The Kapiti Coast Electric Tramway
We offer an interesting and rewarding experience for people of all ages. Using real old Wellington trams, you can take a return ride of nearly four kilometres through the Wellington Region’s premier coastal park,
- through the coastal dunes and with views of
The trams date from the 1920’s and 1930’s and were used in Wellington city until closure of the last tram routes in the early and mid 1960’s. Now they are lovingly cared for and operated by volunteer members of the Wellington Tramway Museum – a not-for-profit incorporated society which built, owns, and maintains the tramway.
Travelling in our trams is an experience not to be missed – for those who can remember “the trams” it is a nostalgic experience, bringing back the sounds and feelings of yesteryear. And if you are younger, it is a piece of history – a learning experience that will help all people understand life in the city in the early and mid 20th century.
The Wellington Tramway Museum society, which owns the Tramway, was incorporated in 1964 as a non-profit organisation to preserve tramcars and other items of tramway interest, to establish and operate a working tramcar museum and to foster an interest in tramways generally.
Seven Wellington trams were transported from the Newtown tram sheds in Wellington a few weeks after the closure of Wellington's last tram route on 2 May 1964. After a period of temporary storage all had arrived at Oueen Elizabeth Park by mid-1965.
First tram operation, which was over a very short track length, was in February 1965 and the official opening of the first 200 metres of route was on 19 December 1965. The rails had been obtained from contractors who were ripping them out of Wellington's streets as scrap. They were repaired and laid by Museum members who also erected the overhead wires and installed a 500 volt direct current power supply- initially a generator in a diesel bus.
The Museum site is leased from the Wellington Regional Council. Tram operations have helped provide funds for installation of a permanent (mercury-arc) power supply (1970), the main tram barn (1978) the large storage building at the rear of the leased property (1982), together with track extensions in 1985 and to the Beach picnic area (1988).
The Wellington Tramway Museum Incorporated
The Kapiti Coast Electric Tramway extends from the depot area just inside the Queen Elizabeth Park gates at MacKay's Crossing, to Whareroa Beach. A return ride takes about 20 minutes and the trams run normally every half hour – more frequently when busy.
An historical display is located in the tram barn and comprises an interesting selection of photographs and other memorabilia. An old Wellington cable-car and other trams may also be viewed.
Videos showing trams running in Wellington and at the museum are shown in the museum theatre.
Photo: Allan Neilson
Further improvements have been the installation of a tram maintenance pit (1993) and the large tram workshop building (1996). In addition much voluntary effort and funds, go into the maintenance and restoration of the trams with two having so far received major restoration attention.