The history of old Sanson Tram is the subject of the latest exhibition at the Bulls Museum.

The old tram, or light railway, funded by the Manawatu County Council provided a valuable passenger and freight service to and from the port of Foxton.

It ran alongside the main highway between Foxton and Sanson.

Museum president Helen Cooper said many people had memorabilia and ''remembered the old tram very fondly".


Exhibitions about the district's history had always been popular at the museum, she said.

The old Sanson Tram had played an important role in the early days, she said.

An old newspaper story reported the tram had opened up the district by providing cheap transport for the settlers.

The story explained the council gave its consent to a private company called "The Foxton and Sandon Railway Company'' to construct a light railway on the country road from Himatangi to Sanson then to the bridge over the Rangitikei River at Bulls.

The light railway had opened for traffic in 1884.

Many thousands of yards of metal were carted from the council's crushing plant on the Rangitikei River to several sidings down the line.

From there the metal was loaded on to trucks and used to construct the country roads which now branch off the main highway between Sanson and Foxton.

Bulls resident Mildred Funnell's father was the driver of the old tram.

The family lived in Sanson in those days, she said.

"About twice a week my father would stop the train in Sanson near our home and let me and a few of my friends climb aboard. We would ride along to the end of Sanson where the train picked up some metal then we would ride back and be dropped back in Sanson again. My friends loved it when my father let us on the old train. And I felt very proud.''

Museum volunteer Tony Simms said the exhibition had been popular and it had been amazing the number of local people who knew all about those days through family stories.