The Muscle Men of The Brisbane Tramway

The museum’s vintage workhorse, a 1942 International ‘K’ series truck, still used to day for working on overhead lines.

No story about a tram museum is complete without mention of its work vehicles, and the Brisbane Tramway Museum is no different. The museum relies on two vintage vehicles to enable them to move trams and buses and also to work on their overhead wiring.

Their ‘tow truck’ is an ex-British Army Scammell, originally built in 1939 to tow heavy artillery pieces, ammunition and tanks during the Second World War. This truck saw duty in North Africa and there are photos of similar vehicles towing tanks in that war zone. The Scammell was purchased by Brisbane City Council in 1945 to tow trams and was in use for 24 years until trams ceased running in 1969. To give some idea of its power, rumour has it that when power lines came down on the Ashgrove line, the Scammell was seen hauling no fewer than three trams linked together up Red Hill.

The museum still uses this great vehicle as our tow truck to this day, some 50 years after the last tram ran in Brisbane.

The museums other vintage workhorse is a 1942 International ‘K’ series truck fitted with a turntable and elevating platform—the forerunner of the modern cherry-picker. The platform is elevated by manual means and can rotate 360 degrees. The body of the truck is fitted with various lockers and storage compartments for spare parts and tools. This vehicle is still used for working on the overhead wiring system today.

Both vehicles were donated to the Museum by Brisbane City Council once trams ceased in Brisbane. 

The Brisbane Tramway Museum is proudly supported by Brisbane City Council.

The Brisbane Tramway Museum’s ‘tow truck’ is an ex-British Army Scammell, originally built in 1939.

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