At Rampage Trailer in Middle Twp., Paul Tripoli (left) and Bob Brown work on a seat cushion.
The cars are the first added to the classic conveyance since 1949.
Besides the requisite publicity and fanfare, though, boardwalk visitors might not even notice anything different about the cars. Down to the glossy "Happy Blue" and "Sunburst Yellow," Sherwin-Williams paint colors, the canvas surrey roofs, and the wide, lumbering presence of the trams themselves, great pains have been taken to retain the original look of the little trains that move some 500,000 people a year from one end of the boardwalk to the other for a ride.
"When we started this project it was very important to us that the tram cars continue to have the look that they have always had since the beginning," said Patrick Rosenello, executive director of the Wildwood Special Improvement District.
Adding the four trams is part of a multi-year plan, Rosenello said, to add eight new cars to the fleet. "It really is amazing to think about the fact that these same motors are still pulling these trams after all these years," said Kevin Lare, general manager of the SID's tram operations. He created the Tram Car Amusement Company and hired 18 young women to drive them and collect the 10-cent fare.
The last cars were added in 1963, when three new ones were brought on, Rosenello said.
The SID employs about 60 people to operate the trams and grosses about 0,000 a year.
"Just as they were back then, they are today like a camel in the desert when people see them," Rosenello said.
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Today, the operation runs pretty much the same as always.
The trams ply the boardwalk, stopping and starting every few hundred feet to allow passengers to get on and off and give the driver a chance to collect the fare.
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