Christchurch Debuts Extension to Famed Tramway

A Christchurch tram operates in December 2017. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

The Christchurch Tramway recently opened a long-awaited track extension.

The extension will add another 500 meters (roughly one-third mile) to the current 4.5-kilometer (roughly 2.8-mile) circuit.

The triangular extension will include the tramcars traveling from the corner of Manchester and High Streets east along Lichfield Street before turning into Poplar Street. A new tram stop and shelter will be located on Tuam Street before the tramcars travel north along High Street to link up to the existing circuit.

“We are delighted to soon be operating along an extended tram route,” Christchurch Attractions CEO Sue Sullivan said in a news release. “The Tram has always been a fantastic way to easily connect areas of the city, so we are looking forward to bringing guests to the businesses of the SALT District.”

The extended circuit includes 18 stops along a 5-kilometer line linking various city areas as the Tram travels through New Regent Street, The Terrace and Cashel Mall, SALT District, Worcester Boulevard and Armagh Street.

The extension was planned as part of a longer extension before the Canterbury earthquakes. Portions of the infrastructure were installed in 2009 and 2010.

The extended track uses a previous extension along Oxford Terrace, Cashel and High Streets that opened in 2015. The new extension removes the need for a manual turnaround point, allowing the option of running tram trailers on the circuit for the first time in more than 10 years.

Work on the extension began in 2021 after the Christchurch City Council approved construction in 2019.

“We’d like to acknowledge the Christchurch City Council’s work in completing the extension together with their contractors, as this will be a wonderful asset for the city,” Sullivan said.

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