Last evening I had the privilege of joining a Tramway Historical Society group attending an old-fashioned cinema, travelling by similar period transport – Veteran Electric Tramcar, No. 22. The ride to Ferrymead Historical Village was chilly, bumpy and lots of fun. My companions chatted in excited anticipation – just like old times. Ferrymead Historic Park’s Arcadia Cinema is quaintly 1920s as were the flicks (movies). Many were good slapstick comedy with Tram Conductor Cary carrying on with a difficult romance as his 1920s tramcar careered, sometimes precariously, along its course.
Interestingly, 1920s American Tramcar terminology was modelled on Railroad speak of the time. The rather chubby motorman, for example, was said to have spent so much time at the “roundhouse” he had taken on a similar shape. Another flick was a pioneering Trammie training film featuring inevitable collisions with the new-fangled motor cars and perils of trespassing on tracks. Another explained the obvious advantages of designing transport strategies around moving people by rapid transit rather than moving cars – the land use, costs and efficiency. Two poignant television clips showed the lead up to the opening our Christchurch Tramway in 1995. The hilarious evening concluded with supper, enjoyed next door in the Ferrymead Bakery.
Back at the Tram Barn our cherished Boxcar No.11 was sitting on jacks with its motor truck separated while repairs and a repaint are assessed in preparation for its return to the City Loop.