Trams to make a comeback on Auckland’s streets   3 Jun 2010

Auckland Regional Council - Auckland Regional Council (ARC) sees waterfront tramway as part of its legacy to Auckland.


After an absence of more than 50 years electric trams are coming back to Auckland.

The ARC has given its formal support to a heritage tram project along Auckland’s waterfront, to be managed by Sea+City Projects Limited (Sea+City), an ARC Group subsidiary.

The project’s first phase will see heritage trams circuiting the 30 hectare redeveloped Wynyard Quarter linking it with the Britomart Transport Centre.

The proposal was first brought to the ARC’s Transport and Urban Development Committee last year by the Campaign for Better Transport and Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). Feasibility studies have been carried out by the ARC and Sea+City who developed a two phased proposal for the tramway.

Phase one will focus on Wynyard Quarter with a single track loop circuiting Gateway Plaza, Jellicoe Street, Halsey Street, Gaunt Street and Beaumont Street. This is planned to be ready in time for the Rugby World Cup.

Sidings at the western end of Jellicoe Street would house the trams in buildings beside the proposed Silo Park which is being designed to attract people to the western end of Jellicoe Street.

“The return of trams to Auckland’s streets will make a real point of difference for the Wynyard Quarter,” says ARC Chairman, Michael Lee.

“This is a modest beginning, but the longest journey starts with one small step.”

Phase two will see the trams linking to the CBD and connecting with existing public transport at Britomart and on Queen Street.

In approving the project the ARC has recommended Sea+City to work with MOTAT on the technical aspects of tramway construction and management.

John Dalzell, Chief Executive and Project Director for Sea+City, says the concept of running trams around Wynyard Quarter will further activate the area for public use and enjoyment.

The ARC has signalled it would like to see Auckland heritage trams from MOTAT on the waterfront and has also been in discussions with officials of the Victorian government seeking some Melbourne trams on long term loan.

“Auckland’s popular electric trams were removed from the city streets in 1956 which was a terrible mistake in my opinion.”

“The ARC would like to see the return of some of those same trams to Auckland’s waterfront as part of the council’s legacy to the people of Auckland,” says Mr Lee.

No decisions have been made on who will operate the tramway which is being designed as an attraction for the public and visitors to Auckland while providing convenient access around the whole Wynyard Quarter. The tramway will eventually link the future Wynyard Headland Park, North Wharf and the Viaduct Events Centre with Britomart and Queens Wharf.

ENDS

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