Kaikorai Cable Cars – The start…

The Kaikorai line was the last of the three cable car services to be constructed for the hill suburbs of Dunedin. Construction of the line from the Octagon to the Nairn Street terminus at Kaikorai commenced in 1897 and took three years to complete. The first tram ran on 9th October 1900.

Looking at the picture (above left) you will see some “U” shaped devices either side of the tracks being constructed. These were made from sections of the steel tracks and were put into the ground with the open end upwards. You can see these in the centre of the tracks where the ‘tunnel’ for the cable car gripper was to travel.

Initially a steel wire rope was used but this later changed to a ‘conventional’ rope in 1940. The rope lasted a bit less than 2 years before having to be replaced.

Lines being laid on Stuart Street just above the Octagon.

Lines being laid on Stuart Street just above the Octagon.

The powerhouse under construction on the corner of Taieri Road and Nairn Street.

The powerhouse under construction on the corner of Taieri Road and Nairn Street.

Engineer of Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company starting engine. Picture from Otago Witness of 7th November 1900

Engineer of Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company starting engine.
Picture from Otago Witness of 7th November 1900

Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company: Cars just starting. From Otago Witness of 7th November 1900 Note roof of Kaikorai Presbyterian Church with bell tower at extreme right in background.

Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company: Cars just starting.
From Otago Witness of 7th November 1900
Note roof of Kaikorai Presbyterian Church with bell tower at extreme right in background.

 

(Original article by Alan Gilchrist)

Ross

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