After a break of 1000 days, caused by the February 2011 earthquake, the trams are running again. It is an important milestone in post-earthquake Christchurch. In the interim the trams have been stored and carefully maintained. Only three trams are operating, on a shortened route, until further tram tracks can be repaired and some new tracks added. A $10 ticket (children free) gives passengers an all day hop-on hop-off ride.
In this photo, which I took in 2005 from the same position, the intact Cathedral can be seen, just as Cantabrians would like to remember it.
The tram route’s two end points are the Canterbury Museum, and New Regent Street. The trams travel between these two points via Cathedral Square.
New Regent Street has 38 pastel-hued shops in Spanish Mission style terraced architecture, built during the 1930’s. The shops have been repaired and restored after earthquake damage, and now provide some ambience around the tram stop.
The Canterbury Museum is at the other end of the line. The tram returns the same way, so the tram has to be reconfigured.
– Christchurch Tramway has invested almost $2m of private money in getting the trams up and running post earthquakes.
– Over 10,000 volunteer and paid hours have gone into getting the trams back into the city.
– The number 15 tram was formerly a cable car from Invercargill.
– Major repairs to the 2.4 kilometre tram tracks that go through the city were completed earlier this month (November 2013) as well as overhead tram wiring and cables.
– Prior to the quakes the trams carried an estimated 280,000 passengers a year.
– The oldest tram ‘Number 11″ tram is approx. 109 years old, and was the first electric tram in Christchurch. It was built in 1904 and put into service 1906.
– Many of the original pre earthquake tram drivers are returning to work as drivers.
[In response to Tony Bachop’s comment – see below – the description of the Invercargill Tram No 15 as originally being a cable car may be incorrect. Also Tram No 11 first saw service in Dunedin. Other sources note that Tram No 11 was manufactured in Philadelphia.]