Local Heart, Global Soul

September 18, 2018

History On The Rails…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The trams that run in the centre of Christchurch are vintage trams that have been lovingly restored to their former glory. 

I’ve been on them and both the inside and outsides are beautiful, and spotless. 

I see from the sign on one of them that it’s an Invercargill tram, and suddenly realise I have no clue which New Zealand cities had trams around the turn of the 20th Century.

I know that Christchurch had a tram system but then the rails were removed, now they are back (in a limited form) to take tourists around the city centre. Wikipedia tells us that:

steam and horse trams from 1882. Electric trams ran from 1905 to 1954, when the last line to Papanui was replaced by buses in 1954. A few lines were reopened in the city in 1995. The track is standard gauge, 1,435 mm (4 ft. 8 1⁄2 in).”

There is now a 2.5-kilometre (1.6 mi) central city loop heritage tram system, opened in February 1995 and running all year round, as well as a 1.4-kilometre (0.87 mi) extension opened in February 2015 and a tram museum at the Ferrymead Heritage Park with operating trams.

The extension is part of an additional loop planned and partially constructed during late 2000s, and a new strategy report by Jan Gehl commissioned for Council and published in early 2010 suggested an extension of the tram system (and integration of the trams into the general public transport system) as one of a package of measures aimed at reducing car-dominance in the city.”

“In response to the major earthquakes of 2010/11 the Central City Plan adopted by the Christchurch City Council calls for the establishment of a light-rail network in Christchurch.

Initially a line between the central city and the University of Canterbury would be built at a cost of $406m to trial the idea while a study would be conducted to assess the feasibility of extending the network to other destinations such as Christchurch International Airport, Hornby, Lyttelton, Northlands Mall, and New Brighton. Heritage tram services would remain in the central city but that operation is under review pending decisions on when it will be safe to repair the infrastructure and run services but also options for linking it with public transport services.”

The Wikipedia link at the bottom of this post documents every stage of the early Christchurch trams, well worth a look if you like trams and social history. These are beautiful carriages and I hope to see tram lines extended all over the city.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch_tramway_system
Wikipedia / Christchurch tramway system / New Zealand

August 10, 2018

Sheep On The Line!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Himself and I are taking an early morning tour of Christchurch’s, (New Zealand) central city to see for ourselves how the rebuild process if going on after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Whilst looking around Manchester Street we see a tram parked up at the end of High Street and I spot something quirky.

Himself obligingly does a “U” turn and I go in for a closer look.

At the end of the track are buffers: metal boxes filled with concrete, a necessary safety feature and probably a standard fixture.

These fixtures however are far from standard: they have been made to look like sheep and painted in bright colours.

It’s a fun and quirky way to disguise a mundane utilitarian object, well not really even “disguise” because these draw attention to themselves, but in a totally different way to how they might as plain lumps of metal filled with concrete.

I think they are delightful, they avoid the usual problem of being blocks that might be targets for messy graffiti, will amuse kids and adults alike with their whimsical tails, ears and faces and legs and serve their safety purpose as well.

I think these are wonderful… there can be no missing these “sheep” on the lines!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 25, 2016

The “Strippen Kaart”, A Nostalgic Look At A Dutch Legendary Treasure.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The last thing that I want to talk about from our visit to  “Het Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum” (the Hague Public Transport Museum) is a metal yellowy-orange box that anyone who has lived in the Netherlands will recognise instantly.

It’s the stamp machine that was used to stamp the famous “Nationale Strippen Kaart”.

For decades these cards could be found in millions of Dutch wallets and bureau drawers to be used as payment for rides on the busses and trams all around the Netherlands. They were also valid payment for a few train lines too.

On each tram or bus (and information board at each halt) there would be a list of all the halts on that route.

The stripper card system was that you would count the number of halts to your destination, add one and then stamp of that number of strips from your strip card.

So one halt would be two strips, two halts would be three strips etc. Additionally there was a time element and a zone element to the system as well.  Between two and  four strips (1 hour /between 1 and 3 zones), five and seven strips (1.5 hours / between 4 and 6 zones), …between seventeen and twenty strips, (3.5 hours / 16 or more zones).

It sounds complicated but if  you have to travel into the centre of the city and the journey would cost you four strips, but your errands there took less than one hour, you could either return home on the same strips without re-stamping, or go on to a new destination (worth four strips or less) within three zones of the original stamp.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

An inspector on the tram would be able to look at the time on the stamp and know where (which zone) and when you got on the tram, thus work out if you needed to stamp again or not.

Of course there were fare abusers, they were often conspicuous by the fact they that would prefer to stay standing as close to the stamp machine as possible, even when seats further down the tram were available.

Their standing position meant they could see if uniformed inspectors where waiting to board at the next halt to inspect the tram, then they would quickly stamp their cards to avoid a heavy instant fine.

The inspectors often boarded trams in mufti and knowing this trick pounced on these people first when doing an inspection.

Of course I heard the fare avoiders say ” it was only this one time” but everyone knew they were lying through their teeth and they dodged fares constantly.

Before we saved up and bought our car, I used the tram to go to work and saw more shenanigans than you could list. Certain routes and particular halts were prime targets for fare dodgers, raids by inspectors were carried out accordingly.

On one of the trams I took to get to work, the same girl got caught four or five times in a month,  the spot fines exceeded at least six months of travel, so cheating the system certainly wasn’t cost efficient, for her at least.

Later on I got an “abonnement” where you paid for a monthly card and could have unlimited travel within the zones you had paid for, within that month.

I eventually switched to the car after having children because getting to the daycare centre that my work subsidised, was so far out of my way via public transport that it cost me an extra hour each way. By car it cost me about fifteen minutes.

The “Strippen Kaart” came in three sizes: the blue Fifteen and Forty-five strip cards for adults, a pink half priced Fifteen strip card for senior citizens and children eleven years of age or younger, and finally, a small two strip card that the driver would issue if you came to him when you got on because you didn’t have a card.Getting a strippen card from the driver was by far the most expensive way to travel so was to be avoided where ever possible.

The regular blue and pink Strippen Kaarten were available to purchase from every tobacconists, supermarket and bookshop, so most people bought two cards at a time, you used one, and as soon as you started the second one you would buy a new “spare”.

Although I used the car for work most of the time, occasionally Himself would need the car and I would use a strip card for the tram. I still had a “spare” adult and child card in the drawer when I had my accident, and I haven’t been on a tram since, so after the Strippen Kaarten were phased out I was left with a couple of pristine cards that might well be worth something one day.

Today the Dutch travel on public transport with electronic “OV Chip” cards, which I have also not used to date because the nearest tram halt is beyond my pain threshold on crutches. Himself and the kids do use the new ones though, especially for trips to the centre of town where parking can be a nightmare. In the meantime I find a certain nostalgia in these old cards… as do many Dutch people I suspect.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Photograph above: (old) 45 strip adult card, photograph below: 15 strip child/senior citizen card…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(New) 45 strip adult card, note the black edging…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(old) 15 strip adult card…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Next… the card(s) you buy from the driver… if your fare falls between card values ie 5 strips, there will be no change given, you pay for three cards (six strips). Not a cheap way to travel…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The first OV Chip cards (these are one time use paper ones) there are plastic ones that can be topped up…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The two new 15 strip cards I found with the rest… I will keep them for nostalgia’s sake…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

15 strip adult cards… three different editions, fare increases and different styling…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

15 strip kid/ senior edition, price increase and new styling…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The oldest card in my collection… sadly used and not in mint condition…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The stamping machine, usually 3 (or four) in each tram… in stations also outside at tramhalt… everyone remembers jumping on a tram in the rush-hour and the flurry of “peep” noises that the machine gave when each card was stamped successfully one after another. You had to fold the card over in the right place to put it into the machine, that’s why so many of my strippen kaart are bent up…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Calculating the number of stops and thus how many strips to stamp off…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 24, 2016

People Come And Go, Cities Continue To Evolve Around Them…

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Aside from the Party and Restaurant trams, the Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum (the Hague Public Transport Museum) also has a bar/restaurant above the museum with a large dining room,  available for special event bookings, weddings and all sorts of parties.

Our small group had a small snack upstairs after our tram tour and before we checked out the rest of the museum.

Both the restaurant upstairs and the bookshop below are called the “Remise” (Depot) and if you or any of your party are tram spotters, there is the added bonus that the inner windows give a wonderful view of the historic trams and busses in the inside parking area below.

In the book shop there are more train, tram and bus books available than I ever imagined possible, plus various souvenirs.

There was one historic photograph (the first in this blog post) that especially caught my eye because the tram had what looked a bit like a train engine on the front of it. All was revealed when I read the caption : “Over de Rijswijkseweg reed tot 1924 een stoomtram van de HTM naar Rijswijk n Delft. In 1924 nam de lecktrische trams het over. ca. 1900, fotograaf onbekend.” Translated this reads: “along  the Rijswijkseweg there was a steam tram from Rijswijk  to Delft until 1924, when an electric tram took over. Circa 1900, Photographer unknown”

I never knew that our trams used to run on steam! It was also possible to see how dramatically the city had changed since  many of them were taken, a reminder that in one hundred years from now, The Hague, and other cities around the world will probably be less recognisable than we know it too. People come and go, cities continue to evolve around them.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

April 23, 2016

The Museum’s Museum Is Rather Cool…

Next  we go into the display section of  Het Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum (the Hague Public Transport Museum). It’s more extensive that I thought and so interesting that even the kids lingered..

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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April 12, 2016

Avoid The Crowds And Go For The Tram During A Heatwave…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Summer holidays can be long when you are staying at home for weeks on end.

During the Summer of 2015 Himself had clients who wanted urgent work out to complete a long project, with an almost certain prospect of sending him a larger quantity of work to follow, and I had medical appointments, so with the exception of two weeks, we had a “staycation” at home in The Hague.

Little Mr enjoyed playing on the street with neighbourhood friends, Kiwi Daughter was working at the beach so one Sunday we decided to check out the Het Haags Openbaar Vervoer Museum (The Hague Public Transport Museum).

Their location is also the site of the Stichting Haags Bus Museum (The Hague Bus Museum Foundation) and Parallelweg where a large Remise (Depot) is located.

(Remise is pronounced ” ram ees”) and is where the trams and busses sleep at night when not on duty.

All of the various Remise buildings are roughly one hundred years old so they are beautiful buildings in their own right. Parking on the busy Parallelweg is impossible since it is the main thoroughfare to Hollandspoor train station a little further on, so we had to so a little bit of searching for a car park. The entrance to the museum is on the corner of Ter Borchstraat and Parallelweg. If you are able bodied then it’s far easier to take one of the many trams that stop at the halt directly opposite the museum. It was very hot the day we visited, an excellent choice because it was really quiet, most people were away for their summer holidays, at the beach etc so we completely avoided the crowds.

We had booked tickets for the historic tram ride in advance, so Himself and I with Little Mr, and a sister and brother from a neighbours family found our way to where we needed to be. We were early and the sun was belting down so the shade in the museum entrance was most welcome. The kids found it amusing to have their photographs taken with a maniquin of a tram conductor… I hope the real tram conductors had better fitting uniforms than this poor fellow…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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August 25, 2012

Hey! …Look What I Found Hiding Out the Back!!!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

If you look a little bit closer in yesterday’s series of post about the Tram Station Café you may have noticed that there is something hiding out the back.

Well, hiding in plain sight that is, but once it got my attention it really grabbed my attention.. and my children were not too far behind me in the excitement of the discovery.

There’s a real  TRAM  on the other side of this café, and when she saw us pressed up to the glass looking in glee, the lady behind the counter came out and assured us that we were welcome to open the partition doors in the wall and go inside the next room for a closer look. In fact we could even get on board!

At this news both Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr were bouncing like Tigger in their enthusiasm to get on board, so I needed to remind them that it was a beautiful antique vehicle and not a playground fixture so please calm down a little. The space between the wall and the Tram was rather small so it was difficult to get photographs of the tram in it’s entirety, and the steps up were not for me today on crutches so I made do with shots within reach.

However there were some display photographs of the tram out and about in the town, and it fascinated us that unlike our electric trams at home, that this one runs on wheels and is horse drawn. The only disappointment about this fabulous find is that we don’t get to see it with horses hitched up and running. Still, even just looking at it here,  it’s hard to prise my children out of the carriage.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 24, 2012

Tram Station Café: Great Food, the Egg and Bacon Pie is Recommended!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are flicking though the pages of my retro tour of New Zealand:   you know me, …can’t let any detail slip by, so the pages of this trip have bulked up with all the sights, sounds, and tastes of our trip.  Luckily it’s all electronic because if this were all on paper a small rainforest would be suffering.

Speaking of tastes… Most of  family Kiwidutch are now experiencing stomach rumbles so we look around or lunch.

Actually it doesn’t take long because whilst I was dawdling at the back, bewitched by the amazing artworks, Himself and the kids had found the café on the other side of the courtyard from the entrance of  Foxton’s windmill and made themselves comfortable sorting out their menu choices.

It’s called the Tram Station Café and the food looks excellent.

My slice of bacon and egg pie looks (and tastes)  amazing and the kids demolish their toasted sandwiches. Most members of my family are fully trained by now in the gentle art of “you may eat as soon as your food has been photographed by your demented Foodie Mama for her Blog”, but on this occasion Little Mr. lacks both willpower and motivation to keep his grubby little paws off his toasted sandwich during the photography session.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(Sigh) Yes, his hands are still that dirty after  the hand wash! I suppose it’s testament to his immune system that he’s so very rarely sick.

As a concession in obtaining at least half a photo, I agree to take a photo of a very curly piece of dried grass that he’s taken a shine to and declared that it is “ so beautiful that he wants to keep it  forever!”

Unluckily for him it got sucked out of the van in a good gust of wind when we stopped down a coast at a beach a little while later and his love for it can’t have run too deep because he didn’t even mourn it’s loss for a single second.

Himself opts for coffee only,  since he stocked up on the bacon and eggs back in Wanganui at breakfast time.

The weather might look overcast and dull but don’t be deceived , it’s a very hot day today and we decide to eat al fresco  under a parasol at one of the outdoor tables. There are just enough puffs of wind to make it perfectly comfortable.  Let’s dine!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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July 14, 2011

The Ingenuity of Merging Cities but keeping Traffic Seperate…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Most large cities today have encountered the phenomenon that I am about to describe.

A century ago, nay, even maybe 50 years ago, it may have been possible to have see the green boarder that expended around the perimeter of  The Hague and separated it from the districts,smaller cities and villages around it.

Scheveningen, Loosduinen  have since merged into the greater Den Haag area but the Voorburg, Leidschendam, Rijswijk, Nootdorp and Delt are still separate municipalities even though only the last two have any degree of physical separation from The Hague.

Today I am taking you to part of Rijswijk, (pronounced ” rise wyke”) which is effectively just a short tram ride from the Hague and there isn’t much to show you have crossed from one to the other since once side of a street is now Rijswijk and the other is Den Haag with only a name board to designate the two.

Most of Rijswijk is like any other city, shopping centers,  suburban houses, light industry, commercial areas etc but this walking tour  is through a nice park area called the Rijswijkse Bos, Von Fisennepark and  other smaller parks that now run into each other close by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

First, let me show you how the Dutch manage to merge foot, cycle, tram and vehicle traffic.

Of course there are many old and narrow streets nearby, but there are also larger streets and these have been divided up in such a way as to keep the various traffic flows as separate as possible.

There are even little mini-versions salt trucks and road sweepers that are especially designed to fit, clear and clean the cycles lanes.

In some sections the tram lines are closer to the road, some lines are in the road, but here there is a decent grass strip that contains the tram rails and a healthy distance away the cycle path and a little further away again the pedestrian path.

This makes for safe  and easy cycling and it would be an understatement to say that bikes are well used here, in fact for every photo I take, I usually have to delete 3 others because some stray cyclist rode though the middle of the photo just as the shutter closed.

So if you found yourself here and didn’t know which was the footpath and which was the cycle path, how would you tell? It’s a little hard to tell from my photos by in general cycle paths have red bricks and footpaths grey ones, and the cycle paths are the straight ones.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Or if you still make a mistake, the cycle paths are the one with the cyclist bearing down on you at a great rate tinging madly on their cycle bells to warn you to please  get out of their way sharpish before they hit you.

I can tell you now,  that if “someone” has to give way and evacuate to the grass verge to avoid a collision it won’t be the Dutch cyclist… you are on his cycle way and you are fully expected to move.

These shots were taken on the Burgmeester Elsenlaan .. so let’s enjoy the views along the canal and try and creep up with my camera on the the “reigers”  fishing on the banks.  A Reiger (pronounced “ry gher” ) is a Heron in English and they also have the nickname here called “Haagse Ooievaar” which literally means ” a Hague Stork”.

The Stork is the official emblem of the Hague, but they are scarce to be seen, mostly because of their preference of nesting on the flat roofs of only the highest buildings, and herons on the other side are plentiful and look  like the storks far smaller cousins.

The one thing that is mandatory though, is that if you want to call a Heron a  Haagse Ooievaar, you must then pronounce it with the thickest and broadest working class accent of the Hague. (but more on that one in another post).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 13, 2011

A Place to Return to…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

More trawling through photographs taken last summer (I have so many folders of photos on my computer it’s  wonder the laptop still runs LOL).

This set took my fancy to show you today.

This is the Tram Remise on the Laan van Meerdervoort.

The word “remise” ( the Dutch pronounce it “ra meeze”) comes from the French word “remettre”  (to return, to put back).

The best word to use in English (I think) would be “depot”  because basically this is where trams come to sleep at night, and where maintainence and repairs are carried out.

It’s owned and operated by  HTM (Haagsche Tramweg Maatschappij) and there is another a few other remises around the city, including one in the Frans Halsstraat that was built in 1906 but is no longer a working remise because it’s now a Public Transport Museum.  When I can walk properly again I aim to go to the Museum and give you a virtual tour afterwards.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the meantime, here are photos of a working remise, had I been bolder I might have just walked right in and asked for a tour and some history but I wasn’t quite feeling that “forward” at the time so you will have to make do with photos taken from around the perimeter.

The windows hadn’t been washed recently so I had to press the lens right up to the glass to get any image at all, but still, it’s an insight into the private lives of trams and the tram system itself.

The whole remise is the size of about two city blocks , so we shall start at the entrance…  the poles and overhead wires are the guidelines for the electric power supply that runs the tram system and there are 21 “bays” for the trams to housed in at night, and each line can house more than one tram from what I can make out from the massive length and depth of this part of the building.

I leave the Laan van Meerdervoort and start to walk down the Lijsterbesstraat, where on my right I quickly encounter the biggest car wash you’ll ever see, ok not car wash of course, it’s for washing trams.( Photo number three).

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Before I turn into the Vlierboomstraat, I can see trams in the maintainence workshops and later around the corner, separate bay doors lead to the place where several historic trams are in various stages of being stripped down and restoration.

Turning into the Ribesstraat so that I can head back to the Laan van Meedervoort, it’s clear that is is were all the administrative and such is done, there’s not much to see on this side, but a quick look in one window a little further down the street startled workers inside on a coffee break (and I’m not sure who got the bigger shock, me or them!) I waved at them hurriedly and smiled because I didn’t know what else to do and by now red faced, walked on as quickly as possible.

The tram service here clocks up an amazing 137 million tram passenger trips per year, in a city with a population of 485.000 and they run on electricity and not petrol or diesel so I really like trams and it’s lovely to see the historic ones being done up (There are some older trams that can be hired as “party trams”)

I must mention though, that there are even newer trams now in service than the red ones in my photos, I haven’t been out and about enough to compile photos yet though, but they are sleek and modern,  and blue… so here’s a link for a photo: http://www.freewebs.com/randstadrail/rrvoertuigenhtm.htm

So now my history bent has extended to Public Transport, after all,  are not trams surely be the coolest public transport of them all?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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