I have spotted a new tramcar on Christchurch Tramways. R Class, No.1888. was making its first revenue run on Christmas Day 2017.
``New’’ is not quite the correct expression. It was built in 1934 by Clyde Engineering, Granville, NSW, for use by the NSW Government Tramways. Numbered 1088, it ran on the Sydney tramway network till 1959 when it was donated to the Sydney Tramway Museum. It had been on lease to MOTAT in Auckland prior to being shipped to Christchurch where it was repainted at Ferrymead Heritage Park by Tramways Heritage Trust people and prepared for a new lease of life. The original predominantly green livery was replaced with light blue enabling 1888 to stand out from other Christchurch city tramcars.
No. 1888 is on a 20-year lease from Sydney Tramway museum. Howard Clark, chair of the museum, was in Christchurch to see the tramcar arrive in the city. He approved of the new blue and cream livery and its renumbering from 1088 to eighteen eighty-eight.
I cannot think of one thing wrong with it, ’’ he said. ``Its new livery suits the type of tramcar it is.’’
Its light blue and cream livery will make 1888 stand out from the other city tramcars. It is expected to be a great asset to Christchurch Tramway owing to the increased numbers of visitors and capacity required on the extended tram route. The new addition brings the number of Christchurch heritage trams to seven. One is the popular Restaurant tram No. 411 also leased from Sydney Tramway Museum.
Interesting heritage features retained include notices in the saloon.