Christchurch Tramway System - Propulsion Systems - Steam


Of the private tramway companies based in Christchurch only the Canterbury Tramway Company and its successor, the Christchurch Tramway Company, ever operated steam motors. The Canterbury Company initially purchased five Kitson steam motors, later ordering a further three. One was scrapped in 1893 and the remaining seven were sold to the Christchurch Tramway Board when the Company ceased operation in 1905.

The Board continued to use steam motors for regular services for a couple of years after commencing operations until its lines were fully electrified but even then continued to use them as demand required it. Several were scrapped in the 1920s but some were retained for use as shunters and in maintenance work until 1935. Three (Kitsons 6, 7, 8) were reconditioned as an emergency wartime measure in 1942. During this time they were also available for charter and special occasions. Kitson no. 7 was the only steam motor still in service by 1950 and the Tramway Historical Society at the Ferrymead Heritage Park is now its custodian.

Only one other steam motor was used on the Christchurch tramway system, a Baldwin locomotive purchased from the New South Wales Government to help out with the International Exhibition and with existing services as horses were being withdrawn.

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

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