Christchurch Trams are officially welcomed back into the city
In her speech the Mayor said that having the trams back in the city was another milestone in the recovery of the Christchurch CBD.
“This is more of a resurrection than a grand opening because the trams have meant so much to the people of Christchurch - as they have over the last 20 years.” said Mayor Dalziel. The Mayor thanked the Esposito family (Welcome Aboard) on behalf of the people of Christchurch for having the tenacity and courage to bring the tram business back to life and making sure the trams were available for all to enjoy.
Following the event, to the delight of guests and passengers, the Mayor returned to the Civic Offices aboard the tram.
The Wizard of New Zealand (also known as the Christchurch Wizard) performed a special blessing and some colourful spells and wizardry as he did in 1995 when the trams first began operating as a tourism venture.
The trams, one of Christchurch’s much loved attractions have been closed for just over 1,000 days following the Canterbury earthquakes. During this time the trams have been stored at the Ferrymead Heritage Park where they have been repaired and carefully maintained. Each tram has been fitted with new screens and audio video content produced by Hit Lab to show visitors what Christchurch looked like before the quakes and what it could look like in the future.
Along with the Mayor and Wizard, other special guests at the official opening included Christchurch Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck, Christchurch Central Development Unit Director Warwick Isaacs and Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism Chief Executive Tim Hunter.
Guest and former Christchurch City Councillor, Barry Corbett is currently training to become a tram driver.
“It’s the perfect role for a retired Councillor, I get to keep an eye on the city, just from a different perspective.” said Mr Corbett
The trams began operating in the city last week and Managing Director Michael Esposito has been overwhelmed by the level of interest from the public.
“The trams have been flat out since we started and there has been such a positive reaction from central city retailers, businesses and visitors. It’s great to see people’s smiles when they see the trams coming down the street.” said Mr Esposito.
“I would like to thank the Tramway Historical Society, City Council, SCIRT, tram staff and many, many others who have worked tirelessly to get the trams back on track,” he said.
- Christchurch Tramway has invested almost $2m of private money in getting the trams up and running post earthquakes.
- Over 10,000 volunteer and paid hours have gone into getting the trams back into the city.
- The number 15 tram was formerly a cable car from Invercargill.
- Major repairs to the 2.4 kilometre tram tracks that go through the city were completed earlier this month as well as overhead tram wiring and cables.
- Prior to the quakes the trams carried an estimated 280,000 passengers a year.
- The oldest tram ‘Number 11” tram is approx. 109 years old, and was the first electric tram in Christchurch. It was built in 1904 and put into service 1906.
- Many of the original pre earthquake tram drivers are returning to work as drivers.
- The Wizard of New Zealand (also known as the Christchurch Wizard) performed a special blessing and some colourful spells and wizardry as he did in 1995 when the trams first began operating as a tourism venture.
- Former city councillor Barry Corbett is training as a tram driver.
- Mayor Lianne Dalziel caught the tram back to the Civic Offices after the ribbon cutting ceremony to open the tramway.
For more information please contact Michael Esposito at Michael@welcomeaboard.co.nz or tel +64 27 227 6011
About Welcome Aboard:
Other businesses owned by Welcome Aboard include; Punting on the Avon, the Christchurch Gondola and Jet boating, Bungy Jumping, Quad Biking, and River Rafting at Hanmer Springs. www.tram.co.nz.