Friday, August 05, 2011

Ding ding in Auckland

How exciting! Like many Australian cities, the largest city in New Zealand, Auckland, had an extensive tram system. Like many Australian cities, Auckland's tram system was all but shut down by 1960 or thereabouts.

Some fifty years later, trams are returning to Auckland streets, albeit in quite a humble way, this coming Saturday.

Apparently there will be some significant foot ball type match in Auckland soon. I don't know about sports. But in a fairly quick time, Auckland made sure the new tram line will be open for the occasion.

While from here on the big western isle, the tram line seems to be nowhere and go to nowhere, that is not important. It is a building block for the future. Once more a tram may travel down Queen Street in time to come. Maybe it will go to the curiously named Britomart. Maybe it will glide along the waterfront. We live in exciting tram times with tram and light rail systems being built all over the world, even in the normally public transport hostile US.

Apparently our own Victoria's Bendigo Tramways has supplied a couple of trams to run the new line, and the expertise of the Christchurch's tram system, who are possibly a bit idle due to the devastating earthquake, are to run the trams.

Here are a couple of photos from NZ Steam at his excellent Flickr site. I hope Timespanner has been invited to the ceremony to celebrate the historic return of trams to Auckland.

Oh what the heck, let's start with a photo of Auckland's premier Queen Street with trams in it. I would have liked to have found a photo from say 1950, but they seem lacking. This is old photo I found at Transpress NZ. Doesn't Auckland look great!

The like of this tram, one of the ones for the new tram line, were still to be seen on Melbourne's streets in the 1990s.

I think this is another Melbourne tram too. Perhaps is was one that was called an 'all nighter', a tram that ran in Melbourne in the wee small hours and only had a driver, no conductor.


  1. Hello Andrew:
    We are always most intrigued with your posts about trains and trams for, like you, we find them endlessly fascinating although, and we are sure that it is the same with you, our interest does not extend to 'train spotting'!!

    Happily, as you are aware, there is no suggestion of ridding the streeets of Budapest of trams.

  2. No JayLa, like you I find them interesting but not down to fine detail. Now did I hear the other day about the impressive average speed of a Budapest tram? It was much higher than ours, even though ours go faster, they also sit traffic lights and it traffic for much longer.

  3. Anonymous9:50 am

    Did I ever tell you about the time I rode an old Melbourne tram in Seattle? It was one of the old wooden green and yellow ones. Made me a tad nostalgic...V.

  4. I've seen photos of them V. I think they are the same models as the one about to be used in Auckland. I have a feeling, I should check, that the Seattle ones are not running at the moment.

  5. I was most excited when I saw the news item, yay, the rise of the trams (and conductors) once more!

  6. Anonymous12:24 pm

    Hopefully Sydney will be getting more light rail in the near future. They beat buses hands down.

  7. I'm not a big enough wig to get invited to things much these days. Can't go to the Wynyard Quarter tomorrow anyway -- it's the AGM for my home historical society in the afternoon, and that has to take priority. I'll visit WQ when the crowds die down a bit.

  8. Good news isn't it Jayne.

    It is looking promising for Sydney.

    TS, I expect the champagne would be luke warm anyway and think of how many kids will be there.

  9. A friend of mine was there this morning, however, and got some shots he says I can use for my blog. Looking forward to seeing them -- when they come through, they'll be Timespanner-bound.

  10. Seen a few already TS. But I look forward to what you post. The personal is always good.

  11. Anonymous10:14 pm

    Yes anonymous the green and yellow tram in Seattle is a W class Melbourne tram and the same class of tram (W) that is in Auckland

  12. Thanks for the confirmation Bill.

  13. Auckland's new Masterplan is going to put a Light Rail Track right down Queen Street (again)

    1. Great to hear Hanslee. I will take a look.

  14. The little all nighter is an X1 Class, it ran most of its life on the then isolated Footscray lines from 1927 - 1962, the footscray lines were connecred to the rest of the MMTB in 1954.

    regards Glenn

  15. Thanks Glenn. I believe the X used to bounce around and sway rather a lot. Fun for kids, I reckon.