The most famous of all Sydney electric trams were the "toastrack" or O-class trams. The name "toastrack" refers to the equally spaced vertical divisions between the bench seats and lack of a centre aisle. The tram features both enclosed and open sections, and its numerous doorways ensured that passengers could quickly enter and leave the tram. They were capable of carrying 128 passengers, with 80 of them seated, and were ideal for moving large crowds to and from venues such as race meetings, sporting fixtures and shows. The 0-class trams were numerically the largest class of tramcar in Australia and technically the most advanced and fastest at the time.
These trams served as the backbone of Sydney's electric tram fleet for over 40 years and were loved by both passengers and tram crews. A total of 626 were locally built between 1908 and 1914. All were removed from the Sydney tramway system by 1958.
The Museum's O-class tram No.805 was built by the Meadowbank Manufacturing Co. in Sydney in 1909. It was placed in service on 4 August 1909, and operated on the route from Manly Wharf to Narrabeen, at North Sydney, at Ashfield, and for a brief period in the Rockdale district. The tram was restored at the Randwick Tramway workshops and presented to the Museum in 1961, only months after the last tram to operate in Sydney ran from La Perouse to Maroubra on Saturday 25 February 1961. It is one of only six to have been preserved.
Margaret Simpson, curator
McCarthy K. & N. Chinn, "New South Wales Tramcar Handbook 1861-1961, Part One", South Pacific Electric Railway Co-operative Society Limited, Sutherland, NSW, 1975.
Makin, Robert, "All aboard the last Manly rattler" in "Sydney Morning Herald", January 1984.