This week I photographed our dinky tramcar No. 11 (the Box Car) leaving the Red Zone en route to Ferrymead Heritage Park in preparation for the Christchurch Heritage Tram restart. Secured to the trailer deck of BTR’s huge Kenworth road truck, it definitely looked outside its comfort zone as it progressed along Lichfield Street with earthquake rubble piled on all sides. Decidedly incongruous were the artificial flower decorations placed on the tram to promote the 2011 Christchurch Flower Festival. I had previously photographed No.11 against idyllic backdrops of New Regent Street and neo-Gothic Christchurch.
Half an hour later when negotiating a tight bend in Truscotts Station Road No.11, catching the sunlight, looked as charming as ever. Along with Restaurant Tram No.411, it had been trapped in the city Tram Barn after the damaging earthquake hit on February 22, 2011. It suffered broken windows and scrapes from randomly dislodged items.
Its arrival at Ferrymead Heritage Village attracted an impromptu crowd of curious spectators as it was carefully unloaded on temporary light rails to sit comfortably on the Ferrymead Tramway.
The BTR guys, along with tramway mechanics, Steve Lee and Andy Rowe, made the tramcar transportation look relatively easy. They had done this on several occasions and had all the gear.
Joe Pickering drove No.11 to the Tramway Historical Society’s Tram Barn where repairs and a repaint are on the cards. No.11 is the oldest electric tramcar in the city fleet, built in 1903 by J. G. Brill of Philadelphia for the opening of the Dunedin Corporation Tramway. In Christchurch it was a favourite with the tourists.
We are progressing, albeit still in notch one, towards a grand re-opening of the city tramway.