Christchurch Tramway System - Propulsion Systems - Horses


Horses, often the first form of motive power for early tramways elsewhere, were not introduced to Christchurch until 1882 by the Canterbury Tramway Company. They were found to be cheaper to use on shorter lines and where there were fewer passengers. Services provided by both the New Brighton Tramway Company and the City and Suburban Tramway Company were typically hauled by horses as that was the only form of motive power those companies owned.

Where horses were used they were worked in shifts and changed several times a day. The nature of the work was such that the typical working life of a tramway horse was about four years. Though Christchurch’s flat terrain was favourable to the operation of tramways the task of the tramway horse was made more difficult upon occasion by the overloading of tramcars.

When the Christchurch Tramway Board assumed control of the tramways it also acquired some horses from the private tramway companies as a transition measure until such time as its network was fully electrified. A lack of materials delayed the completion of the Board’s line along the route operated by the New Brighton Tramway Company, prompting the Board to hire a private contractor for the supply of horses and drivers to continue to provide services using horse trams until the line was ready for electric tram operation the following year. Horses were also used by the Board on the city to Richmond section of the old City and Suburban line for a short time, possibly due to the demands placed on their resources by the International Exhibition. Those horses that became surplus to requirements were sold to farmers.

Read more about this topic:  Christchurch Tramway System, Propulsion Systems

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Famous quotes containing the word horses:

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