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Museum News Update: 2021



Leyton Chan photo

Above: 19th November 2021: Tram 207 in the Tram Works Ltd. workshop in Otahuhu.  The body has been raised and separated from the steel chassis which has been removed for repairs and renovation.


Above: 14th July 2021:  Tram No. 17 is the centre of a busy tram scene with tram 260 on the platform arrival road and 159 just out of the tram barn.   Tram 17 was towed out of the workshop to check clearances etc.  Most of the electrical work including controllers, resistance grids, buzzers, lighting and other wiring etc. is completed and brake mechanisms are being worked on.  Note that destination and route No. boxes are now fitted.

APRIL 2021:       Tram 207 departs for structural repairs and renovation in Otahuhu, and “Fiducia” class No.244, donated by the Museum of Transport & Technology (MOTAT), Auckland, arrives at the Museum – 21st April 2021


Keith McGavin photo

Above: Fiducia tram No.244 arrives at the Wellington Tramway Museum from MOTAT, 21st April 2021.  It is placed in storage in the tram barn, pending future restoration.


Keith McGavin photo

Above: On the same day the body of Tram 207 departs the Museum for Tram Works Ltd., Otahuhu, where structural repairs to the body and chassis are to be carried out.

Museum News Update: May 2019 – December 2020


A Unique Line-up of our trams on Members’ Day 12th December 2020


Russell Jenkins photo

Above: From left the trams are:  Mk.1 double-saloon No.159, “Fiducia” class No. 239, Combination tram No.17 which is under restoration, Mk.1 double saloon No.151, Mk.2 double saloon No.207 (restoration of which is about to commence) and “Fiducia” class No.260.


Mike Flinn photo

Above: Museum members working on the relaying of the track across the access road to the Queen Elizabeth Park Rangers’ offices and depot and to the northern portion of the Park.  The relaying was carried out in May and June 2020 and resulted in an upgrade to the tramway in this area and a new upgraded road crossing in mass concrete.


Keith McGavin photo

Above: Greater Wellington Regional Council Chairman, Daran Ponter, speaking at the official opening of the new crossing on 19th July 2020.


Summer Season 2019 – 2020

During the 2019 – 2020 Summer the Museum hosted over 1,000 visitors on overseas tours from Australia.  These tours came to an abrupt halt in March 2020 with the Covid-19 lockdown and had been unable to resume up to the 2021/22 season.


Jenny Jenkins photo

Above: One of the many Grand Pacific Tour Groups that visited the Museum in the summer of 2019-2020. The tram is double-saloon type No.159.


Tram No.17 on the first test tow on its new trucks.  27th November 2019.                      Keith McGavin photo


August 2019

On 7th August 2019 two Brill type 22E trucks built by A & G Price Ltd. to the original Wellington pattern were handed over to the Wellington Tramway Museum.  These are for Wellington Tram No. 17 at the Museum.

The two trucks were officially handed over to the

Wellington Tramway Museum at A & G Price Ltd’s engineering works at Thames.


In the photograph are, from left, John Donnelly (A&G Price Ltd Fitter), Leyton Chan (WTM’s Engineer to the Contract), Allan Neilson (WTM’s Vice-President, Maintenance & Engineering), Peter Yates (A&G Price Ltd. Managing Director), Dave Sharpe (A&G Price Ltd. Mechanical Engineer and Project Manager for the Trucks Project), Keith McGavin (Chair, WTM Tram 17 Sub-Committee) and Steve Porter (WTM President).


Ex Wellington TRAM NO. 17

The fully restored body and chassis of Wellington Tram No.17 was returned to the Tramway Museum on 28th June 2018 and was on display in our Museum until 20th March 2019 when it was moved into the Museum’s workshop for the fitting of all the equipment necessary for it to run again under its own power.


Above: Tram No.17’s body and chassis being lowered on to temporary bogies on its arrival back from The Wheelwright Shop where it had been fully restored.  28th June 2018.                             Mike Flinn photo

Above: Tram No.17 in the Tramway Museum’s workshop at Queen Elizabeth Park, 20th March 2019.  Here it will be fitted with remaining body parts such as destination and route Number signs, and with all the electrical and mechanical equipment necessary for it to be returned to operational use.  The last time that Tram No.17 was operational was in 1945 in Wellington.  The body and chassis were sold that year and used until 1986 as a bach in Raumati South                      Mike Flinn photo


Two trucks, or bogies, to the 1904 design are being reconstructed by A & G Price Ltd., Engineers,  Thames, from parts held by Tramway Museum – some obtained from Ballarat in Victoria; motors obtained from the Melbourne tramway system – plus parts manufactured new where original parts are not available.  These are known as Brill type 22E trucks.

Top photo:  New bogie side frames after casting at A & G Price Ltd.                          Leyton Chan photo

Lower picture above:  Impression of a completed truck.  Two are being reconstructed for Tram No. 17.                                                                                                                           Impression courtesy Leyton Chan


Fiducia Tram 239

Below: Our Museum members have recently partially reconstructed one end of this tram to remove some rotten or rusty components and have repainted most of the exterior.      Keith McGavin photo


Above:  20th March 2019 – almost ready to return to service.                       Keith McGavin photo

Museum News Update: June 2018

For the first time in many years four trams were in use at the Museum at one time.  This was on Saturday 12th May when the Museum hosted a visit by Kapiti Coastal scouts, cubs, keas and their parents.

Four trams at the midway passing loop on Saturday 12th May.  From left double saloon 151, double saloon 159, Fiducia 260 and Fiducia 239.         

Restoration of Tram No.17 (body and chassis) at The Wheelwright Shop, Gladstone, nearing completion on 1st May 2018.  Museum visitors will be able to inspect this gem on its completion and return to the Museum before long.                                                                                                                                              Keith McGavin photo

APRIL 2018

Double-saloon tram No.207 for preservation assessment

On 4th April we moved our Wellington double-saloon tram No.207 from the back of the tram barn where it has rested for many years, into our workshop.   No.207 will be the next of our trams to be restored and has been moved there, initially for assessment and sorting of parts.  We look forward to the time when No.207 is fully restored and once again operational.

No.207 is important as the sole remaining complete example of the later type of double saloon tram of which no fewer than 71 were built and ran in Wellington.  They formed the mainstay of the fleet from their introduction during the 1920’s and 30’s until 1963.


Another tram for the Museum!

We have uncovered a treasure – an old tram inside a building at Te Marua, north of Upper Hutt.

This turned out to be an old Wellington tram known as a “Small Palace”.  It is No.86, a 4-wheeler (although now without the single truck and wheels), built in 1911 and thought to have been withdrawn as long ago as 1931.

The owners were keen to clear the site where it had been for many years cocooned inside a building. Fortunately Tramway Museum members were able to help by clearing the building and exposing the tram.   No.86 was moved to the Tramway Museum on 23rd February.

Museum News, 2017

Following the lightning strike damaging our 11Kv power supply equipment in January 2016 the newly restored power supply was inaugurated on 9th December that year and we were able to run trams normally from then until 11th June 2017.

April – August 2017: Upgrading our Overhead Wires and Structures

Taking advantage of an opportunity provided by the Wellington Cable Car Company and timing the work for the winter period when patronage is at its lightest our major development project in 2017 was the full replacement of our overhead wire and the upgrading of all the supporting structures and fittings.  Preparatory work commenced in April and the line was closed from 12th June until 12th August 2017to permit the overhead wire to be replaced.

This has been one of the largest projects ever undertaken by the Museum. Volunteer members worked tirelessly in conjunction with the contractors to see the job through with minimum disruption to the tram services.

Other 2017 Achievements:

2017 - Restoration of Tram No.17’s Body & Chassis continues

This work continued and is well advanced with completion anticipated for Easter 2018.

Restoration of this historic tram – the only survivor of Wellington’s original 1904 fleet  – is being carried out to high conservation standards.

The next major stage toward getting this old tram operational will be the reconstruction of two trucks (bogies and motors).  Plans have been drawn up and during 2018 funds are  being sought.

2017 – 2018 Summer Operations


The Museum is open and trams running, weather permitting, every day from Boxing Day to Wellington Anniversary Day on 22nd January 2018

All are welcome to volunteer to operate, maintain our trams and to help develop our Museum.  For information contact the Museum at

Left:The new 11Kv circuit breaker equipment in the foreground, replaces an old unit that was damaged by lightning.  It was brought into use on 9th December 2016.   The cabinet in the background houses the large mercury arc rectifier bulbs.

Right: Stringing new copper overhead wire along the tram route.  This major project, covering the whole tram line, involved closing the tram line for two months from 12th June 2017.

 Left: Another photo, showing some newly installed replacement overhead poles and brackets.

In May and June 2016 the Wellington Tramway Museum had bestowed upon it two prestigious awards.

Right: The Certificate that was presented to the Museum’s President, Russell Jenkins, by the Mayor of Wellington, Celia Wade-Brown.

Left:  Museum President Russell Jenkins receives the certificate from the Mayor on behalf of all Tramway Museum volunteers. 11th May 2016.

The citation to the award reads as follows:

Tramway Museum Secretary Henry Brittain (right) being presented with the award certificate by Mr Tim Fischer, former Australian Deputy Prime Minister.  Mr Fischer was guest of honour at the FRONZ conference held over Queens Birthday weekend 2016, when the award was presented.

Speaking to the award after it had been presented, Mr Brittain traversed the long term restoration that many members had been involved in, especially Trevor Burling who had overseen the project for most of the time.  He said “the award is a fitting recognition of all those Museum members who over the past thirty-five years have contributed to the end result”.


Hot on the heels of that award the Tramway Museum was presented an award by the Federation of Rail Organisations of NZ (FRONZ).  This was the 2016 TRAMWAY RESTORATION AWARD awarded to the Wellington Tramway Museum for the restoration of Wellington “Fiducia” tramcar No.260.

Restored Tram 260 on 9th January 2016 with conductor Jayden Charteris (left) and motorman Richard Gray.                                                                                                                         


Photo: Allan Neilson

The Wellington Tramway Museum is proud to have achieved these awards which recognise both the contribution our members have and continue to make to the fine recreational and historical facility that the Museum has become, and the high quality of the work achieved.


January- August 2016

Late on Monday 18th January 2016 equipment in the tramway’s substation was struck by lightning causing irreparable damage to the 11,000 volt circuit breakers.  This meant that, from that time, the 500 volt direct current power supply has not been available and so the trams have not been able to operate.

Replacement equipment has been on order for many months but as at August 2016 delivery is still some time away.  Members have therefore decided to install a temporary diesel motor generator set which should supply sufficient capacity to allow one tram to be operated at a time.

During the January to August 2016 period, while the trams have been out of action, we have been busy on the following main projects:

  • ELECTRICAL: Preparing for the arrival of the new electrical equipment and taking the opportunity to carry out a major upgrade to the sub-station and the remainder of the equipment;

  • TRAM NO.260:   Carrying out final restoration work on the newly restored Fiducia class tram No.260

  • TRAM NO. 159:  “Tidying up” our double-saloon tram No.159.  Minor bodywork and roof repairs have been attended to, the windows have all been removed and the window frames renovated, and the roof has been cleaned and painted.

  • TRACK:  A  tramway point on the departure tracks adjacent to the kiosk has been renovated with new sleepers and ballast;


Meanwhile work is proceeding at Gladstone in the Wairarapa on the conservation of the body and chassis of old Wellington Combination tram No.17.

The following photographs give an indication of some of the work carried out:

The 11Kv transformer was not damaged in the lightning strike –rather it was the circuit breakers inside the substation that were damaged.  

Being an outdoor transformer it has always sat in the open, fenced off as shown.

As part of the power supply renovation a roof has been built over it, to lengthen its life. 

By the end of April 2016 a substantial new building had been erected, and the transformer had been repainted.

The new building, constructed as a lean-to off the white substation behind, also includes a substantial covered storage area as shown above.

Rewiring and renovation work being undertaken by members in the substation.  June 2016

This photo shows a cable trench that extends from the substation building  to the Museum’s “Palace” tearoom.  Cable has since been laid and will allow the tram power to be operated remotely from the tea-room rather than the operator having to enter the sub-station.

Tramway substation showing the new transformer building, June 2016


June- August 2016

Members excavating for re-sleepering and relaying a tramway point adjacent to the tramway kiosk, June 2016.

Almost completed relaying of the point – August 2016


Fiducia tram 260 in the workshop, August 2016, receiving final touches to its restoration.

Double-saloon tram No.159 in the workshop, August 2016, receiving attention to the tram body, roof and windows.

Good progress is being made on Combinaton Tram Number 17. The above photos show the closed and open sections of the tram body.

Inside the closed saloon showing the meticulous woodwork.  The longitudinal seats are being remade.  August 2016.



To see a video showing the events of the Tramway Museum's 50th Anniversary celebrations please click here


On Saturday 19th December 2015 we celebrated fifty years since the first portion of our tramway was opened back on Sunday 19th December 1965. Well over 100 members, ex members and their families and friends enjoyed a day of celebration which took the form of an open day where they could inspect the trams and new museum displays and relax and catch up with old friends and on all the activities of the museum over the years. 


After a pleasant buffet lunch came the highlight – the appearance of restored tram 260, which was driven out of the workshop under its own power.  It was its first public appearance for some 35 years!   There is still work to do on it but it will not be long before it is back in every day service taking visitors to and from the Beach.


After an introduction by radio announcer Rob Webb speeches were delivered by Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington and co-patron of the Wellington Tramway Museum, and by Russell Jenkins, President.   Then it was time to cut the anniversary cake this important mission being undertaken by three men who were founding members of the first committee back in September 1960 – David Rarity, John Lawes and Graeme Bennett.    Ngaire Donaldson, widow of tram driver member the late Noel Donaldson, then cut a birthday cake in honour of tram 260’s 63rd birthday which was that very day.


The assembled crowd was then piped over to the platform where three trams awaited for a celebratory ride to the Beach and back.


Here are a few photographs of the event:

Above: Members and guests enjoying the buffet lunch. 

                                             Photo: Iain Hill

Right: Russell Jenkins, President, and Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington and co-patron on the Museum.                                                                                                                                                        Photo: Iain Hill

Above – from left David Rarity, John Lawes and Graeme Bennett, members of the original 1960 committee, prepare to cut the anniversary cake, 19th December 2015.  Russell Jenkins, President, on right                                                                                                                                                Photo: Keith McGavin

Tram 260 emerges into the daylight.  This is its first official public appearance for thirty-five years.

Photo: Iain Hill

Ngaire Donaldson cuts the Fiducia 260 birthday cake                                     


Photo: Keith McGavin

Three trams at the Beach.      


Photo: Iain Hill

1965 (and prior) members line up in front of tram 260                                  


Keith McGavin collection

A new book "WELLINGTON TRAMWAY MUSEUM THE FIRST FIFTY YEARS, 1965 - 2015" has been published.

  It contains a full description and photographs of the history and growth of the Museum over 50 years.   

It is A4 portrait format, 48 pages and with 94 colour photographs,7 tables and a map. 


For ordering details please click here

Tram 17- Progress on Conservation

February - March 2015


Greg and Ali Lang and their team at The Wheelwright Shop, Gladstone, have made significant progress on the refurbishment of the A end motorman’s cabin and the manufacture of new external entry doors and steel apron including head and tail light.

Above: Restored “A” end motorman’s cabin – March 2015.  Metal apron, headlight and taillight fitted temporarily.                                                               Photo: Greg Lang

Above: Open section of Tram 17 showing new seats and looking through bulkhead to “A” end motorman’s cabin.  New side pillars have also been manufactured and fitted. – April 2015                                                                                      Photo: Keith McGavin

Above: External view of cabin doors and timber frame, “A” end, prior to fitting of metal apron, February 2015.                                              Photo: Trevor Burling  

Above: Tram 17: “A” end, new external entry doors (interior view) and restored bulkhead – February 2015                                                                Photo: Trevor Burling

Above: Another view showing the open section seating plus side pillars and roof detail including clerestories; April 2015.                                           Photo: Russell Jenkins

Above: “B” motorman’s platform and cabin – restoration in progress, April 2015

                                                              Photo: Keith McGavin

The “A” end and the open section are nearing completion and the team will soon be moving to the saloon area which will be a lot easier to restore as most of it is still intact and more a case of refurbishment. The bulk head between the saloon and the motorman’s cabin will need to be manufactured and will be a mirror image of the one that still exists between the saloon and the open section, including a sliding door.

Above: A tram of No.17’s type, possibly No.17.  There were eight trams of this series, Nos. 13 – 20, and all were 1911 rebuilds from four wheeled box cars.  The two-thirds closed-in portion was the original box car while the open portion on the left of the photograph was new.

Above: Interior of part of Tram 17
as a seaside bach in Raumati South

The body and chassis of No.17 were recovered in 1986 from the back of a property in Jeep Road, Raumati South, Kapiti,
where it had been in use since about 1947 as a sleep-out or holiday bach.  In 2007 the Tramway Museum commissioned
a conservation plan to determine and describe the historical value of the tram and make detailed recommendations regarding its conservation.


Significance of Tram No.17


The research carried out in preparing the conservation plan soon determined that No.17 was indeed worth preserving. As already stated it is the last and only survivor of Wellington’s first batch of electric trams.  As well as that it the very tram which hastened the introduction of an important piece of legislation in New Zealand’s tramway history when, in 1913, the historic “Davey clause” in the Tramways Amendment Bill of that year became law.  This clause caused all tramway operators to provide an internal passage way from end to end on every tramcar.  The reason No.17 was involved in this is because on the evening of 13th September 1913 the tram conductor on No.17, while hanging on to the side footboards (as conductors had to do in order to collect fares), missed his footing and fell to his death.  This was the latest in a series of such incidents and caused a nationwide union “cause célèbre”, resulting in the legislation.  Another significant feature of tram No.17 is that it will become one of the few trams of the four foot (1219.2mm) track gauge to be preserved in the world.  This gauge was relatively rare but was recommended for Wellington by Mr W R Wright, who was brought from the United Kingdom to be the first electrical engineer for the Wellington Tramways.


No. 17 – Conservation of its Body and Chassis


Fundraising for this project began in earnest in 2012 when the Wellington Tramway Museum launched a campaign.  We are greatly indebted to the many visitors to the Museum, members and friends of the Museum, who donated to this cause and also to the community trusts and the Lottery Grants Board which have supported us.    It enabled the Museum, late in 2013, after calling for and considering tenders, to award a contract for the conservation of the Body and Chassis of the tram to “The Wheelwright Shop” of Gladstone in the Wairarapa.   The total value of the work to be undertaken, including input from Museum members and the contract, will be around $430,000.

The tram (body and chassis) was transported from the Tramway Museum to The Wheelwright Shop in January 2014.  It is a two year project and we intend to illustrate progress on this exciting work on this website from time to time.


Hover over image to scroll. Double click for full screen view

No. 17 – Provision of Trucks and Running Gear

As recommended in the conservation plan the Museum’s intention is to have this tram running again on the Kapiti Coast Electric Tramway where it will provide quite a contrast to the Museum’s other trams which date from the 1920’s to 1950’s and will be a wonderful historic exhibit.


We have therefore launched a second fund raising initiative – this time it is to provide trucks (bogies) and electric motors for the tram.   Being an earlier type of truck they are quite different, technically and in appearance, to the trucks on our operating trams.  Our target is $200,000 – this amount will be sufficient to have two historically correct Brill 22E “Eureka” restored and converted, or manufactured for the tram.

Above: A Brill 22E “Eureka” truck, as required for Tram No.17.

None of these trucks are available in New Zealand.  It may be possible to source two of these trucks from overseas.  However if this course is adopted they will require extensive refurbishment and restoration and will need to be re-gauged
to Wellington’s four foot track gauge.  Otherwise they will be built from new, using original plans and patterns.

Wellington Trams on YouTube

See how the streets of Wellington in New Zealand were like in the sixties.

This video appears to be a compilation put together from a number of different occasions and taken by more than one photographer and includes scenes of the last tram on 2nd May 1964.


The views of the older type double saloon type tram No.207 were of a special charter trip run by the fledgling Tramway Preservation Association (later to become the Wellington Tramway Museum) on 14th September 1963 - thought to be the last time a tram other than the more modern Fiducia type ran in Wellington's streets.

There are other scenes clearly taken in within the last year of the final tram but in normal service through the middle of Wellington. The last tram was No.252 - there were three trams which took part in the May 2nd 1964 ceremony at Thorndon (shown in the film) - No. 250 (3rd to last), 251 (2nd to last) and 252 (last). No.252 is preserved at the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland.


No audio source available. Many thanks to Elliott Young.

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