Trams ready to rattle in central city
Christchurch's trams will be back on track by the middle of next month.
Pace has picked up restoring inner-city tracks, installing overhead wires, repainting trams and a Christchurch City Council committee today should to give the tourist attraction the green light.
That would be "a big tick for the city and the recovery", Christchurch Tramway managing director Michael Esposito said.
There have been repeated delays to their return but officials are confident they will be back by mid-October.
The initial route will start at the top of New Regent St, weave through Cathedral Junction, across Cathedral Square and down to Canterbury Museum and back.
Problems accessing parts of Armagh St mean it will be March 2014 at the earliest before the full "loop" is available.
Extending the route down Oxford Tce through to the Re:Start mall could be done by May next year.
All trams will have new screens to show visitors what inner-city spaces looked like before the earthquakes and what they could look like in the future.
It was deliberately steering away from showing customers "the doom and gloom" shots other attractions offered, Esposito said.
A report to the council's planning committee said an October partial opening "appears to be achievable."
Council central city and projects principal advisor Dave Hinman having the trams back would "help add life and vitality to the retail core."
"Having this city icon running once more will give a boost of confidence to the local visitor industry, will help reconnect the central city visitor accommodation and attractions as they re-open."
Businesses returning to the central city had also said they wanted the trams back.
The report also hinted it could be possible to extend the tram route to the Manchester/High/Lichfield streets corner where business activity is increasing.
The council estimates it will spend $1.57 million bringing trams back to the inner city.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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