Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 2. 1965.
Preserving Trams — First take one tram ..
First take one tram ...
If you think that you have seen the last of Wellington's trams well you haven't! A local group the Tramway preservation Society, is well under way with a scheme to run a working museum of Wellington tramways on a site at Queen Elisabeth Park, near Paekakariki The society intends laying a track from McKajj Crossing to the Beach, about 1½ miles away. There will also be a trambarn-workshop of over 5000 sq. ft.
Many firms and individuals have donated goods, services and money to the society, to the value of hundreds of pounds. There are many similar and much larger schemes overseas, and they have invariably proved to be an out standing attraction. As the local project is situated in the heart of the Golden Coast holiday area there is every Justification that it, too, will provide holiday-maker and weekend visitors with a unique feature of their visits.
The site, Queen Elizabeth Park is a large area of farm and waste land situated Between Paekakariki and Raumati South. Already under development, ultimate plan call for a highly-developed recreation area, with sports arenas, motets, a golf course, and numerous other facilities. Although the park development is only just beginning, the beaches which form Its western boundary are known as some of the best in New Zealand.
The society has moved its seven tram from Newtown Tram sheds to a temporary storage at Seaview. Here they are being completely "mothballed" until their new depot is completed. The trams acquired represent all the later types running in Wellington. The oldest is No. 151, of 1917 vintage, while the newest was first on the rails as recently as December. 1952—this is No. 260 As well as the trams, a large number of spare parts have been acquired—many tons, in fact—to ensure operation for years to come.
Many of the society's members spent their summer vacation working on the project. A large number of Victoria University students are devoting time and energy to the project, and every faculty is represented. Surprisingly many girls are participating in what is usually regarded more as a male interest.
Building the tramway require weeks of back-breaking, heavy labour, but so keen are the society's members that they are quite prepared to spend all their weekends hard at it. "Hard work in the open air won't do us an: harm," said one member when interviewed.
Many members of the public who have read Press reports of this scheme have expressed incredulity that the museum is to be an operating one. But the Tramway Society believes that an immobile display would have none of the reality or atmosphere which operation of their trams would impart.
One has only to look at most other old vehicles which have been "preserved" to see the wisdom of the society's view. An operating display will undoubtedly be a bigger attraction too, because people will be drawn by the fact that they can take a ride The society proposes restoring their seven trams to an "as-new" condition, so that the public will be able to see the cars in their former glory—not the decrepitude of re cent years!