Yesterday the Franschhoek Wine Tram operated for the first time, having been eagerly awaited, after its introduction was announced more than two years ago. In the first month the Wine Tram will only travel between its starting platform, and Grande Provence and Rickety Bridge, but will expand from 15 December with an additional hop-on hop-off bus service.
We have written previously about the Wine Tram, and its owners David and Sean Blyth, a father and son team who are avid train fans. They identified the potential to introduce a tram service, a modern built tram based on the Brill Tram design of the 1890’s, as a hop-on hop-off service for tourists and winetasters wanting to taste wines without having to drive themselves.
Having received a newsletter about the new tram service early yesterday, announcing its opening day, my colleague and I made use of a two hour gap before guests arrived to try out the tram. We thought the station was alongside Franschhoek Cellars, where the tram has been securely parked since it was completed. It was a little further along, past the old Pippin Farm Stall (soon to open as The Stall), one seeing the tram in an open field, that one reaches by turning left just after The Siding, where Graham Beck now has its marketing offices, and first left again, following a road alongside the track. It was impressive that we could pay per credit card in the middle of nowhere, receiving an SMS notification of our payment, having been asked for our ‘South African’ cell number! The tram, sporting French flags, was waiting to depart (every hour, on the hour), and goes to Rickety Bridge first, where one can be picked up every hour, allowing one to spend more than hour there to taste and buy the Rickety Bridge wines, buy from their gift shop, play boules, stay over, and enjoy lunch at their new Paulina’s restaurant. On the way back, one can get off at Grand Provence, to enjoy their restaurant, art gallery, and tasting room.
more on whalecottage.com