Locomotive No 1
The first train in NSW
Locomotive No. 1 brings to life the age of steam travel, which began in 1855 when this very locomotive hauled NSW's first train. The exhibition recreates a journey from Sydney to Parramatta in 1863.
Visitors can peer at the characters and overhear their conversations on a typical train journey last century, sitting comfortably in the first and second class carriages.
Locomotive No. 1 hauled the first passenger train in New South Wales on the line between Sydney and Parramatta in 1855. It is one of the most significant objects in the Museum's collection relating to the history of New South Wales, and has been in the Museum's possession for well over a century.
Designed and built in England by Robert Stephenson & Co., Newcastle-on-Tyne, it is significant in British railway history as it is a very rare survivor of a McConnell-designed goods express locomotive of the early 1850s. It is believed to be the only known example of its type in the world.
The establishment of a railway in New South Wales commenced in 1846 when a private company, the Sydney Railway Company, was formed with the objective of building a railway line between Sydney and Parramatta. Work on the construction commenced in 1851 but labour shortages and internal debates made progress slow.
In January 1855 four locomotives arrived by ship including Locomotive No. 1 which hauled the first passenger train, a special service, from Sydney Station to Long Cove viaduct (near the present site of Lewisham) on 24 May 1855, Queen Victoria's birthday.
The high cost of constructing the railway presented the directors of the Sydney Railway Company with innumerable problems and in September 1855 the New South Wales Government assumed responsibility for its operation.
The line was officially opened on 26 September 1855 with No. 3 Locomotive hauling the official train, as No. 1 was out of service that day.
The line of 14 miles took 50 minutes with four intermediate stations between Sydney and Parramatta at Newtown, Ashfield, Burwood and Homebush. On the first day a total of 3,554 passengers were carried and the fares to Parramatta were 4 shillings, 3 shillings and 2 shillings respectively for 1st, 2nd and 3rd class. The event attracted crowds of people dressed in their finery eager to be the first passengers.
The railway proved a great success but the locomotives were too heavy for the Barlow rails then in use.
From 1857 Locomotive No. 1 was used mainly for hauling goods and passengers between Sydney, Campbelltown, Richmond and Penrith. It was withdrawn from service in 1877 after 22 years of operation, having travelled 155,667 miles (250,468 km). After retirement, Locomotive No. 1 languished in 'Rotten Row', an area at the Railway Workshops at Eveleigh where old engines were put pending reconstruction or final condemnation.
It was later refitted with parts of other engines of its class by the Railways and presented to the Museum on 8 May 1884. Locomotive No. 1 was initially displayed in the Museum's original building, an Agricultural Hall in the Domain behind Sydney Hospital. Later, in 1893, the engine was housed in a small building behind the Museum's second home in Harris Street, Ultimo.
The six-wheel tender of Locomotive No. 1 was still in service in 1878 although it appears to have been withdrawn soon after. It was restored in 1955 for the New South Wales Railways' Centenary celebrations and later presented to the Museum for display with Locomotive No. 1.
During the late 1970s Locomotive No. 1 underwent an extensive restoration and conservation program. Each part was stripped down, cleaned and polished to reveal the individually stamped numbers. This process found conclusively that the locomotive was made predominantly of Locomotive No. 1 parts as well as parts of Locomotive Nos. 2, 3 and 4.
Since 1988 Locomotive No. 1 and tender have been displayed with 1st, 2nd and 3rd class carriages of the day in a permanent exhibition in the Museum.
- Start Date
- Thursday 1st of April 2004
- End Date
- Wednesday 29th of April 2020
- Start Time
- 10:00 AM
- End Time
- 05:00 PM
Ms Hayley Gallant
- +61 (02) 92170157
- +61 (02) 92170462