Word had got out and they were eagerly waiting in Cathedral Junction to see the trams towed out ready to resume public services, the first since the devastating earthquake forced the tramway closure on February 22, 2011.
November 21, 2013 turned out to be a significant day for our Christchurch Tramway. The newly-restored Birney No 15 was the first tram off the rank. It headed off soon after 9 am with a full load of passengers. I was delighted to see the cameras pointed out the windows, anticipating Christchurch views worthy of recording.
The Birney was joined by the Box Car No 11 and occasionally the Brill, No 178. One tram was intermittingly used for driver training. The abbreviated route as far as the Arts Centre and the need to return the same way, passing opposing trams in Cathedral Square, proved to be problem free. Trams were well patronised throughout the day. New Regent Street businesses, especially cafes, reported a boon in patronage. Luckily the day was warm, helping to bring folk out.
That the tramway re-opening was greeted with enthusiasm and as another indication of returning normality, there was no doubt.
Tram staff enjoyed the busy day. Four drivers and two ticket-selling hosts were on duty. I was intrigued to see Masa back in Cathedral Square with his money bag, enticing passers-by to take a tram ride. Interestingly I heard the same questions asked as were in previous times. Suddenly the woes of the last three years seemed to have never existed.