Double-decker bus trip to Castlecliff celebration

Published on 22 June 2020

Claire Bell

All aboard to see Claire Bell's bus shetter artwork 

The celebration for Castlecliff’s new bus shelter artwork has been rescheduled, after being postponed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Everyone is welcome to attend the blessing and celebration on Saturday, 4 July at 1:45pm outside the Rangiora Street Library in Castlecliff.

Local artist Claire Bell, who created the engraved glass artwork for the bus shelter, says, “We’ve organised a free double-decker bus to run from town to the bus shelter for the blessing.

“Local performer and transport enthusiast, Anthonie Tonnon, will act as conductor for the trip." 

Anthonie Tonnon, who is also the new Whanganui District Council representative on Horizons Regional Council’s Passenger Transport Committee, says, “The double-decker bus trip will be a unique experience, as it will travel the two historic tram routes to Castlecliff. These routes became the basis of the Greyhound Bus routes from the 1950s, and much of our housing has been built around them.

“I’m interested in talking to the passengers about their experience of the past and present bus system along the way,” Anthonie Tonnon says.

The double-decker bus will leave from the bus stop outside the Whanganui Tramways Museum at 29 Taupō Quay at 1:30pm and, after the event, depart from Castlecliff at 3.00pm. Spaces are limited – to book a seat on the bus, email:

The Citadel Café will provide light finger food at the event and the Rangiora Street Library will run a gold coin sausage sizzle as it joins in with the event to mark its first birthday. The Koha Shed will have a presence as well, providing free toys, clothing and coats for the winter for anyone in need. 

Claire Bell’s technique of mural engraving on glass was pioneered by artist John Hutton whose glass mural on the Great West Screen of Coventry Cathedral was completed in 1962.

Ms Bell says she has had numerous visitors to her studio during the process of engraving her glass artwork with local flora and fauna inspired by the Castlecliff sand dunes.

For an insight into Claire Bell’s techniques and to see Aranui School’s visit to her studio, check out the video ‘What they saw in a Castlecliff studio’ on Whanganui District Council’s YouTube channel.

Bus shelters are a collaboration between Horizons Regional Council and Whanganui District Council. Horizons advises on location and funds installation, while Whanganui District Council funds ongoing maintenance.

Horizons Transport Manager Rhona Hewitt, says, “Glass bus shelters offer great visibility and safety, however can at times be subject to vandalism.

“We’re trialling this beautiful artwork on a bus shelter in an effort to have a positive effect in terms of vandalism,” says Mrs Hewitt.

“The new bus shelter complements an improved Saturday timetable and services on public holidays, as well as additional end of day Whanganui urban services that came into effect following public feedback on the network review last year.

“A new tag on tag off system, called the Bee Card, also became operational last year. This system makes the user experience easier, while providing Horizons with data of passenger usage to enable the improvement of our services.

“The artwork celebration also provides an opportunity for Whanganui residents to learn more about the bus services available in the city, which currently have free fares.”


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