Mable, the Number 12 Tram
A fully restored, authentic electric tram from 1908
In 2014, after many years of volunteer hard work, “Mable”, the No. 12 vintage electric tram celebrated her first public outing on the riverbank of Whanganui. The tram was built by Boon and Co in Christchurch around 1911 and began operating here on the 26th of November in 1912.
Until the 1950’s Whanganui’s tram network carried passengers between the outer suburbs, the beach and the CBD. Opened in 1908, Wanganui was the first provincial town to have a tramway and twelve trams were commissioned by the then Mayor Mackay. “Mable” is believed to have operated mainly between Victoria Avenue in the centre of the town and the coastal suburb of Castlecliff.
Today you can see her housed in the bright red tram shed, gifted to the city by David Harre in the 1990’s from its previous relocation in Auckland.
Since then, the Tramways Trust and Wanganui District Council have worked together to get the tram operating again. The overhead electrical system and donated parts were installed by volunteers and the contributions of the Tramways Trust’s partners – the Wellington Tramways Museum and MOTAT in Auckland. At the opening ceremony in 2014, Paulene Emerson was asked to cut the ribbon, in honour of her late husband Martin, who was one of the driving forces behind having the tram restored, even travelling to Australia for parts.
Now it is not unusual to see couples enjoy the tram as a backdrop for their wedding photos. The tram posts along the river post are square as were original tram poles. Beautifully lit up at night by blue LED light strips this system contributes to the enchantment of the Whanganui River night scene.
Public rides are available on set days and children over the age of 75 years can ride for free!
The Museum also contains the Tingey Wagon, built about 1900, specifically for the transportation of crates of glass from the Whanganui Wharf to the Tingey Glass premises in Victoria Avenue.
Number 12 tram opening
First in NZ
Opened in 1908, Whanganui was the first provincial town to have a tramway sytem.
This Is it!
Not only the only Provincial tramways system in NZ – it is also the shortest in the Southern Hemisphere!
The Number 12 Tram used to run mainly from the City Centre and out to Castlecliff Beach in the days before cars became the norm.
Check out our range of brochures, itineraries and other info on this and many other things to do in Whanganui! Click here!