Australia’s First Double-decker Bus and Rail Motor: Rail bus (c.1936)
The bus-rail hybrid was designed to service minor rail lines in Sydney that did not have enough passengers to justify the larger rail motor.
This strange bus-rail hybrid was designed to service minor rail lines in Sydney that did not have enough passengers to justify the larger rail motor. The first fleet of rail buses were produced in 1937. These vehicles were built by Waddington’s – Sydney’s leading builder of coach bodies – and therefore favoured a bus appearance rather than standard rail features which characterised the rail motor. The rail bus in this clip had driving controls at each end, much like a rail motor. The rail bus is exhibits art deco features such as its two-tone finish and curved body much like its road counterpart seen in clip 1.
The only surviving example of a rail bus from the original 1937 fleet is housed in the Thirlmere Railway Museum in New South Wales. This home movie clip is a rare example of the rail bus in operation.