Trams Answer for New Christchurch?


Are trams the answer for public transport throughout Christchurch in the new rebuilt city?

A forum called Reimagine Christchurch is busy debating that issue.

For example, David argues:

“After traveling through Europe, I think trams are just the bees knees, they are clean, efficient and quiet. The trams in Adelaide and Melbourne are great and Christchurch would be perfect for them. Buses could feed into tram stations in the outer suburbs and well planned routes into and around the city would be so pleasant and practical to ride. Good tram routes to and from the Airport and Lyttleton would ensure passengers and workers could get in and out of the city with little fuss.”

They are talking modern light rail not heritage trams.

Cathleen comments:

“Modern trams that you see in European cities would be perfect inside the Four Avenues. The grid system is designed for it. Commuters then connect with the Red Buses which could leave from exchanges at the Hospital, Bealey Ave, Fitzgerald Ave and Moorhouse Ave for suburban destinations. I have always felt that the buses were too big for Colombo Street and other streets in the CBD. I am sure the trams could be made in NZ, they build buses in Ashburton, why not trams?”

Layton likes the streetcars in Oregon as a role model for Christchurch. Indeed Oregon’s light role is considered a role model in the US for future urban transportation.


Also being talked about is a Timaru to Christchurch train service.(Hat tip Anthony)




  1. Linz says:

    And even though the mayor is a friend of the Nats he is very keen on reviving light rail for the city. Amazing really - a thinking Nat with good ideas on sustainable cities and good urban design.

  2. Anon says:

    This Light Rail system Mayor Parker is proposing really will make Christchurch a more friendly and lively place to live, work and play.

    It should be the top priority in the rebuilding of Christchurch’s Transport System

  3. mark says:

    Yeah, let Key and Joyce say “Sorry, no money - because of Christchurch!” to THAT idea.

  4. Joff says:

    I’m an ex-Christchurch fellow now living in Melbourne, and I couldn’t agree more. The tram system here (although not without faults) is fantastic, and Chch’s grid system would be perfect for it.

    Time to get with the 21st century, people!

  5. Patrick R says:

    And they’ve got to link the Uni back to the CBD as a priority… moving it to the ‘burbs was the big kicker for decline of the centre…

    An ditch the Noddyland heritage tourist rides for real modern transit, will make a huge diff. to CHCH.

  6. Anthony says:

    It is a good idea, we need to take advantage of the fact that some people won’t be using the city centre for a while now so there will be less disruption, also, when you look at a map of christchurch, you’ll see that it isn’t difficult to make several to-fro lines.

    I would recommend

    -Memorial Ave/Ferry Road Line between Sumner and the Airport.

    -Pages Rd/Blenheim Road Between Hornby/New Brighton.

    -a line going around the inside of the CBD.

  7. Jim C says:

    Its been many years since I was last in Aussie. Between Sydney and Melbourne, Melbourne won heads down. The ability to move around the city on the trams was so easy. I think its an amazing idea if Christchurch re-introduce trams as a modern light rail system. The heritage trams they have could still be used as a tourist ride in the city center.

  8. Donald Neal says:

    I suspect it may be cheaper to use heavy rail to Lyttleton, given the likely safety requirements for vehicles which use the same tracks as full-size freight trains. If that is the case, it’s likely to make sense to use heavy rail in some other places, too.

    That it may be sensible to run heavy electric trains (like Auckland’s?) between, say, Lyttleton and Rolleston, is not an argument against light rail. But it is an argument against treating light rail as the only answer.

  9. Spartan says:

    Don’t worry it won’t be built, it’s far to forward thinking for NZ.


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