9 odd facts about the Wildwood tram car

9 odd facts about the Wildwood tram car

12 Haziran 2018 - 02:00

Anyone who has paid a visit to the Wildwoods Boardwalk has probably ridden in or narrowly escaped the path of the slow moving yellow and blue metal beast that only talks when provoked.

Since 1949, this boardwalk icon has been shuttling locals and shoobies alike up and down the 2-mile bumpy boulevard of games, food and good times.

But for those that blindly walk the boards, paying attention to only themselves or whatever is two feet in front of their face, they will eventually cross paths with the beast and it will let them know, in a polite way, it isn't happy. 

“Watch the tram car, please” echoes through the smell of pizza and drowns out the sounds of children’s laughter as those unfortunate souls who are in the way are startled from their selfishness while a tram car bears down on them at a slick speed of 5 mph.

This year, the Wildwoods celebrates the 70th season of the Boardwalk Sightseer Tram Cars.

Originally built in 1939, these cars made their way to Wildwood and helped boost business, eventually becoming a symbol of the boardwalk.

To celebrate this milestone, on June 11, anyone can ride the tram for 10 cents one way, the same cost of the tram back in 1949 when they made their debut on the boardwalk.

Here are a few fun facts about the Wildwoods tram cars.

Tim Hawk | For NJ.com
1. The tram cars have a unique history

The tram cars were originally built by the Greyhound Bus Company to transport visitors around the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, New York. In 1949, local business owner S.B. Ramagosa purchased five of the trams and brought them to Wildwood.

“They began operating on the Wildwoods Boardwalk on June 11, 1949, and the cost to ride one way was 10 cents,” said Patrick Rosenello, executive director of the Wildwood Boardwalk Special Improvement District.


A 2,400 pound 36-volt battery is charged for one of the eight Boardwalk Sightseer Tram Cars, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. 

Tim Hawk | For NJ.com
2. How it's powered

Originally powered by diesel engines in 1939, Ramagosa decided to switch them to electric. Under the hood nowadays sits a 2,400-pound, 36-volt battery. Between 4:30 and 5 p.m. every day, fully charged engines replace the engines that ran in the morning. Those passengers that happen to be on the tram at the time of the swap usually wait for the switch to be completed.


John "Gig" Gigliotti, a West Deptford, drives a tram car on the Wildwoods Boardwalk, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Gigliotti has been driving trams for 25 years. 

Tim Hawk | For NJ.com
3. The drivers

From 1949 to somewhere in the ‘80s, the tram drivers and conductors were all females. “One of his (Ramagosa) things was he wanted all females to operate the tram cars,” said Rosenello.

Today the drivers include both retired and local people, as well as exchange students from overseas.

The longest tenured driver is John "Gig" Gigliotti, a West Deptford resident, who has been riding the boards for 25 years. The energetic Gigliotti, who didn’t want to divulge his age, is a retired freight and passenger train conductor.

“This is a miniature scale of what I did all my life,” said Gigliotti, who is now the Tram Safety Coordinator.


Women driving a tram car.

photo provided



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