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The railways revolutionised the lives of ordinary people in NSW - they brought people together, allowed the transport of goods and services across great distances and into new areas, introduced 'railway time' and timetabling, provided individuals with jobs, and built communities.
Below is an overview of our exhibits and an insight into what you'll see at the museum!
The Main Exhibition Building
The Main Exhibition Building is where you will discover how the NSW railways brought life to town and country.
Governor General's Carriage – if there was a rolling, steel-wheeled work of art in this country, it is the stunning Governor General's carriage – a Palace on Wheels.
Prison Van – you will find a lot more in the Prison Van than you could imagine. These rolling gaol cells operated in one form or another from 1867 until the 1950s.
Steam Machine – climb aboard the steam machine to find out more about the fastest and longest trains, compare energy use across different modes of transport and learn how steam power works.
Mail Van – an important example of the Travelling Post Offices, which enabled the speedy delivery of mail, newspapers and parcels to communities across the state
Steam locomotive E18 – built in 1866, this is the oldest loco in the collection and it had a working life of nearly a century
Steam locomotive 1709 – one of the most profound expressions of 19th Century travel in the collection. It is a true treasure.
Take a virtual tour of the Main Exhibition Building at the NSW Rail Museum below!
The Great Train Hall
The Great Train Hall houses the biggest collection of rolling stock in Australia. A significant portion of the collection has been steadily refurbished and restored over the years by volunteers, while others patiently await the time, money and labour required to be returned to their former glory.
6040 Garratt – the heaviest and most powerful steam locomotive to ever turn a wheel in Australia. It’s massive, powerful and a sight to behold.
Steam locomotive 1905 – the first locomotive to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a Beyer Peacock of Manchester, England construction. The museum hosts one of the finest and most diverse collections of this maker’s locomotives in the world.
RS1962 Dining Car – the envy of the world for luxury and speed in the years following the end of World War II. This is one of the all-time great sights and experiences of Australian railway.
The Rail Pay Bus – one of the oddest little items in the collection. It was used for transporting employees’ wages all over the state rail system.
Some of the carriages are accessible – climb aboard and relive some of your favourite rail travel memories or experience for the first time the feel, look and smell of these wonderful relics of Australian social history.
The roundhouse is a blend of traditional roundhouse style and modern workshop concepts. Staff and volunteers work on a variety of locomotives and carriages, carry out heavy overhauls and restorations, and complete the more traditional ‘running’ maintenance that roundhouses were originally designed for.
Here you can view this ‘behind the scenes’ maintenance and demonstrations of specialist heritage and conservation processes.
The roundhouse is serviced by a 105-foot turntable from the old Enfield steam depot. It is one of only three in NSW of that impressive size.