Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram
|Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram Route|
The Victor Harbor Horse Drawn Tram is located in the city of Victor Harbor, South Australia, Australia. The tramway links the visitor information centre in downtown Victor Harbor with the nearby Granite Island, running for half of its route over a 630 metre wooden viaduct or pier, locally described as a causeway.
It is one of the very few horse-drawn tram routes remaining in public transit service anywhere in the world, and provides service every day throughout the year. There are four tramcars, each hauled by one of 8 Clydesdale horses. The line is built to 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge, as were many of the early railways of South Australia.
The South Australian Railways (SAR) reached Victor Harbor in 1864, when a railway connected pier was constructed. In 1867 this pier was extended to reach Granite Island, the resulting link becoming known as "The Causeway". The railway line continued onto and around the northern edge of the island to where a jetty was constructed. Although railway goods vehicles were routinely horse hauled on this line, no passenger service was offered until 1894, when the SAR decided to utilise an unused horse-drawn tram to offer a passenger service.
From 1900, the horse tramway was operated by private contractors, George and Frank Honeyman, on behalf of the SAR. By the 1950s, the causeway was in need of repair, but a dispute between the operators and the local council meant that in 1954 the causeway was reconstructed without rail tracks. The service continued to operate on Granite Island itself until 1956, when the cars were disposed of. Between 1956 and 1986, a rubber tyred train provided service across the causeway.
The 150th jubilee of South Australia was due to be celebrated in 1986, and a fund was established for special projects to mark the jubilee. Reinstatement of the horse tram was nominated as such a project, and the bid was successful. Replica tram cars were built, tracks were relaid and service recommenced on 14 June 1986.
- Harris, G.G. (May 1972). "The Victor Harbour Horse Tram". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin: 97–101.
- "Early History of the Horse Drawn Tram". City of Victor Harbor. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
- Bird, Kim (September 1986). "Victor Harbour Horse Tram Return". Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin: 207–211.
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