Tram trailers 93B and 72B
About the exhibit
Operational exhibit 93B; Under restoration 72B
The Valley Heights Steam Tramway (VHST) has two B-class steam tram trailer cars. Both cars came from a demolished residential building. Car 93B has been rebuilt through a restoration programme, whilst its sister, 72B, is waiting its turn for similar attention.
The society became aware of the presence of these two tramcars in Berowra (see History below) since the society's inception. Indeed the property was featured in a newspaper article in the early 1950s. Subsequently VHST's David Lewis made contact with May by letter asking if a small group may inspect the tramcars. She agreed. David, with Frank and Leila Moag, visited in 1994. May at that time was an 80-year-old widow. May was cautious and stressed she did not want to become a tourist attraction as she had been burgled twice before. The society respected these wishes and kept the house's whereabouts to only a few members.
David continued to visit May quite regularly. Over the next twelve months they became quite friendly. David, on behalf of VHST, was always open as to what our interest in the house was, but no pressure was ever brought to bear on May. She recognised why we were so interested in her house and used to say that if she ever won the lottery she would build a new house and that we could have the trams the next day! David used to bring May a lottery ticket every time he visited.
May passed away and David saw her death notice in the paper. David followed the sale of the house over the next 10 or so months culminating in the property being auctioned in October 1996. After negotiating with the new owner a price and conditions for the demolition of the house and removing the trams was agreed upon. Once the block was cleared by the society the tramcars were moved from their resting place of 65 years on the 10th March 1997. The two tramcars arrived at Valley Heights later in the day, having passed through the old operating site in Parramatta Park to retrieve spare bogies.
The society commenced restoration on 93B immediately as it was assessed that the body was in better condition than that of its sister. Car 72B had succumbed to the ravages of time due to being more exposed to the prevailing elements and moisture penetration from the use of it as kitchen, bath, laundry and toilet. The bogies, badly damaged in the Parramatta Park fire of 1993, are being rebuilt and replacement braking gear is also being progressively assembled. The vacuum braking system needed substantial manufacture of the brake pans and other attachments.
Now you can visit Valley Heights and take a ride in a 120+ year old tram which was a bedroom in a house in Berowra for 65 years!
Steam Tram and Railway Preservation (Co-op) Society trading as Valley Heights Steam Tramway
Tramcar 93B was built by Hudson Brothers at Clyde/Granville in October 1889, whilst 72B was built by Henry Vale in January 1891. Records indicate that 93B was listed in the Sydney area from 1903-1913 where it was thought to have been used as a trailer for electric trams. The car was listed as being allocated to the Rockdale to Brighton-le-Sands tramway from 1914-1919, again as an electric trailer. Tramcar 72B was recorded as being one of the four cars used to open the Arncliffe to Bexley steam tramway.
Trailer Car 93B
Built in 1891 by Hudson Bros of Granville.
1889-1913 – General Sydney area
1914-1919 – Rockdale line as trailer car for electric trams
1920-1923 – Castle Hill line
1924-1927 – Arncliffe - Bexley line, fitted with electric lighting
1927-1932 – Storage at Randwick
1932-1996 – Sold to private owner, Miss King, thence used as part of a residence at Hillcrest Road Berowra. Bogies and interior seating were removed. (Irwin, SHR nomination, 1998)
1996-1997 – Ownership transferred to K.Booth
1997 – purchased by Society, transferred to Valley Heights. The roof, 70% of the sub-frame and one side of the tram was intact. The balance of the car has been restored in accordance with original joinery/casting/ fixing techniques at time of original construction. (Irwin 1998)
Trailer Car 72B
Built in 1889 by Henry Vale and Co. Sydney.
1889-1909 – Believed to be in use in general Sydney area.
1909 – Used at opening of Arncliffe-Bexley line
1920-1927 – Alternated between Castle Hill and Arncliffe, fitted with electric lighting
1927-1932 – Storage at Randwick
1932-1997 – Sold.
1997 – Purchased by Society, transferred to Valley Heights.
Both cars were sold in April 1932, to Corbetta King and Evelyn King (presumably sisters) who transferred the cars to their land at Berowra. It was here that the two cars were later incorporated into a dwelling. The two cars were set apart and were enclosed within an overall structure. Car 93B was on the western side and essentially contained the sleeping quarters, whilst 72B became areas for dining, kitchen, laundry, bath and toilet facilities.
The property was eventually sold twice, coming into the ownership of William and May Ward during 1954. Eventually, as a widow, the property passed from May Ward's estate to Kerrie Booth during 1997.
These exhibits are listed on the NSW State Heritage Register which contains additional information about the exhibit.
More information and photos
Those steam cars in Hillcrest Road Berowra, Berowra Living History 2014-11-14, accessed 2018-04-25