

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  • Departure times:Departs Saturday 9 June at 9.25am only from Central Station Platforms 1 & 3​.
  • Total journey time: 60 minutes
  • Fares: Adult $60 | Concession / THNSW Member $50 | Child (2-16) $40
  • To Book: transportheritageexpo.com/rides 

2. Ride a Heritage Train

If you’ve never heard the sound of a real steam train ‘choo-choo’, you’ll love catching a ride on a NSW railways heritage carriage from the 1930’s.

It will be hauled by a recently restored steam locomotive 3526 (aka ‘the Nanny’) or the Southern Hemisphere’s largest operating steam locomotive 6029 (aka ‘the Garratt’) from Central to Hurstville and return.

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Or, if you grew up in Sydney and remember the trip into town aboard a Red Rattler, take a nostalgic ride aboard Sydney’s vintage electric set ‘F1’. This three-car train is part of 883 single deck steel carriages that once formed the backbone of the Sydney suburban fleet from 1926 until the early 1990s.

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  • Departure times: Saturday 9-11th June, various departure times.
  • Total journey time:  20 – 90 minutes
  • Fares: Prices vary depending in ticket booked.
  • To Book: transportheritageexpo.com/rides 

3. Explore the disused St James Tunnels

St James station is home to a labyrinth of abandoned tunnels that start under the station and stretch kilometres under the city. Built in 1926 by NSW Government Architect George McRae, St James was the first underground station in Australia, and was an adaption of the London Tube-style station.

Although never put into active service, these redundant tunnels were used for a variety of purposes. They’ve been used for food production to military defense and even movie sets. One was re-purposed as a mushroom farm during the 1930’s.

To the north and south of the public area, other tunnels and platforms were built during the 1920s for a proposed underground metro. Due to the Great Depression however, the project was put on hold. It was finally abandoned in favour of today’s electric railway and underground city rail loop.

Two single-line tunnels, each a kilometre in length and originally intended for Bradfield’s Bondi and Randwick line, lie beneath Hyde Park. North of St James, a double track tunnel for Bradfield’s Balmain line sits under Macquarie Street and ends at the Botanic Gardens.

The opportunity to explore subterranean Sydney doesn’t arise very often. But Sydney Trains are opening up the fascinting disused tunnels as part of the Transport Heritage Expo in 2018. Make sure you enter the ballot. It closes on May 27th.

  • Departure times: Monday 11 June only: 9.45am, 11.15am, 1.30pm, 2.15pm
  • Total tour time:  60 mins with 45 mins tour and induction.
  • Fares: Free – by ballot registration only. Winners of the ballot have the opportunity to receive up to two tickets for their tour.
  • To Book: sydneytrains.info/about/heritage/events

4. Ride in a Vintage Bus

The Sydney Bus Museum will be operating a fleet of vintage double-decker buses for a 20-minute round trip of the Sydney CBD.

Vintage transport fans of all ages will love jumping aboard these lovely old buses. All the bus rides are free, though a gold coin donation is appreciated.

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Departure times: Departs daily from Western Forecourt every 5-10 minutes from 10.00am – 3.00pm
Total tour time:  20 minutes
Fares: Free – gold coin donations appreciated
More information: transportheritageexpo.com/rides


5. Railmotor Rides

Take a ride aboard these charming CPH Railmotors from the 1920s supplied by Lachlan Valley Railways. Known as ‘Tin Hares’, this vintage diesel train will be performing round trips of the Sydney Metropolitan Freights lines through Chullora and Enfield.

This is a rare opportunity to see the hidden sights of the Sydney freight lines not normally traversed by passenger trains.

  • Departure times: Departs from Central Station Platform 1 Saturday 9 June, Sunday 10 June and Monday 11 June: 10.25am, 12.25pm, 2.10pm
  • Total tour time:  1.5 hours
  • Fares: Adult $30 | Concession / THNSW Member $25 | Child (2-16) $20
  • More information: transportheritageexpo.com/rides
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