The tracks are in a surprisingly good condition and will be preserved. This discovery highlighted some aspects of Pretoria’s early days of transport with a direct link to the suburb of Arcadia.
|Horse drawn tram in Church Square|
|Map of Church Square showing the tram line|
|Electric tram in Church Square|
Later a track was laid to the Union Buildings. Mr Courtenay Smithers, who lived with his parents at 555 Vermeulen Street in 1913, vividly recalls the trams and in particular, the little tram that made its way up to the Union Buildings.
“For most of the day (and only on working days, if I remember correctly) there was only one tram which made the short run from Church Street to the Union Buildings and back, a small one which would carry only half the number of passengers which the usual “big” trams would carry. This small tram ran along Leyds Street to Vermeulen Street and wound its way up the hill to join the road which ran along in front of the Union Buildings.
|Electric tram in Andries street|
Small boys usually know where to “draw the line”. Inevitably, small boys being small boys, we sometime put a little stone on the line for the tram to crush (with a loud bang of course) as it went over it.
We had our special hiding places amongst the trees where we couldn't be seen but from where we could have a good view of the tram. The surly driver never caught us at our mischief but he must have suspected we were the culprits. We occasionally sacrificed a penny from our meagre pocket money and put it on the line so that it was squashed and flattened.
Occasionally we lost our penny because it stuck to the tram wheel and was taken away instead of sticking to the rails.”
“At peak passenger times, when the office workers arrived and left the Union Buildings, the small tram was supplemented by a couple of big trams to provide enough space to cope with the extra passengers to and from Church Street where they could catch trams which took them into town and elsewhere.”
In 1935 trams were supplemented by double-decker buses. The last tram trip was in August 1939.