Friday, June 4, 2010

Trams Return To Auckland!

After more than half a century, trams are returning to Auckland: the regional council (ARC) has given formal support to a heritage tram project on the waterfront.
Phase One brings heritage trams (from Auckland's Museum of Transport and Technology - MOTAT) to ride a circuit around the Wynyard Quarter, along Jellicoe, Halsey, Gaunt and Beaumont Streets, and should be ready in time for the *yawn* 2011 Rugby World Cup.

But let's face it: there's not much IN that area to interest tourists – marine storage, ships' chandlers, offices, warehouses... and due to the high-masted vessels often moved via those streets, there'll be no overhead lines - the trams'll run on battery power. Also, there're so few original Auckland heritage trams remaining, that some may be imported from Melbourne!
Still, it's a (long overdue) start...and if you look at the interactive Sea+City website, you'll see future dreams for the Wynyard Quarter which promise the sort of waterfront that the city deserves.
Phase two connects the trams to the CBD and existing public transport.
The project's planned as a tourist attraction but, sadly, after all the penny-pinching and development delays over Party Central and The Viaduct in time for the Rugby World Cup, this feels like "too little, too late". I hope I'm wrong.

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