Tram [No.257 ('Fiducia' type)]

Maker and role
Wellington City Corporation Tramways Department, Manufacturer
The British Thomson-Houston Company Limited, Manufacturer
Production date
See full details

Object detail

Accession number
Production period
Tramcar - Fiducia type. No. 257. Semi-streamlined body, double truck, single saloon, end loading, air-operated folding doors and steps.
Seating capacity 39 seats. (Upholstered).
Height: 10' 5½", Length: 39' 5¾", width: 7' 0"
Trucks: NZ made Brill 69EW copies. 1219 mm (4 ft.) gauge
Motors: 2 x British Thompson Houston BTH510 @ 52 HP
Controllers: BTH510 with rheostatic electric/magnetic track braking

Tram No.257 is a member of the “Fiducia” class of Wellington tram – these were the most modern trams to operate in New Zealand. The first of the “Fiducia” class No.232 was built during the 1930s economic depression with the name Fiducia emblazoned in gold leaf on the end saloon windows. 'Fiducia' is the Latin for trust, confidence, reliance, assurance – qualities being searched for after the Depression. With upholstered seats, bus-type windows and air operated doors, the Fiducia class were a striking contrast to the older open centre trams. Fitted with a “dead-man’s control” system, the Fiducia’s would have been perfect as one-man trams, but the tramways union were not to allow them to be thus operated, so these trams like all the others, always ran with both a Motorman and Conductor. The Wellington Fiducia class fleet numbers were 232 to 260 (29 trams).

Tram No.257 entered service on the Wellington Tramway system in 1950, its completion having been delayed due to parts shortages caused by World War Two (1939-1945) and was one of the last four “Fiducia” style trams to be built. No.257 was in service for 14 years until the closure of the tramway system in May 1964, where it regularly ran on the Newtown to Thorndon route, which was also the last tramline to operate in New Zealand. Upon entering MOTAT’s collection, No.257 has been restored and operates on a regular basis.
Brief History
Between 1935 and 1952, twenty-eight Fiducia class trams were assembled at the Kilbirnie tram workshops for the Wellington City Corporation Tramways.

Developed as a modern one-man car, though rarely used without a conductor, the Fiducia model incorporated a number of modern features not found in previous double saloon cars. The upholstered seats and bus-type windows in particular, were popular with passengers. Other features included Westinghouse safety-car control equipment, a 'dead man's' handle and air-operated folding doors and steps.

Built in 1950, Tram No. 257 was one of the last Fiducias to be completed. World War II delayed construction on trams numbered from 257 to 260 and the limited materials available post-war, caused minor modifications to the design.

Tram No. 257 remained in service until 1964 when the Wellington Tramway closed, MOTAT acquired it along with several other Wellington trams. Since then it has undergone two major overhauls and a bogie change in 1998. Passengers can catch Tram No. 257 regularly between MOTAT's two sites.
257 Painted
Other name
Credit Line
Wellington City Corporation Tramways Department et al. 1950. Tram [No.257 ('Fiducia' type)], 1964.114. The Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT).


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