Wildwood tramcar celebrates 70 years on the boards

Wildwood's tramcar chugs along the boardwalk (Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority)

Wildwood's tramcar chugs along the boardwalk (Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority)

A Jersey Shore institution has reached a milestone this year as the Wildwood tramcar celebrates 70 years of moving people up and down the 2-mile boardwalk.

It’s unique warning is known far and wide: “Watch the tramcar, please.”

John Gigliati, known as “Gig” to his fans, said the electric powered people movers had a history years before they were imported to Wildwood.

“At the 1939 New York World’s Fair, Greyhound bus owned them and they brought them to take people from the parking lots into the fairgrounds,” said Gigliati. “Then a gentleman by the name of Gilbert Ramagosa bought them and envisioned them working on the Wildwood boardwalk.”

When the service started in 1949, the fare was a dime. To celebrate the anniversary on June 11, passengers can take the tramcar for that historic price of 10 cents each way.

Gigliati, who has a tramcar named in his honor, has been operating one of the distinctive vehicles for a quarter century.

After those 25 years at the wheel and training new tramcar drivers, Gigliati said the best advice he offers is to use the unique warning early and often.

“Play the recording 15 feet before you get to the people,” he said. “That way, you don’t lose your momentum and can keep going.”

Tramcar service is available at all points along the boardwalk, from the beginning at Cresse Avenue to the end at 16th Avenue in North Wildwood.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

50% of WHYY’s funding comes from donations made by people just like you.