It’s no secret I have a small passion for railroad history so no-one is surprised I got a little excited about the Lachlan Valley Railway bringing a 1920’s CPH railmotor, Tin Hare, to Tamworth for shuttle runs to Kootingal.
Although excited I didn’t get to have a ride on it because of other commitments however I did take advantage of a couple of photo opportunities as it sprinted through the township of Neimingha on the outskirts of town.
It’s speed actually surprised me as I hadn’t seen one of these in operation before and on investigation I’ve learnt this type of rail transport was mainly used on branch line services throughout Southern NSW and on many Sydney suburban lines pre-electrification.
From what I could find out about them I don’t believe many, if any, were operated in my regional area of NSW.
I found it interesting that Tin Hares were constructed with no bolts and rivets and their metal components were entirely constructed by welding; a revolutionary construction method of the day. The body was timer with the cars finished externally using the carpentry tongue and grooved technic below the window line.
The first one constructed was put into service in a town called Culcairn, in southern NSW near the Victoria border, in December 1923 and NSW railways didn’t withdraw them from service completely until 1985.
This one was lovingly restored and is maintained by the amazing volunteers at Lachlan Valley Railway however 55 are listed as operational, under restoration or stored with museums and railway groups across NSW and the ACT.
While my heart is faithful to the noise and show of steam locomotives this was my personal introduction to CPH railmotor class of rail transport which certainly lived up to its nicknamesake’s reputation for speed.
Fun fact: The Tin Hares evolved at the same time as the mechanical lures for the greyhound racing industry.