1929 Class "Big Car"
Built by Henderson and Pollard for the Auckland Transport Board, this tram was one of 25 cars completed between March 1930 and December 1930.
Specification as built
Double truck, single saloon with smoking partition, roll over back seats, single arch roof with fixed ventilators, separate enclosed motorman's compartments, glass fronts, V-destination signs, two trolley poles. Locally built ATB trucks. The colour scheme was Columbia light red, cream lower panels, facings and mouldings with black lining.
Although the appearance of these cars was similar to a previous Auckland tram design - known as the 'semi-steels', this series of trams were built to a width of 8 feet unlike previous Auckland tramcars which were all 7'6" in width. The extra width was used to make the transverse seats on each side of the saloon and the aisle all 2" wider. Although only 6" wider these trams look massive by comparison to other Auckland tramcars of the period, hence they became known as the "Big Cars"
The History of Car 229
229 entered service in November 1930 and was driven by Thomas Collecutt on the Onehunga Run until his retirement in 1949. 229 was part of the Epsom depot fleet and was one of the last remaining operational cars at the close of the Auckland Tramway System in December 1956.
In 1937 229 underwent a major rebuild with the locally made ATB trucks replaced with Brush Improved trucks. The saloon sides were modernised, smoking partition removed, window wipers fitted and the car was repainted in a new colour scheme with the lower saloon panels painted red.
In 1949 the saloon sides were modernised further with the replacement of the kauri side panels with Swedish hardboard and the internal saloon paneling replaced with aluminium. The varnished interior of the car was repainted chocolate brown with a cream ceiling.
In 1957 229 was scrapped and its body sold for use as a packing shed on a chicken farm in the Bombay Hills south of Auckland. In 1994 229 was relocated to covered storage in Henderson to await restoration.
Restoration work commenced in 2000 with the car being carefully dismantled and documented. Unlike many tram bodies 229 was not heavily modified while used as a packing shed and was complete except for one missing sand box seat and running gear.