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Whanganui District Council and the Tramways Wanganui Trust have worked together to get the historic No. 12 Tram on tracks and available for public use.
On Monday, 2 June 2014, No 12 carried passengers for the first time, along the riverside track between the Tram Shed (on the corner of Moutoa Quay and Drews Avenue) and the Whanganui Riverboat Centre.
The ownership of the tram is being restructured. The Tramways Trust will continue to be responsible for the maintenance and operations of the tram service. However, the Council is establishing a separate ownership trust to safeguard the tram for the people of our district and ensure it remains a community asset. The Tram Ownership Trust will lease the tram assets to the Tramways Trust, who will need to prepare an operational plan that ensures the tram can operate as a viable riverbank attraction.
No 12 Tram (also known as Mable) had her first public outing along the tram tracks on 18 January 2014. A large crowd cheered as the tram exited the Tram Shed and made her way along the riverfront tram tracks.
The overhead electrical system has been installed (November 2013). This work was mostly done by volunteers, some of them specialised lines personnel from Tenix in Whanganui. The Tramways Trust's partners – the Wellington Tramways Museum and Motat in Auckland - donated some special parts for the overhead, free of charge.
The LED lighting was completed in January 2013 and looks fantastic. As well as looking great, it's energy efficient and low cost. Blue LED strip lights are fitted to the tram posts along the riverfront. There are also LED uplighters at ground level.
All the light poles and overhead lights were installed by mid-December 2012 (see image below). The light fittings are an LED type fitting which has a low running cost.In early December 2012 we began installing the tram poles (see photos below). The poles will hold the lighting and catenary (overhead wire) system.You may wonder why the poles are square. It’s because the poles for the original tram system were square. In fact there’s the remnant of an old tram pole in Taupo Quay, right opposite the former Chronicle building (see photo below). Also, the square look fits in well with the boardwalk and other features in the environment which are angular and linear.
The tram was built by Boon & Co in Christchurch in about 1911 and began operating in Whanganui on 26 September 1912. It is believed Tram 12 operated mainly between Victoria Avenue and the coastal suburb of Castlecliff. The Wanganui Corporation Tramways ceased operating in September 1950 and sold all assets including the trams.
Tram 12 was bought and relocated to Auckland where it was stored until David Harre bought it in 2000.
Tram 12 is a single truck Californian style with an open section at each end and a clerestory roof. Direct current from an overhead catenary provides power to the tram via electric motors.