For the love of transport
DENIS O’Ryan’s boyhood fascination with transport never quite went away.
Every weekend he lives out his childhood dream of working as a tram driver at the Museum of Technology and Transport.
‘‘It’s nice that after all these years I am living that interest which has been with me all my life,’’ he says.
O’Ryan is one of 150 volunteers who will be honoured for their work at Motat as part of National Volunteer Week, which runs from June 21 to 27.
The retired electrical engineer began volunteering as a tram conductor at Motat five years ago.
He then trained and received his tram driver’s licence and now drives hundreds of passengers every weekend.
The trams originally ran on a daily service in Melbourne more than 50 years ago.
‘‘It’s good to see the tech- nology being continued,’’ he says.
Educating younger generations is an important part of preserving Auckland’s transport heritage, O’Ryan says.
‘‘I love how a big part of being a driver is sharing my interest and my knowledge. I just love communicating with families and children,’’ he says.
‘‘Particularly boys who I see have come from the same background as myself and have an interest in transport.’’
O’Ryan says his interest in rail stretches back to his family holidays in Christchurch when he would visit the Addington Railway Station every day.
‘‘I would always hope the man in the signal box would invite me up and he did one day and I went up the stairs and had a look,’’ he says.
‘‘I was there every day until we were heading home again.
‘‘I think that illustrates my almost fanaticism with trains.’’
The Albany resident has never worked full-time in the transport industry but says his training as an electrical fitter and engineer has helped his tram driving.
‘‘The practical aspect never left me and even now I find it very beneficial knowing how things work.
‘‘I find it helpful to determine any fault or something that needs attention and then talking to workshop staff.’’
Volunteer Denis O’Ryan has been driving trams at Motat for five years.