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Refurbished 1930s Tramcar Begins Service in Christchurch

Refurbished 1930s Tramcar Emerges to Begin Service in Christchurch

A tramcar built in the 1930s which carried passengers on the Sydney tramway network for many years has emerged from an extensive refurbishment at the Ferrymead Heritage Park.

The striking blue and cream tram will begin service on the Christchurch Tramway in a fortnight. But it will be seen on the streets of the CBD sooner than that as drivers familiarise themselves with it.

Michael Esposito - the Managing Director of Christchurch Attractions, which runs the Christchurch Tramway - says steady growth in tourist numbers over the past few years has led to the required increase in tramway capacity.

“With the CBD coming alive with more retail and hospitality options, as well as the extension of the tramline itself, we expect passenger numbers to keep increasing. Over the summer months we will have six trams operating, in addition to the restaurant tram.

“There is no other city in New Zealand with a tramway like ours. It has emerged as something of an icon for the city, providing an integral link between the various central city precincts which is loved by locals and visitors.”

The new tram is on lease to Christchurch Attractions after being on loan to the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT) in Auckland from the Sydney Tramway Museum since 2009.

It first entered service in Sydney on 17 April 1934 - based at the Fort Macquarie Depot, where the Sydney Opera House now stands. After being decommissioned in 1959, it was bought by a tobacco farmer in northern New South Wales to house workers.

Twenty-five years later, it was donated to the Waverley Council in Sydney which wanted to preserve a tram for display. In 1999, it was moved to the Sydney Tramway Museum.

Just over 14 metres in length and weighing 18 tonnes, the tramcar can seat 48 passengers and is one of about 195 R-Class models built by Clyde Engineering in New South Wales.


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