Tucked away in a small town in New South Wales, Australia, you can find several giant time machines. In a quaint countryside rail yard, historic rail cars await, ready to transport passengers back in time to experience the glory days of rail travel.
The members of the Rail Motor Society (RMS) are caretakers of these mechanical marvels. Since 1984, this group of volunteers has been dedicated to preserving Australia’s railway heritage. Through the passionate work of the RMS, the historic vehicles are available for everyone to enjoy, for local day trips, special events or long weekend getaways across the state of New South Wales. Rail enthusiasts also visit the rail yard as the trains are restored to their former glory.
The RMS’ collection consists of three CPH class rail motors, a rail motor trailer, a complete 400-Class set and the last surviving 600-Class units. The history of the CPH dates back to 1923, when it first entered service. A total of 37 CPHs were built by the New South Wales Government Railways. They were an immediate success and passenger service increased steadily. The vehicles were known as “Tin Hares,” named after the mechanical lures used in greyhound racing in Australia.
“The CPH worked mostly on country branches, connecting with mail trains and providing service to rural communities throughout New South Wales,” says Bruce Agland, RMS operations manager. “They consisted of a passenger compartment on each end, and a central compartment for luggage, light goods and parcels.”
CPH rail motors were built with a separate body on a steel underframe. The body utilized beautiful timber construction, mainly Queensland yellow wood, pines and cedars. Plenty of windows on both sides provide spacious panoramic views of the passing countryside.