The End of Steam on the Yass Tramway

When the NSW Main Southern Line pushed south from Goulburn in 1876 there was no easy way for the line to serve the bustling little town of Yass and so it bypassed the town and the idea of the Yass Tramway was born.

That was not so popular with the townspeople for they had an additional 3 miles (4.83km) to travel … and their produce to travel … to reach the railway.

Things were no different then than they are now and if you make enough noise and political agitation you could usually get what you wanted and the people of Yass wanted a railway and so it came to pass … eventually

In 1890 the Minister for Public Works called for tenders for the construction of a branch line to run from a junction on the Main Southern Line to the town of Yass.

Construction of the line was fairly basic … although the Yass River was crossed by a fairly substantial bridge … and the route took the line down the main street.

Tramway operations were used for much of the line’s existence and small locomotives were the order of the day almost to the end.

The first loco on the line was a small 0-6-0 saddle tank … P127 … and others, including a B Class 2-6-0 tender loco saw service on the line. But perhaps the most well-known steam locos to be used on the line were members of the 13 Class.

These 4-4-2 tank locos first appeared on the line in 1917 and stayed right to the end of steam operations.

Despite being just 3 miles long traffic on the line was so great that, for many years, two 13 Class locos were housed in Yass Loco but by 1957 things were changing.

In that year a bus replaced all passenger workings on the line and by the late 1960s the last steam loco was replaced by an X200 rail tractor.

The passing of steam on the Yass Tramway brought a lot of enthusiasts down from Sydney and this old Super 8 movie was shot at that time.