For the love of trans­port

Central Leader - - NEWS - By ELE­SHA ED­MONDS

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 the 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,’’ he says.

‘‘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.

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