Kaikorai Cable Cars

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The Start .........

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Lines being laid on Stuart Street just above the Octagon.
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The powerhouse under construction on the corner of Taieri Road and Nairn Street.
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.

Starting engine
Engineer of Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company starting engine.
Words with picture from Otago Witness of 7th November 1900 - photo separate source (K248)

First Trams
Dunedin and Kaikorai Tram Company: Cars just starting.
Words with picture from Otago Witness of 7th November 1900 - photo separate source (K257)
Note roof of Kaikorai Presbyterian Church with bell tower at extreme right in background.

......... and the End

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The last car to run on the Kaikorai line was at 11.10p.m. on Friday 31st July 1947.
Jim Sharp was the gripman on that last cable car. It appears that the certificate for the powerhouse boilers expired on that date and those who operated the boilers refused to man them without a current certificate. Presumably it was decided at that time to close the line and the rails were subsequently ripped up as shown in the picture above.

See more on ripping up of the rails
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Eric Brockie inspects the hull of car 125 at a time when the Seacliff Museum was trying to locate old cable cars and trams for possible restoration.
The cable cars were eventually sold off and ended up in various parts of the country, some decayed into ruin and were beyond rescue by restoration enthusiasts in laters years.

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Derelict cable car and trams at Cromwell
Derelict cable car and trams at Cromwell c1953
Photograph (K302)

After the electric trams and cable cars ceased operation they were sold off and found their way to various places around the country. One such place was the Clutha Cabins site on the outskirts of Cromwell where they were converted into novelty accomodation for holiday-makers. The 'cabins' were around about the current (2008) location of the miners monument on the river side of the road just south of Cromwell. Of course the highway was at a lower level until the need to raise it due to the construction of the Clyde Hydro Dam.

The cable car at the bottom right appears to be one from the Roslyn line as the cabin handles next to the gripman's area are curved, where as far as I can ascertain all the other lines had straight or angled handles.