St James Station celebrates 90 years of service by stepping back in time
On Saturday 10 December, Australia’s oldest underground transport portal, St James Station, celebrated its 90th birthday by hosting a range of heritage events for transport lovers.
Visitors had the opportunity to be transported back in time by taking a ride on a vintage F1 electric train between St James and Erskineville.
The iconic locomotive, known as the “Red Rattler”, was meticulously restored to working condition by volunteers from Historic Electric Traction, Transport Heritage and Sydney Trains.
As part of the celebrations, 21 lucky winners were given the chance to explore the abandoned tunnels that make up the part of the station as a part of a guided heritage tour.
Howard Collins, Chief Executive of Sydney Trains, expressed his appreciation for the entries received.
“We had well over 12,000 entries to the ballot which is testament to the recognised heritage value of St James’ history to the people of Sydney.
“These lucky winners will see graffiti from soldiers who worked in the tunnels and see the Hyde Park fig tree roots making their way through blast-resistant walls where explosives couldn’t,” Mr Collins said.
Since opening in 1926, St James Station has hosted tens of millions of passengers and today remains a vital part of Sydney’s transport system.
The city hub was once the end of the line in Sydney’s rail network and holds its own colourful history.
During World War II, the station’s walls were reinforced to be used as air raid shelters and it is rumoured that General Macarthur had his headquarters deep within the station tunnels.
The weekend’s events were an opportunity to share an important piece of Sydney’s history with the public.
The public’s enthusiasm toward the celebrations highlighted the importance of preserving history so future generations can learn about the heritage of our city.