Bondi tram changes track
A LITTLE piece of Bondi Beach has arrived in Auckland and it will soon be making tracks near Western Springs.
Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology, Motat, has just received an historic tram from Bondi in Sydney which should be up and running by the end of the month.
“We’re lucky to get a vehicle like this,” says Motat tramway manager Colin Zeff.
“Not many are around. A Sydney tram is an interesting addition to the fleet.
“It’s an original Bondi Beach tram. We keep the original destination blinds.”
He says in contrast, Melbourne trams are readily available because the city continually renews its fleet.
The 76-year-old tram is one of 120 built and is thought to be the first electric Sydney tram in New Zealand.
It operated along Circular Quay in Sydney in the early 1950s, with 48 seats and standing room.
Before being restored in the 1980s, the tram was used during the 1960s for accommodation at a tobacco farm in Ashford, northern New South Wales.
The tram was also touched up before Melbourne’s Moomba Festival in 2001 and was used for an enthusiasts’ tour the in 2003.
The Bondi tram features seats recovered from the 1956 Sydney ferry Kooleen and the side-loading feature will help deal with summer crowds visiting Auckland Zoo, Motat and Western Springs.
Mr Zeff says the tram reached New Zealand shores after coming via a flat rack on a container ship.
“It took a few days to get here and sustained no damage in coming across.
“It is similar to Melbourne trams but to tramway enthusiasts it is completely different.”
The museum now has nine operational trams – which includes three from Melbourne, the latest addition from Sydney and the remainder from Auckland and Wellington.
Motat marketing manager Angela Willis says it is great to have this piece of history.
“Our numbers are increasing every year and the trams are very popular with visitors.
“It is larger than the Auckland trams so we can expand our service. Everyone can experience it.”
Motat trams carried 170,000 passengers in the past 12 months.
Workers are also busy refurbishing a Wellington double-decker tram that should be operational by March.
“The tramway has become more and more popular. We’re not a stuffy old museum – our displays are always changing,” says Mr Zeff.